110: Captain Paul Watson, Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Guest Name(s): Paul Watson
Early member of Greenpeace and founder of the Sea Shepherd conservationist organization, Captain Paul Watson is an eco warrior!
Having been the captain in the Sea Shepherd show “Whale Wars”, Captain Paul Watson is an eco interventionist and has now set up the Captain Paul Watson Foundation to protect our oceans and to non-violently but effectively stop whaling.
Captain Paul Watson Foundation >>
Episode Audio Links:
#110 – Paul Watson – A Climate Change with Matt Matern
You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host. I’ve got Captain Paul Watson on the show today very excited to have him on the show. Captain Paul has had an incredible life story. Originally a founder of Greenpeace who left there because they felt their methods were being a bit too passive. Kind of actually walked the plank actually. They just voted him out. But he then started his own thing, Sea Shepherd which has engaged in aggressive yet nonviolent methods to stop whaling worldwide.
Captain Watson’s also been called an eco-pirate, and probably far worse. Some have said he was an eco-terrorist and compared him to ISIS. I think that characterization is extreme and kind of bordering on ridiculous given his commitment to non-violence. He’s also been considered a persona non grata in Iceland after scuttling whale ships. Allegedly, Captain Paul has been pursued by the Japanese coast guard with the suspicion of sabotaging Japan’s whaling fleet. Maybe despite or maybe because of this, he’s received the prestigious Jules Verne award and France the only the second environmentalist after Jacques Cousteau blast from the past from my youth.
We used to always watch Jacques Cousteau on you know, those nature shows he was inducted into the US animal rights Hall of Fame and received a George HW Bush daily Points of Light Award so Paul’s received a lot of accommodations. Throughout the years he was captain of the Sea Shepherd show Whale Wars, that was on Animal Planet for seven years, a big hit there. And Whale Wars featured a number of episodes where Sea Shepherd was trying to prevent Japanese whaling ships and other vessels from harpooning whales. In September 2022, Captain Paul set up his own foundation and split from Sea Shepherd.
And he’s got his first new ship, the John Paul DeJoria, too. And I’ve heard that Paul considers himself an interventionist, not a protester, because a protester is too submissive. Well, that’s a fascinating bio that you got and great work that you’ve been doing, protecting wildlife around the world. Welcome to the program.
Well, thank you very much.
So tell us this new chapter that you’re writing here. Is that ship from one of your donors? I think that isn’t a John Paul Mitchell’s name, the famous hair products person.
Yeah. John Paul DeJoria, who’s partnered with Paul Mitchell, Paul Mitchell shampoos, right, yeah, the finances are our latest vessel. He’s been a longtime supporter. During the time I was with Sea Shepherd. But I had to leave Sea Shepherd last year, because basically, they you know, they got a board of directors had a hostile takeover. They decided that I was too controversial and to come. confrontational, so they wanted to change go in a different direction. I said, No, I couldn’t support that.
So they told me I was just an employee, and better do what I was told. So I said, No, I don’t think so. So I set up the Captain Paul Watson Foundation, just to carry on what I’ve been doing for the last 45 years, which is my strategy of aggressive non-violence to intervene directly and to and to not hurt anybody, never have injured anybody. But we have shut down hundreds of illegal operations. And the point I should make is that we’re not protesting anything legal.
We’re intervening against illegal activities. Whaling is illegal under international law. It’s a violation of the global moratorium on commercial whaling. Iceland this summer is targeting endangered fin whales, in violation of the global moratorium. And it’s also in violation of European laws. And so that’s what we’re trying to shut down something which is unlawful.
Problem is, is that governments have a lack of political and economic motivation, uphold international conservation law. Like just two months ago, we had the high seas treaty and everybody’s patting themselves on the back saying, Oh, isn’t this wonderful, but as meaningless without enforcement? And so you know, we just have a lot of paper going back and forth and shuffling across desks, but nothing really is happening. The oceans are in trouble. The oceans are dying and we need to be aggressive in our opposition to that destruction.
Oh, absolutely. And, you know, I had had somebody on the program a while back, who was talking about undersea mining that they were planning to do. And it would seem like a pretty nefarious structure that was set up to regulate this mining operations that they were planning to do, which they really hadn’t considered all the potential consequences to that. And so it’s kind of surprising that two thirds of the planet, which is made up of oceans are somewhat unregulated.
Well, they can’t say that they weren’t that they’re not aware of the consequences. It’s 1978, I actually did a big campaign against ocean mining when it was starting to come out. And there’s been an awful lot of information out since that. And it’s a very destructive thing, this effort to go after manganese mountain nodules on the bottom of the ocean, it’s going to create incredible marine ecological chaos. And but you know, the problem is, is that everything is about money and making money or short term investment for short term gain.
And, you know, damn the consequences. They did you know, there’s just no long term understanding of what those impacts are going to be. And we see it in fisheries, there’s no commercial fishing anywhere in the world. Today, all commercial fishing is unsustainable. We have over fished the ocean. And probably the most alarming thing to me is that since 1950, we’ve seen a 40% diminishment in phytoplankton in the sea.
Now, phytoplankton provides up to 70% of the oxygen in the air, we breathe and sequester enormous amounts of CO2. And the truth is, is if phytoplankton were to be removed from the ocean, we die. We don’t live on a planet without phytoplankton, it’s as simple as that. And so that’s why I say all the time, if the ocean dies, we die.
Well, I just was reading some stuff about the fact that, you know, the ocean takes up most of the CO2 that’s been released in the form of greenhouse gases gets really deposited like a sponge into the ocean. And that, you know, the ocean’s kind of at its breaking point, having sucked up so much of it. It’s really, the consequences are, you know, an existential threat to our environment. So what do you think we can do to stop this process?
At the COP 21 conference in Paris, when I spoke there, I was alarmed at first because there, there was no discussion about ocean at all, we actually had to work to get the French government to incorporate the ocean as something to be concerned about. And so they set up at the Ocean Forum, which quickly got taken over by the seafood industry.
You know, they decided that they were going to do the sponsorship on it, just like Coca Cola, sponsor, the COP 26 event this year, so and what I propose that that ocean conference is this, if you want to protect address climate change, then you need to protect the ocean. And to protect the ocean, there, really, we don’t have to do anything. We just have to leave it alone and let it recover.
We need a 50 year – 75 year moratorium on commercial industrialized fishing, we cannot do deep sea mining, we have to stop dumping plastic into the oceans, we have to stop pile driving and creating noise pollution in the ocean. We just have to stop doing these things. And the ocean will solve that problem, it will address the issue.
You know, if you look at it this way, as the Earth is a spaceship, it’s on this incredible voyage around the Milky Way. And every spaceship has a life support system that provides us with the air we breathe and sequester CO2 and regulates climate and temperature and provides us with the food we eat.
And that life support system is maintained and run by a crew of engineer, that ranges from trees to bees, to worms and microbes, to the fish in the ocean, to whales. We humans are passengers. We’re having a wonderful time entertaining ourselves.
But what we’re doing is we’re murdering crew members, we’re killing off the engineers. And there’s only so many engineers you can kill before that machinery begins to break down and cannot support that life support system. So we have to understand that we live on this planet because of our interdependence with all other species, and especially the so called “lower species” – the microbes, the worms, you know, the insects. We don’t live on this planet without them.
They don’t need us, but we sure we certainly need them. And I think that what that’s going to take is a complete shift in our paradigm of looking around the world from the biocentric point of view and not from an anthropocentric view, because most of the world has been for the last few 1000 years – very anthropocentric. Me. It’s all about us. Everything’s about us. Everything was created just for us, and nothing else matters. We have to change that we have to understand that we’re part of everything. We’re interdependent with everything. And we have to learn to live in harmony with all those other species.
That’s very well said. I mean, I was talking to somebody else. And they were talking about how I think it was Darwin said that the most important species on the planet, were the earthworms and creating the earth, in the soil like, I guess from a from an earth-centric standpoint. I guess the phytoplankton might be the most important in the ocean, would you say?
Well, I think it’s the most important on the planet, because it provides up to 70% of the oxygen we breathe, and it’s sequester is far more CO2 than the rainforests or the forests. But why is it being diminished? It’s because we’re killing off the whales and the dolphins, the sea birds, the turtles and the fish. And they provide the nutrient base for the phytoplankton, the nitrogen, the magnesium and the iron especially.
And because they get that from the fecal material, one blue whale every day defecates three tons into the sea and enormous amounts of nutrients on that. And so the whales, in fact, are the farmers of the ocean keeping that crop turning over all the time. And so doing what in the sea what the worms of course do in the soil. So there’s so many species that we are absolutely dependent upon. You know, bees disappear, we’re in trouble. Worms disappear, we’re in trouble. And if will disappear, we’re in trouble.
Well, you’re listening to A Climate Change Matt Matern, your host. We’ll be back in just one minute with Paul Watson.
You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, and I’ve got Captain Paul Watson on the show.
Captain, tell us what are your thoughts are as far as restoration of the phytoplankton? What can we do? Or I know you’d said we should just stop messing with the ocean. Given the kind of reality as we have it today. What are the steps that we can take most productive way to, you know, revive the phytoplankton?
Well, we need to shut down industrialized commercial fishing operations. And that might be unrealistic, but it’s going to happen anyway, when because most of these fisheries today are in a state of collapse. Within 50 years, they will totally collapse and that’ll be the end of it. So you should be proactive on this.
What is sustainable fishing? You know, if you go out in your canoe out of the Philippines and catch a fish that’s sustainable fishing, but 100 mile long gill nets, 100 mile long, long lines, giant drip nets, purse seiners, super trawlers – this is what is destroying life in the ocean.
40% of all of the the fishes taken out of the ocean is caught illegally. And a lot of it it goes not directly to people, but it’s actually fed to chickens and pigs and salmon, on salmon Farms is converted into fishmeal. And right now they’re also talking about mass harvesting of krill or zooplankton, especially in the southern ocean, to turn that into a protein paste in order to feed to domestic animals on factory farms. So it’s all been industrialized, and without any real thought given to what the impact of that is on the overall oceanic marine system.
There are three basic laws of ecology. The first is the law of diversity, that the strength of any ecosystem is dependent upon the diversity within it, the more diversity the stronger the ecosystem. The second is the law of interdependence that all species within an ecosystem are interdependent with each other. And the third is a law of finite resources that there’s a limit to growth, a limit the carrying capacity. And when one species steals the carrying capacity from all the other species that causes diminishment in both diversity and interdependence, leading towards ecological collapse.
So this, I mean, it’s pretty simple what we have to do but of course, it’s considered impractical because it gets into the way of all of this investment and, you know, people making money off of everything. And basically greed is is the problem and the problem for politicians is that they don’t have the courage to actually do anything because they’ll probably be voted out of office if they actually do anything significant. And if you you know, if you if you’re too if you’re too aggressive, they’ll call you a terrorist.
You know, I always find it funny when they call me a terrorist because I know I’ve never worked with Monsanto, so it doesn’t really bother me. But uh, but you know, I think it’s important that we that we be aggressive. I think that movements like extinction rebellion are important. We have to keep pushing society to understand that this is a really, really serious problem and it’s and it’s not going to go away, it’s not going to get any better.
Well, I think that’s the the big challenge is to wake people up from essentially the sleep that we’ve been in that of course, mass media and you know, has tried to put us into this sleep from not communicating and us maybe not doing the work to stay informed. I mean, things like 100 mile long nets are almost unfathomable.
You know, how that could be happening. I mean, the the extent of overfishing and the oceans, just incredible, but I hadn’t heard of this krill harvest any that seems like, that’s just going to make the, you know, the oceans spin down in a spiral even faster, what’s, uh, give us more insight into that, and how, how we can work to stop that.
Well, giant trawlers going down to the southern ocean, and just pulling this up by the hundreds of 1000s of tons, you know, literally taking the food out of the mouths of whales and penguins and seals and man, it’s a major industry. There’s really not much studies have gone into the ecological impact on this because it’s down there in the southern Southern Ocean, out of sight, out of mind, nobody really cares, they don’t know about it.
So that’s getting people to be aware of it is difficult. And the reason being is mainstream media is controlled by corporations. Governments are controlled by corporations. And so we’re, we only hear what they want us to hear. And they only address the problems that they feel that they can address and keep their corporate masters happy really is when it comes. But it comes down to.
So it’s going to be very, very difficult to see that change. come about and I think unfortunately, it’s going to happen when we begin to feel the impact the consequences of what what we’re doing.
And we’re already you know, there’s vast dead zones in the ocean, there’s floating, you know, Texas sized areas of floating plastics in the ocean, there’s acidifcation, there’s the dying of the coral reefs, and the diminishment of the fishes. So it’s, it’s escalating quite rapidly.
You know, I was born in 1950, when there were 3 billion people on the planet, it’s now approaching 8 billion people. And I was raised in a fishing village and I have seen firsthand the diminishment of this so-called fishing industry, there is no fisherman anymore. There’s no fishing people out there anymore.
What it is, is corporations that are running everything like Mitsubishi. And I mean, the entire west coast Canadian fishing fleet is owned by one man, Jimmy Patterson, who used to be a used car dealership, and he just bought up everything, and has a lot of control over the Canadian government. And the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans is proven to be one of the most incompetent bodies in the world.
I mean, under their authority, the entire North Atlantic cod fishery collapsed, and now they’re doing the same thing to indigenous salmon populations on the West Coast. And when they collapse, they don’t recover. The northern cod fishery collapsed in 1992. The government said, in 10 years, it’ll be revived, it’s never recovered. And it won’t recover. Not in our lifetime anyway.
You know, and the problem is when we treat every fish as a fish, and is you know, salmon takes four years to become sexually mature and dies, an orange roughy 45 years to become sexually mature and lives to be 200 years of age – can’t keep up with our demand.
That’s why in the 1990s, you saw orange roughy, and seafood, restaurants and markets everywhere. Now you don’t see it there at all gone. But we have this incredible ability to adapt to diminishment. As things become diminishment, we just simply accept it and move on to another species or another issue.
In 1965. The very idea that you’d be buying water in plastic bottles or pay more for that money than the equivalent amount of gasoline would have been unimaginable. And people thought you’re crazy if you’re gonna suggest that, but we’ve just adapted to that diminishment. And now water is worth more than gasoline.
And we just don’t think about it. So as ecosystems are diminished, we forget what it used to be and just adapt to the situation as it is right now.
So the crow harvesting, I’m assuming that is being done legally, or is that? Is that a violation of the law?
For the most part is being done illegally. Because, you know, they haven’t really caught up with the fact that what they’re doing to actually make any laws to make it illegal. So, I mean, this is something that people are, in fact working on is to do further studies the impact of what this is having on marine ecosystems.
And yes, eventually they’ll probably come up with laws against it. But it’s the same thing with whaling, we didn’t come up with laws to protect whales until we pretty much destroyed the whale populations around the world. And like in the 1960s, and I said, you know, when the white belt, the blue whales, they wiped out the humpback whales, and it’s been taken so long to recover.
But it wasn’t until 1983 that the International Whaling Commission finally got around to passing a moratorium on commercial whaling. It was a little too late, but at least it was something that and it has had an impact on that except for Iceland, Norway, in Japan that continue to violate international conservation law and kill whales. But that’s that’s a problem is that it’s called I call it the economics of extinction. there’s money to be made by driving species into extinction. bluefin tuna is a good example, an endangered species is heavily fished still.
But Mitsubishi, for example, has 10 to 15 years supply of bluefin tuna in their warehouses frozen, they could stop fishing for the next 10 years and still supply their consumers with bluefin tuna. But the reason they won’t do that is because if they stop fishing and bluefin tuna populations begin to recover, then the price of the commodity in their warehouses will go down.
Because scarcity translates into profit. So they want to keep the the a lot of these species scarce so that they can continue to exploit their their rarity. And because more demand and courses more valuable they are. And so they’re still taking bluefin tuna, and they’re taking 90% of them out of the ocean, but 10% remaining, they’re still going after. And it’s pretty much the same with every single species in the ocean.
Well, that’s that’s pretty incredible story about Mitsubishi. And quite, you know, quite frankly, so disheartening, because you think of Norway and Japan and Iceland as being fairly progressive, environmentally conscious countries and in a lot of ways, and yet, they are clearly not being very conscious. So I have like, a couple of questions. One, as far as your work in, in helping save whales, I know that you’ve done a lot to help revive those populations. Where are we at in terms of turning those populations around?
Well, some species are recovering humpbacks are recovering Blue Whales are recovering. But other species like right whales at Bullheads, are are having a problem. And a lot of that has to do with chips strikes and entanglement with lobster traps and entanglement with nets, for example. And to give you an idea about all those nets, by the way, is that in 2015, we recovered one net from a toothfish messing fishing vessel in the Southern Ocean, that net net took 200 hours to pull up from two kilometers down. That net was 72 kilometers long and weighed 70 tons. One net from from one ship.
Wow. That’s just mind boggling. But you’re listening to A Climate Change my hosts and my guest, Paul Watson. Paul is telling us about his adventures out in the in the ocean. We’ll be back in just one minute to talk with Paul about some of the exciting stuff that he’s done to prevent whales from being hunted down.
You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern. And I’ve got Captain Paul Watson on the program today. Captain Paul, tell us a little bit about this crow harvesting. And my understanding is Norway and Japan and are behind this. What is being done to kind of awaken the population in those countries to demand better have their politicians?
Well, there has been documentation about the damage that they’re inflicting on them that at some point in the future, I want to go down there and actually confront them. But it’s a slow process, getting people to be aware of this because it’s something relatively new when it comes to exploitation. I mean, who would have thought that they would be going on their grill in the ocean for the purpose of feeding cows and pigs and chickens? I mean, but this is the kind of world that we’re, we’re living in right now.
So, you know, I Norway, as you mentioned, Norway has a reputation being green, I suppose. But they got good PR, because they certainly criticize As Brazil for their logging practices in Amazonia, but they’re not setting much of a good example in their own country as far as protecting forests and protecting marine life and any wolf that manages to wander into Norway is immediately shot.
So you know, it’s sort of more Norway a sort of do what we say but not as we do that seems to be their, their policy. I mean, it was back in 1992, that Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway, she was the one who coined the word sustainability. And what that has come to mean right now as that’s its business, but we’ll just call it by another name. Everything is sustainable this day, but nothing is I mean, it’s just, it’s just a marketing term.
Another example of that is the fish that we were trying to protect the Southern Oceans called the Antarctic or the Patagonian toothfish. Now, that’s not a very good marketable name. So what they sell it as as Chile and sea bass, it’s not from Chile, and it’s not a bass, but it’s one of the most, you know, destructive fishing industries. First of all, it’s an endangered species. There’s a lot of illegal catches going on.
But second of all, you catch this fish in the southern ocean, you put it into a freezing compartment, you take it to an airport, you send it to Paris, you send it to New York, this is not a sustainable fishery. I mean, the fishing industry would like you to think that you know, there’s a billion people who are dependent upon fish for their survival.
Well, the people who are ordering Chilean sea bass in New York or Paris or not amongst those people that need to eat fish for survival, and that so it’s it’s a very, very destructive industry and yet, you know, you have a so called legal fishery like Austral fisheries and Matsu Daijiro in Japan are going after it legally, because there’s a certain amount that they’re allowed to get. But because the fish is caught, is so cost so much, you have a lot of illegal fishing going down there.
So that’s when we went after this vessel called the thunder that was the one that was net that we collapse that was run by Spanish hope that because there’s sort of this fishing mafia in Galicia, Spain, and they send dozens and dozens of illegal vessels out there. And they’re protected by the Spanish courts, because every time we get them into court, the judges just simply say, oh, it’s out of our jurisdiction, even though they have Spanish flag, whatever. What happened with the thunder that was the one vessel that was caught whose net we confiscated. That turned out to be the longest pursuit of a poacher in maritime history. 110-day chase for the Southern Ocean, up along equatorial West Africa.
And finally the captain to the thunder had nowhere to go. So he sank his own ship right in front of us. Why did he do that to destroy the the evidence, but we boarded the sinking ship, got the evidence, got evidence of the fish, the documents, the logbooks and their computers. And that ended up with the captain and his two officers go into prison for three years in the company being fined 17 million euros, which sounds good, except the company just reduced to pay in the Spanish courts back. Wow.
So $17 million, fine, and they escaped without paying. That’s ridiculous.
Well, they didn’t lose their ship that when it wasn’t insured.
While there was some benefit to it, but oh my god, that’s quite a story. Tell us a little bit. Are you familiar with the fishing around the Galapagos Islands? I’ve heard that China is sending a lot of boats there and fishing that area very hard.
I first got involved with the Galapagos in 1999. And we were working in partnership with the Galapagos National Park in the Ecuadorian Ministry of Fisheries. In fact, I got the Amazon Peace Prize for that, that effort. But you know, it’s a very frustrating situation. What we’re seeing in the Galapagos is the Hawaiian isolation, the Galapagos Islands.
I mean, it’s, you know, bringing in more and more tourists, those tourists, Mani fish, those tourists want to eat steaks that we bring cows to the island where they’re not supposed to be about outside of that perimeter, the 60 mile boundary around the Galapagos, all these foreign fishing fleets, not just China, but you know, other countries, Peru, others, they just lurk on that on the boundaries of the park and they dash in, they dash in and get what they can. And occasionally, they’re they’re arrested, I myself have actually apprehended quite a few of them, including an American tuna vessel that we apprehended and in the Galapagos waters, but it is a major problem.
Here’s the real problem is this. So we have these marine protected areas around the world and Galapagos being one of them. That’s where the poachers go, because that’s where they know the fish are. So there were quite willing to go in there. And in many countries, like in the South Pacific and everything, they just bribed the officials to take whatever they want whatever they want. There’s so much corruption involved in this entire thing.
And so it becomes a very frustrating pursuit trying to stop it. But the Galapagos is being threatened by I Chinese and foreign and fisheries on the outside and by eco tourists on the inside, I mean, they cut down a red mangrove swamp on one of the islands just to make our Eco tourist hotel. You know, this is a kind of thing that we’re dealing with.
That’s quite hypocritical when he cut down the forest that’s kind of feeding the ocean and the ecosystem. Had some buddy on the show a while back that’s growing kelp off of kind of these installations that are, I guess, manmade, and curious as to your thoughts as to the efforts to do that. They they were of the opinion that they were bringing life back to the ocean and, and bringing food to the fish and helping sustain the environment. Do you think efforts like that are valuable?
I think there’s some small enterprises that are constructive. But the problem is with a billion people in the incredible demand that we have on this planet, we’re taking too much sea vegetables out seaweeds, kelp and everything like this.
And we forget that these aquatic plants, not only are oxygen producing plants, but they also are very important for the, for the breeding of fishes. You know, like, for instance, herring lay their eggs on kelp. And so when you start removing this, and taking them off the beaches, where they’re very, we need them all that California beaches, you know, it was washed ashore, it’s on the beach, leave it there. And but we’re just taking too much.
And that’s interfering with the life cycles of so many other species. So we have to take that into into account when we do any kind of a so called harvesting of seaweeds or killed, I think in a controlled situation where it’s sort of outside of natural marine ecosystems, then it then it can work but only only for a certain amount, you can’t really mass produce it.
Right, it was it was I think, more or less not so much to produce it to use it as it was to use it to sequester carbon, in part because they thought it would be a more effective way than even planting a forest because a forest is subject to wildfires and things like that which can burn down and release the carbon back into the atmosphere.
Well, I’m all for encouraging the cultivation of marine life to be living long.
So what’s next for you where where the challenges lie on the horizon?
Well, in two weeks, I’ll be leaving to go to the waters between Iceland and Greenland to protect endangered fin whales from Icelandic whaling operations. They wanted to kill up to 169 endangered pinwheels, and our objective is to prevent them from from doing that.
So how do you how are you going to do it?
Well, the same way I’ve been doing it for the last 50 years, and that is by interfering, intervening, harassing, blocking and getting in their way.
Right. And in terms of that strategy, what if they’re kind of determined to get it and try to avoid you? How can you effectively block them if they’re really persistent?
Well, my ships and boats are faster than theirs. So I think we were okay. They were using drones, inflatable ribs, jet skis and very bash, long range ship.
Okay, so, well, best of luck to you on that, on that project. Certainly, those whales are waiting for your arrival to help protect them from from this onslaught.
I should point out that this whaling isn’t being done by Iceland per se. It’s done by one man with all the sort of a modern day Captain Ahab. His name is Christian Lawson. He’s been killing whales since the 50s. He’s 80 years old. He’s one of the wealthiest people in Iceland. He doesn’t need to do this, but he loves to kill whales. And he’s a piece who we’re really up about against. The majority of people in Iceland are against whaling, but Lawson has an incredible amount of influence with it with the government in Iceland.
So it’s going to be tough but you know, it’s not our first rodeo and I say 1986 We sang kappa Bisons willingly his willingly we say put two of his chips on the bottom that Darkside didn’t hurt anybody. And they’re still sitting resting on the beach. They never recovered. So he only has two ships left. Now that might seem illegal, but I did fly to Iceland, right? A year later because they wouldn’t respond to me and I and I said Well, here I am.
Well, what are the charges? And they their response was to kick me out of the country without any charges. And then Minister of Justice said in the old thing of the parliament, he said, Who does he think he is? He comes into our country and demands to be arrested, get him out of here. The reason, the reason being is a new that to put me on trial in Iceland is to put them out selves on trial. And if they, if they do the same thing this year, if they managed to arrest me and put me on trial at Iceland, we will put Iceland on trial for their illegal whaling activities.
Well, you’re listening to A Climate Change. We’ve got Captain Paul Watson on the program and fascinating stuff, and certainly challenging the government of Iceland to arrest him and put put this thing before the people and see how dirty the government of Iceland is, and allowing this to continue to happen.
You’re listening to A Climate Change. This is Matt Matern, your host, and I’ve got Captain Paul Watson on the program. Captain, you wrote a book recently called urgent. Tell us a little bit about the book. And I mean, I guess the title tells us a little bit, but give us the rest of the scope.
Yeah, the I wrote an urgent which is, you know that the about the need to protect the ocean if we’re going to really be serious about addressing climate change. So that’s what the main emphasis is on it. And it really comes out of my participation in the cop 21 conference in Paris, and the ideas put forward at that conference. And this just recently, I published this book, which is a children’s book, which we are the ocean. And what this actually is, I’m trying to convey here is that when people ask me, Well, you know, what’s the ocean got to do with me, I live in, say, Colorado or something, you know, why should I be concerned. But that’s how we look upon the ocean is the sea, we don’t look upon the ocean as what it is.
The ocean is the planet. This is the Planet Ocean, and that means it’s water, and continuous circulation. Sometimes it’s in the sea. Sometimes it is underground, sometimes in the atmosphere, and sometimes in the cells of every living plant and animal. So the water in our bodies right now was most recently in the sea, once it locked in ice once underground, it’s just continuous circulation.
So the answer to the question is, what is the ocean? We are the ocean, this is the ocean planet, and we every living thing on this planet, is the ocean. The ocean flows through us every single day and flows through us. Without water – no life. And that’s really what I’m trying to convey. And I find that children understand this a lot better. So that’s why I put it into children’s books.
You got to start early. They are the they are the future, and hopefully we can do more to protect their future. And, you know, I think one of the things that you talk about, which is the, you know, the biocentrism. And my understanding is you started a church of biocentrism. And I can, you know, I think the idea behind is as far as being less selfish and caring more about our planet and taking care of it is an incredibly smart idea.
I set up the church who biocentrism to comport with the anthropocentric viewpoints, which are pretty much every single religion is the belief that it was all created for us. We’re the number one species everything revolves around us. It says copper, nice idea that, you know, everybody was shocked when copper Nikka said that the Earth went around the Sun instead of the sun going around us. And every year since then there’s been more and more awareness of just how insignificant we are, when it comes to that.
I mean, we are part of something far greater than ourselves, you know, and we cannot live on this planet without living in harmony with those other species. So really, the idea is to try and revoke what indigenous peoples understand this idea of kinship with nature, that we’re all part and interdependent with each other. And so that’s why that was my reasoning in setting up the church of biocentrism. People understand the idea of churches, so that’s why I’m putting that out there as a as a church. It’s not really a religion, per se, but it is a way of all trying to convey what biocentrism is all about.
Right? Well, I mean, one of the extreme you know, kind of viewpoints on The subject I mean, Donald Trump, who is kind of spoken about, you know, getting oil out of the ground as kind of, well, it’s just money there. And so we’ve got to kind of, we’ve got to extract it. And who would want to leave this economic opportunity in the ground, when we could pump it out and make money off that. I mean, that’s just the kind of the, you know, the view, that unfortunately, a lot of people have had for a long period of time that the resources were there just to take and used without considering what the effect was on the planet or the environment.
And yeah, we take it out of the ground, but then we just spew it into the air, and then it causes acid vacation in the ocean and causes, you know, affects people’s health that, you know, all the disruptive parts have to come out as best left in the in the ground is where it really should be. And, you know, people sometimes ask me, they say, well, don’t you ever get pessimistic or depressed about the way things are going? And I don’t, because I have a broader understanding of what this is. And that is a, you know, we’re living in what’s called the sixth major extinction event right now. It’s called the Anthropocene, we’re going to lose more species of plants and animals, and between 2002 1065 than we’d lost in the last 65 million years. And that’s incredible.
But the Earth has gone through five other major extinction events, the Permian extinction wiped out 97% of everything in the ocean 76% of everything on land. And yet it recovered. Because what do all of those extinction events have in common 18 to 20 million years for full recovery. So no matter what we do, 18 to 20 million years from now, this is going to be a beautiful planet, we’re not going to be here. So this is really not about saving the planet, the planet is going to do just fine. This is about saving ourselves from our own ignorance, our own ecological ignorance. And that’s why I set up the church of biosensors.
I was curious as to your thoughts that Elon Musk is saying that we need to have more and more people on the planet and that the population crisis that he sees his population going down? What’s your response to that?
Well, I think I think it’s insane or else, you know, more people, more consumption of resources, more consumption of materials, I mean, of course, Elon Musk thinks we can just go off to the asteroids and start mining them. So that’s probably his justification for, for doing that.
But, you know, we cannot continually be adapting to the diminishment of resources on on this planet, we cannot continue to accept the extinction of species after species of plants and animals, everything, you know, from microbes to insects or whatever, we’re polluting the ground with herbicides, and fungicides and bacteria sides, and there’s so many killing chemicals that we’re putting into the ground into the atmosphere into the ocean, that and the more people, the more we’re going to be doing that.
So it just doesn’t make any sense. Now, I do think that one thing about having children that is misunderstood when people say to me, Well, I’m not going to have any children, because I don’t want to contribute to the thing is that those are probably the people probably should have children. Because, you know, people who are intelligent enough to know exactly what the problem is, are the ones who can convey that to their children.
But the problem is, is a good 80-90% of all the children are born into this planet without being loved without being nurtured without being educated. And that’s the real problem and everything. So if you have six children, but you provide them with love, and nurturing attention and education, that’s better than having one or two that don’t get any of that.
So it’s really how you eat, you can’t just go across the board and say you can’t have children or whatever. But what we do need though, is to have a reduction in population. And the problem is, if we don’t, we don’t do it, then Mother Nature will make sure that it happens that there will be dramatic reduction in population, because once fossil fuels are used, when there’s no more fossil fuels to be extracted, then civilization is going to collapse, because we’re not going to be able to support that on on electric cars and everything else.
But people forget that electric cars have to get their electricity from somewhere. And usually, that’s coal fired plants or Brewer or, you know, various electrical producing plants, palm oil, or nuclear, whatever. And also, the construction of each of those cars is takes an enormous toll and rare earths and lithium and also, you know, child labor, all sorts of things that are involved in it.
It’s sort of like a bright green fantasy that we’re going to save the world through electric cars, and I just don’t think it’s gonna have certainly there are ways to get around transportation wise that are more efficient than a car centric culture. I mean, if we had a bike centric culture or at a minimum mass transit, that would be so much more efficient than having, you know, large vehicles transporting individuals from one place to the next is probably the least efficient way of transporting people around.
Also, you know, I think that we can certainly use ships and revise sailing ships sail sail is the most efficient way of doing it. You know, the Cutty Sark, and its voyage from China to London, back in the day, that speed has never actually been exceeded. It’s an average of 22 knots on that voyage, you know. So just when sailing ships were becoming highly efficient, we got rid of them.
But you know, we’re going we’re going in the right direction and the person also air transport, there’s no reason why we can’t transport large amounts of freight using helium balloons are actually what he called Zeppelin’s Zeppelin’s, you know, carry an enormous amount of cargo, and much cheaper and you don’t, not using fossil fuels as much as us a little bit not, not a lot.
There’s a lot of fascinating ways that we can and, you know, change the planet and do positive things. So, I appreciate your great work. And thanks for being on the show, captain.
Captain Paul Watson with us and go check out his book, urgent as well as his children’s book, we are the ocean and visit his website, Captain Paul Watson Foundation. And if you’d like to be a member of his church, the Church of Biocentrism.
So these are all things that you can do to engage on the environment. Also, you know, there’s a ton of old Sea Shepherd episodes online that you can go check out wanted to all of you check us out online at aclimatechange.com. Listen to old episodes there, you can follow us on social media. And tune in next week. We’ll have another great guest on the show.
Again, thank you, Captain Paul, for joining us and enlightening us to see your work.
Well. Thank you. And also we’re gonna revive that TV show. It’ll be called Neptune’s Navy.
Oh, that sounds great. So Neptune’s Navy. Stay tuned, everybody and check it out online. Thank you.
(Note: this is an automatic transcription and may have errors in formatting and grammar.)
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