Yesterday I attended my first protest and it was freezing! As a protest novice, I learned several valuable lessons. For starters, always bring a sign made on thick poster board. It was so windy that I ended up leaving my flimsy paper sign in the car for fear it would blow away and end up becoming ocean trash. Also, be prepared for last minute location changes. Luckily, a friend arrived before me and walked many blocks without finding the protest in Palisades Park as expected. So instead of parking I scoped things out in my car and low and behold saw a sign that said “Save the Whales! Meet at the very end of the pier.” I ended up picking up my friend who had walked to the city limits by that time and we arrived to the end of the pier around 11:30. The protest started at 11:00, but better late than never.
Next lessons, don’t pass out papers in high winds at the end of Santa Monica Pier, also firmly hold all speaking notes so they don’t blow away and use two microphones to make sure your voice projects over the wind. All of this I learned as an observer. Lastly, wear many layers. Most of the challenges were from unfriendly weather because who knew when planning the event more than a month ago that it would be so crazy windy on the pier. This guy wearing a cool whale costume almost blew away.
Aside from weather challenges the protest was definitely worth attending. Great speakers included Joel Reynolds, NRDC, Dick Russell, author of “Eye of the Whale,” Louie Psihoyos, director of “The Cove,”and Bernardo Alps, ACS/LA. The Los Angeles Times article on the protest estimated the number of people there to be 120 so let’s go with that. (Personally I don’t think it was that high, but I want to believe it was.)
I’m so glad I went, but mostly I’m bummed that we have to do this all over again. The IWC’s compromise package on whaling is completely unacceptable. Whaling should not be legalized, this is one paradigm shift that just can’t happen. Some whales have barely recovered and most haven’t. Stay tuned for more on this issue in upcoming posts.