15 comments on “Whaling Camp: Frozen Seas and Icescapes

    • Thanks, Jennifer. We’re always so happy to hear from you! This morning, it looked like you guys are having some nice weather down there, or at least over in San Francisco. Sunny up here, too. 28 degrees! Warm!

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading: April 24th | amandatheatheist

  2. There is no humane way to kill a whale. Today we know whales and dolphins are higher beings. Sometimes these whales suffer for up to 5 hours after being harpooned. Isn’t it time we stop letting the word “tradition” be an excuse for doing something so wrong. Please stop murdering the people of the sea! You are obviously wearing store bought clothes and shoes. Surely you can see your way clear of murdering our ocean friends.

    • Hi Kristen,
      Thanks for writing. We’re sure you can appreciate that whaling, like similar issues, is very complicated. And while we’re not sure what store-bought clothes have to do with the subject, here’s our view:
      Humans are overpopulating this world, and unless that changes, whether or not a few scattered groups of people go whaling is trivial. Currently on the North Slope of Alaska, about 20 bowhead whales a year are harvested, a sustainable number; the bowhead whale population in this area is increasing at an average rate of about 3% per year.
      The single factor most limiting cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) populations is not human hunting, but human overharvesting of ocean resources cetaceans directly or indirectly depend on for food. There is also the matter of increasing toxicity in the world’s oceans due, largely, to the sea of plastics and other pollutants discarded into it each year. Both the overharvesting of sea resources and toxic levels of pollution are direct consequenses of human overpopulation, and there does not appear to be a technology-based or diet-change-based solution to these problems. More people mean more resource depletion and more environmental toxicity.
      While we share your objection to the needless suffering of any animal, we urge you to take a broad view. Animals dying a slow death from starvation or because their bodies are riddled with disease caused by human-produced toxins suffer a great deal more than the few being harvested for food. Eliminate the whale harvest in these villages? Then food will have to be shipped in from elsewhere. Clear another forest, plant another crop, drill another oil well to fuel the trucks and planes shipping this food.
      We always appreciate opportunities to discuss these complex issues.

  3. I agree that the landscapes do look other worldly. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and for your well articulated reply to Kirsten. The added challenge to “store bought” food is the purchaser has to have an income. Typically for northern peoples that involves resource based employment. Something is going to suffer, somewhere.

  4. Barbra & Jack -

    I wonder if you’d be interested in our highlighting some of your fabulous blog posts on alaskapublic.org’s community blog – townsquare49.org. Our goal is to bring more attention to interesting Alaska stories – and you two definitely have some here!
    Thanks! Travis Gilmour

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