About Whale of a Time

Whale of a Time is riding the wave of change, promoting successful stewardship of our planet to create a peaceful, morally just, humane and sustainable culture, while ensuring survival of all species and their natural habitats. Whale of a Time organises creative and fun, inspiring and empowering events on environmental issues to encourage active participation living a sustainable lifestyle inspired by a positive attitude. We engage young and old from all walks of life through the Whale of a Time Community, the Whale of a Time Festival and the Whale of a Time Workshop. Our work has been recognised by many national and community and environmental awards schemes.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Saving the Sumatran Orangutan


KFC is turning Rainforests to Trash!!! Forward this message! Thanks!

Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 23rd 2012 - Greenpeace International today released evidence that KFC has been using product packaging sourced from rainforests, supplied by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Forensic testing in three markets - UK, China and Indonesia - repeatedly confirmed the presence of rainforest fibre in numerous packaging products, including the famous chicken bucket.

The report, 'How KFC is Junking the Jungle'(1), exposes how some KFC packaging was produced using timber from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered wildlife such as the Sumatran tiger. It shows how neither KFC nor its parent company Yum! Brands have safeguards in place to prevent products from deforestation entering their supply chains.

"KFC is the latest big brand to be caught trashing rainforests and pushing endangered animals, like the Sumatran tiger, towards extinction. KFC customers worldwide will be horrified to learn that packaging destined for the trash comes from trashed rainforests," said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's campaign to save the forests in Indonesia.

In Louisville, Kentucky today, activists deployed a giant banner depicting a Sumatran tiger on the front pillars of the KFC headquarters, which read: "KFC Stop Trashing My Home." The building, nick-named "the White House" because of its resemblance to the US Presidential residence, looks out on a lake where more activists deployed an aerial banner with a similar message. The activities in Louisville mark the start of a worldwide Greenpeace campaign to persuade KFC and Yum! Brands to stop driving rainforest destruction through their sourcing practices. (2)

Greenpeace investigators combined forensic testing and supply chain research to show how some of KFC's packaging comes from Indonesian rainforests. Some packaging products tested contained more than 50% rainforest fibre. (3) The company's packaging includes paper products that come from APP, which continues to rely on rainforest clearance and was recently exposed for using illegal timber at its main pulp mill in Sumatra. (4)

"KFC must stop buying from APP, a notorious rainforest destroyer which has been repeatedly exposed for wrecking Indonesia's rainforests to make products like throw-away packaging. APP treats Indonesia as little more than a vast disposable asset, destroying rainforests that are vital to forest communities," said Maitar.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has committed to a 41% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020. The country is one of the world's largest GHG emitters, largely due to deforestation. For Indonesia to succeed in reaching these emissions reduction targets, companies like APP must be stopped from destroying peatlands and cutting down rainforests. Just last week APP confirmed that it would continue to use timber from forest clearance for at least another two and a half years. (5)

Greenpeace is calling for KFC, and its parent company Yum! Brands to immediately drop APP and create strong policies to rid their supply chains of deforestation. The environment group has launched an online campaign with a KFC parody website asking people to help save the forests and endangered Sumatran tigers. Visit www.KFC-secretrecipe.com for details.

More than 60 companies around the world have now suspended purchases from APP including Kraft, Adidas, Hasbro, Mattel, Staples, Unilever, Nestle and many more. (6)

Support Greenpeace KFC No Good for Rainforests Campaign here


Contacts: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace forests campaigner, Indonesia: +62 813 4466 6135 Rolf Skar, Greenpeace forests campaigner, USA: +1 415 533 2888 Andy Tait, Greenpeace forests campaigner, UK: +44 7801 212 980 The Greenpeace International Press hotline: +31 207 182 470

Photo available from, Greenpeace International, Alex Yallop on +31 (0) 624 94 19 65 Video available from Greenpeace International, Maarten van Rouveroy on +31 646197322

1) A full report outlining the role of APP and KFC in rainforest destruction is available here: www.greenpeace.org/international/KFCreport

2) The 'Secret Recipe for Destruction' animation can be viewed here: www.KFC-secretrecipe.com

3) These products included the KFC streetwise lunch box and KFC popcorn box, purchased in the UK.

4) A Greenpeace investigation into APP's use of illegal timber can be viewed here: www.greenpeace.org/ramintrail

5) APP claimed it would conduct high conservation value assessments prior to further forest clearance, but for less than 50% of its supply chain. Greenpeace response here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/nothing-very-new-in-apps-newforest-protection/blog/40440/

6) See page 14 of Junking the Jungle for more information. Available here: www.greenpeace.org/international/KFCreport

Support Greenpeace KFC No Good for Rainforests Campaign here

Sunday, 20 May 2012

BBC Nature - Whales can adjust their hearing

For many whales and dolphins, the world is shaped by sound; they hunt and navigate by listening for echoes.
Navigating in this way requires super-sensitive hearing. And scientists have now found that, for some whales, this sense is adjustable.
Researchers in Hawaii measured the hearing of a female false killer whale, and found that she could fine-tune her most crucial sense.

The whale would "turn down" her hearing when she anticipated a loud noise.
The researchers presented their findings at theAcoustics 2012 meeting in Hong Kong.
Dr Paul Nachtigall from the University of Hawaii led the research, working with Kina, a trained false killer whale.
He and his colleague, Prof Alexander Supin from the Russian Academy of Sciences, first noticed five years ago that Kina might have the ability "to control the level of her hearing".
The scientists were monitoring Kina's hearing as she hunted.
False killer whales belong to a group of species known as "toothed whales, which includes dolphins, sperm whales and killer whales. These mammals hunt using echolocation - producing high-frequency buzzing or clicking sounds and decoding the echoes they produce to locate prey.
Kina the false killer whale (c) Paul Nachtigall/ University of Hawaii
Sensors attached to suction cups on Kina's body took measurements of her brain activity
To study Kina's hearing, the researchers needed an insight into what was happening inside her head.
"Her whole head is an ear," explained Dr Nachtigall. "There are many paths for sound to travel up to her actual ears."
He and Prof Supin placed sensors contained within soft latex suction cups on Kina's body to measure the electrical activity in Kina's brain as it responded to sound.
"Louder sounds make big brain waves, quieter sounds make smaller waves," said Dr Nachtigall. "[And] if she does not hear the sound we do not see the pattern."
The researchers played Kina a "neutral tone" - an innocuous bleep - then followed that with a five-second pulse of 170 decibels. That is approximately equivalent in intensity to the sound of a rifle being fired one metre away.
Over time, Kina learned that this neutral tone was a warning signal and turned down her hearing sensitivity when she heard it, so in subsequent experiments, the sensors recorded a smaller signal from a noise of the same loudness.
Dr Nachtigall explained that echolocating marine mammals may have evolved this rapidly adjustable hearing to protect themselves from their own clicks and buzzes.
"They sounds they produce are very loud - they can be over 230-decibel pulses, and then must listen immediately for very quiet echoes," Dr Nachtigall told BBC Nature.
The team hopes that their findings will eventually be applied to the protection of wild marine mammals.
There is evidence that whales and dolphins are disturbed or damaged by man-made undersea noise, such as naval sonar and the loud seismic airguns used in oil and gas exploration.
"[This] makes us very optimistic that many echolocating porpoises dolphins and whales will be able to change their hearing to protect it if they are properly warned," said Dr Nachtigall.
"We want to define the proper way to warn them."

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In Opposition to Dolphin Captivity : Blood Dolphins : Animal Planet

"If we think we're intelligent, then that means we need to adjust our behavior to the information that comes in from our science. What we have learned about who these dolphins are tells us unequivocally that they do not belong in captivity." Dr. Lori Marino

Dr. Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and faculty affiliate of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. We asked her about the ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity. Check out our interview below. To find out more about Dr. Marino, visit her bio.

Some experts say that dolphins in captivity behave just like, or nearly like, dolphins in the wild. What's your opinion?

I don't need to give my opinion because there's an abundance of evidence that shows that dolphins and whales in captivity show a lot of the same abnormal behaviors that are exhibited by other animals in captivity. These include things like stereotypies where they do repeated movements, self mutilation and just basically other behaviors associated with being psychologically disturbed. There are also several peer-reviewed studies that have shown elevated stress hormones in dolphins and whales in captivity.

So there really is no way that an artificial setting could provide an opportunity for the range of natural behaviors that dolphins enjoy in the wild, just from a physical point of view. The largest tank in the world is something like less than one ten-thousandth of one percent of the natural range of most dolphins and whales. So there's physically no way that these animals could exhibit natural behaviors in captivity.

I know that some members of the captivity industry have made the point that in captivity these animals are fed fish and they don't need to deal with the stress of capturing their own prey. But in fact, being fed dead fish can be a stress. In the wild, they really enjoy the opportunity to collaborate with each other and catch prey and travel with their companions, and basically work for their prey. In captivity, all of that stimulation is taken away.

So there is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that dolphins and whales — both wild-born and captive-born — exhibit a lot of psychological abnormalities in captivity.
Would you say that dolphins in U.S. aquariums and marine parks are well-cared for?
Well, what I would say is that modern husbandry techniques are very sophisticated, but this isn't the same as being well-cared for, and it doesn't mitigate the fact that these animals cannot thrive in captivity. Surviving for a certain amount of time is not the same as thriving, and the mortality statistics show this conclusively. Dolphins and whales live only a fraction of their natural life spans in captivity. So if they're being so "well-cared for," what is killing them? That's a question that needs to be answered.

Ric O'Barry says that the best way to help dolphins is to not buy a ticket to a dolphin show. Do you agree with that?

Yes, I agree. The captivity industry is responsible for making dolphins and whales into money-making commodities, and it really does contribute to the sense that these animals are here to be controlled by us. Even more pragmatically, I would say that marine parks are driven by demand. They're an entertainment industry and the demand drives them to keep more and more animals confined. That often — not always, but often — means taking them from the wild, including during these horrendous drives.

The public has the power to end all of this: don't buy a ticket!
Is a dolphin show an effective tool to help educate the public about dolphins and dolphin conservation?

This is really a topic that has been on a lot of peoples' minds lately. In April, I was a witness for a congressional hearing on this matter, and I testified that the educational claims made by the captivity industry have absolutely no foundation. There's no compelling evidence, at all, that visiting dolphin shows and seeing dolphin and whale displays is educational. I've done a lot of research in this area and I've published peer-reviewed papers that show this so-called "educational claim" is not supported by any evidence.

In fact, what most people don't know is that the Marine Mammal Protection Act requires captive displays to be educational in order to keep these animals on display, and yet marine parks all over the world continue to display them without even having met this criterion.

In addition, I've done a lot of research on the information on AZA websites, or websites of AZA facilities, and a lot of the information is factually incorrect. So I would ask you, how can it be educational if it is wrong?

The public should not confuse entertainment with education. So no, there's absolutely no evidence of this at all.

Scientists have learned a lot by studying dolphins in captivity. In light of this, do you agree or disagree with keeping dolphins in research facilities?

I agree that we've learned a lot about who dolphins are from studies in captivity, but I do not think we should be keeping them in captivity.

I did studies with dolphins in captivity. In one of those studies, my colleague and I showed that they are self aware; they recognize themselves in mirrors. But dolphins have paid a very high price for satisfying our curiosity. For instance, the two dolphins that I worked with at the New York Aquarium when I did that mirror study are now dead. And in fact, many of the individual dolphins that were research subjects in these groundbreaking kinds of studies are dead, prematurely. That tells you something.

Despite having learned a lot about dolphins from captive studies, if we think we're intelligent, then that means we need to adjust our behavior to the information that comes in from our science. What we have learned about who these dolphins are tells us unequivocally that they do not belong in captivity.

I think it's really important to know that those of us who are advocating for dolphins have nothing to gain and everything to lose from doing this. For instance, after I did the self awareness study, I gave up doing studies on captive dolphins once I discovered I was working with two self-aware individuals. I felt that they should be leading the life of an intelligent, self-aware, social being, and they weren't.

In fact, not only do I have nothing to gain, but I have given up a lot of professional opportunities when I made that decision. But it was the right one.
What have scientists learned by studying dolphins in the wild? And do you think field studies on dolphins are a replacement for captive studies?

I think that field studies are and can be a replacement for some captive studies. In the past few years, almost nothing has been learned about dolphins from captive studies. Likewise, some of the most exciting things we're learning about dolphins and whales are coming from studies of wild individuals. In other words, field studies. For instance, we now know that dolphins and whales have complex cultural traditions. This was learned from field studies, field observations, and actually could never be ascertained in captivity where they're deprived of their normal social relations. So all of the cutting edge research on dolphin and whale lives and behavior and psychology is coming from the wild, not from captive labs.

Ric O'Barry says that the captive dolphin industry as a whole fuels the dolphin hunting industry. Do you agree with that?

There's a very simple equation here, and that is that the captivity industry drives the dolphin hunting industry because it creates a demand for dolphins. Plain and simple. If there weren't a demand to see dolphins in these spectacles and on display, then the captivity industry around the world would not be breeding dolphins, not taking dolphins from these horrendous drives and so forth. It's a very simple equation. So yes, indeed, the captive dolphin industry does fuel dolphin hunting of all kinds around the world.

When making that statement, shouldn't one make an exception for the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and their facilities?

There is a moratorium on taking dolphins from the wild in this country, but up until recently, marine mammal parks in this country did take dolphins from the wild and from dolphin drive hunts. There are still dolphins who you can go see in these marine parks who were taken from the wild. And they also reserve the right, under some circumstances, to take again from U.S. waters in the future; it's not illegal if there is any possibility left in the law.

But more importantly, the success of the AZA marine parks here serves as a model for the rest of the world. And when the rest of the world tries to emulate us, it means that they're going to take animals from the wild — in particular these drive hunts, which are some of the easiest ways that you can stock your pools with animals.

So the AZA has a responsibility to police the captivity industry and their colleagues. WAZA, the World Association for Zoos and Aquariums, has done very little to do this. In fact the Taiji Whale Museum, which takes from the Taiji drives, is a member in good standing of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA) and JAZA is a member of WAZA. So WAZA can't be doing all that much to help with the situation.

The other thing that's very important to remember is that the AZA will tell you that they're trying to do what they can to stop these drive hunts. In fact, what that means is that if you go to their website, embedded somewhere in their website you can click on a link that goes to a petition that's called "Act for Dolphins." And in fact, I and my colleague Diana Reiss were the primary authors of that petition against the dolphin drive hunts. We authored it, we collected the signatures, for the most part, and so forth. All the AZA has done is pretty much just taken that link and put it on their website.

They also talk about the fact that they have sent a letter to the Japanese government. That letter is on that website, you can click on it, and it is exactly six lines long. And it doesn't look like that website has changed in years.

So that's what they call trying to do something about it.

Can an ethical distinction be made between the killing of dolphins for food and the killing of cows, pigs and chickens for food?

This is an argument that is thrown out there to divert attention from the brutality of the hunts. Look, there is an argument to be made for treating other animals respectfully. All other animals, certainly. But the fact that some people eat cows and pigs and chickens doesn't make killing dolphins any less egregious — that it makes other wrongs more right.

Again, I see this kind of question as a diversionary tactic. Whether you make an ethical distinction or not, the fact is that killing dolphins is wrong.

Is it cultural elitism to disapprove of, or speak out against, another country's traditional hunting practices?

No. The secret is that dolphin drive hunting is not a cultural practice in Japan. Most of the citizens of Japan don't know about it, so it can't be an important component of their culture if they don't know about it.

But also, and perhaps even more importantly, we speak out against all kinds of human rights violations around the world all the time, and I would ask why should we be silent when it is a violation against a non-human? Again, cultural or not, morality dictates that this be stopped. It is something I think that Japan's government likes to say to make us look like cultural elitists, but the fact of the matter is that we speak out against all kinds of violations everywhere and this is just one of them.

Lori Marino is a neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology and faculty affiliate of the Center for Ethics at Emory University. Her research spans the evolution of brain, intelligence and self-awareness in dolphins and whales and other species, and the ethics of human-nonhuman animal relationships.
She is the author of over 80 publications in the areas of cetacean neuroanatomy and brain evolution, comparative behavioral ecology and evolution in cetaceans and primates, including several methodological critiques of dolphin-assisted therapy and dolphin-human interaction programs.

In 2001, she and Diana Reiss published the first definitive evidence for mirror self-recognition in bottlenose dolphins in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
She teaches animal intelligence, brain imaging, animal welfare and other related courses.
Profile provided by Dr. Marino.

Occupy Your Heart, Reclaim Love - YouTube

By Venus

Friday, 11 May 2012

Bruno Manser - Laki Penan - YouTube

"Bounce Bounce" by Hilary Hahn and Hauschka on Vimeo

Friday, 4 May 2012

ESRC Festival - Photographer Competition

Are you a keen photographer? Can you capture the meaning of 'social sciences' and 'society today' in a single picture? If so, the ESRC Portraits of Britain photographic competition could be for you. We are launching this free competition to capture images of what life in Britain means today. There are eight categories to enter, including an open category for young people. The competition is run in partnership with the tenth annual ESRC Festival of Social Science and the winning entries will be showcased at the ESRC’s 2012 flagship Festival event in London this autumn. Whether you are a photography novice, a keen amateur or a professional photographer, the competition is an opportunity to capture your portrait of Britain. Visit www.esrc.ac.uk/portraits for more information. We would be grateful if you could promote the competition locally. If you would like copies of competition posters please email me directly – amy.gilbert@esrc.ac.uk.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Garbage Island - Documentary on Ocean Pollution

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Council of the European Union - Note from the French Authorities - State of play on the active substance thiamethoxame on bee health

Council of the European Union, Brussels, 25 April 2012

from: General Secretariat
to: Council
Subject: Insecticide substance thiamethoxan

- Information from the French delegation

Delegation will find in Annexes a document submitted by the French delegation to be presented under "ANy other business" at the Council ("Agriclture and Fisheries") at its session on 26 - 27 April 2012.

Note from the French Authorities

State of play on the active substance thiamethoxame 

On March 29 of this year was published online in the journal Science an article entitled "A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees" by Henry (Science 1215039DOI:10.1126/science.1215039). This article is related to the work of a French research team on the possible sub-lethal effects of the active substance thiamethoxame on bees (Apis mellifera).

Thiamethoxame is an ensecticide included in various plant protetion products, that can be used either for seed treatment of some plant species such as pea, beet or maize, or for spraying of the aerial part of the crops.

This product is authorised and used in several Member States, and rape seeds treated with products containing thiamethoxame would have been cultivated in 2010 on more than 2 800 000 ha, that is 2/5 of the total surfaces of rape cultivated in the EU.

Considering the particular sensitivity of the question of the effects of insecticides on bee health, the French Authorities wish to ensure that the Member States and the Commission are fully informed about it.

The French Authorities deem it important to bring this study to the attention of the other Member States and of the Commission. What is important is that the question of the possible consequences of this new data is taken into account in a joint and harmonised framework, on the basis of the conclusions form the EFSA and from the national evaluation bodies, concerning the conditions for the approbation (Part A) of thiamethoxam (Part A) in Regulation (EU) n 540/2011. They also wish the impact of this study on the modalities for the assessment, according to uniform principles established by Regulation (EU) n 546/2011, of the effects of insecticides, in terms of toxicity and consequences on the behaviour of non-target species, in particular for bees, to be evaluated. 

They inform the Member States that they have also questioned their Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) as well as the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), in order to assess the considered experimental data. The ANSES opinion is due on May 31 and the French Authorities will ensure to share it with the Member States and the Commission.

Transparent Sea by Asher Jay - YouTube

Watch video here