October 19, 2006


Let me digress and leave Arnhem Land for a post, while I go back to the place where my interest in language was first sparked - Iceland - where I was an exchange student after I finished highschool.

Now, Iceland has hit the news because it plans to start commercial whaling again, with a quota of 30 minke and 9 blue fin whales. The Australian government (my favourite thing in the world!!) responded with this criticism from Environment Minister Ian Campbell (thanks ABC News website):

Senator Campbell says its a very irresponsible move.

"I think it will raise doubts right around the world about Iceland's commitment to environmental issues," he said.

"It is really a very sad day for the world, when a first world, developed country like Iceland should effectively tear up one of the great environmental achievements of the world from the last century, that is the moratorium on whaling."

Okay, so I'm not into whaling as much as the next guy, but for Australia to criticise Iceland is a big call. This from a country who refused to sign the Kyoto protocol and is taking no action to cut down greenhouse emissions, all the while Iceland is one of the world's cleanest countries with nearly all its power produced from geothermal energy. Countries like Iceland should be bagging out Australia, because they are doing the right thing in terms of the Greenhouse effect and we're the idiots stuffing it all up.

And yes, Iceland is intending to hunt endangered species... not a good thing, but hang on... Australia's record of extincting or endangering its native wildlife is about the worst in the world! (I don't really need to say anything about Australia's record of extincting or endangering its 300 native languages either, do I??).

Pull your head in Senator Campbell.


aidhoss said...

Spot on again, Wamut.
Although, neither the minke nor the blue fin are endangered species. And while I dislike whaling, I can't help but think that whaling is considered worse than other things because whales are so... well, big and noticeable.
It reminds me of a case that Peter Singer talks about in Animal Liberation, the US army put an advertisement in local and national papers looking to acquire 1000 beagles for radiation testing. People were so appalled that they changed tack: they decided to use rats instead and there was no more complaint. Beagles are worth more than rats because... they're cuter?
I don't want to trivialise the plight against whaling at all, but 30 minkes and 9 blue fins is quite sustainable, from an environmental perspective. Australia, on the other hand, has a bad record in most respects. I remember they ignored the relevant scientific research concerning things like underground sonar tests that screw with the navigation systems of migrating whales. Remember that? There were about 200 beached whales (can't remember which species) on the east coast. I can't remember the details, but a lot of whales died.
Go Iceland (relatively)!

By the way, is 'extincting' a word?

Wamut said...

Extincting is a word if someone else accepts it (so then we have a speech community of two!)... anyone? anyone?

Anonymous said...

Right on, Wamut.
And I hereby accept the word "extincting" as a full word with all due rights and privileges.