As the tragic consequences of a failed eco strategy engulfs Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Australia - with a recent Federal Police boarding and seizure of all material relating to the reality television show Whale Wars - and in Canada with the $800,000 vessel Farley Mowat going to auction, perhaps it is time to rethink the "direct action" eco movement.
The policy of "direct action" fails when direct action fails to adapt.
For many months we have openly decried the near useless tactics of titular head Paul Watson whose messianic vision of saving the planet has delivered a slew of faked press releases, a faked assassination attempt, dead whales, dead seals, and a vessel now up for auction.
The world has changed around Mr.Watson, the media has changed for that matter as well. What worked in the 1970's has all been abandoned by the rest of the NGO community as they have adapted to a changing world. Meanwhile SSCS continue on a path that has now lost its donors close to $2 million dollars this month as the Farley Mowat goes up for auction.
The change that is needed with direct action campaigns must come from the next generation.
Clearly Paul Watson, who decries corporations and greed, is willing to sell his soul to Animal Planet and Whale Wars. While the horrors of whaling take a back seat to a quick cut and edit, we are transported from a dead and dying whale, into a new living room set and an actor selling us pharmaceuticals, advertisements from Chevron, or chemical maker Dow.
Where does Watson and SSCS think the reality television Whale Wars is anything but an eco org being callously used by big media and big corporations? Or has Watson been so co-opted that he fails to even see it?
Watson has run SSCS into the ground. He was come up against an unyielding wall, and his unyielding program is to bash SSCS against the wall and continue to bash SSCS against the wall until the org shatters. Step one, the loss of the Farley Mowat to a back drop of a continued seal slaughter. This is a tragedy that could have been avoided.
The next generation needs to be savvy, they need to foster new media. Most critically they need to stand alone, clear of one man and his policies, whose time has come to an end. The future of conservation is in the hands of everyone.
Send your money to where it counts and not to an eco org that trades your dollars for advertising on prime time and spectacular financial losses at the end of an auctioneers gavel.