Dave Rastovich, renowned professional free surfer and star of "Blue Horizon" and "Life Like Liquid", has joined the global groundswell to end commercial whale and dolphin kills once and for all. Using the power of media and the Internet, Rastovich has launched "Minds In The Water", a grassroots activist campaign aimed at bringing worldwide public scrutiny to bear on the few remaining whaling nations that continue to hunt whales and dolphins for profit.
This week Rastovich unveiled the Minds In The Water "Visual Petition", an interactive website where anybody can upload a photo of themselves holding a whale or dolphin portrait as a powerful and highly personal statement of support for marine mammal welfare. These petitions, hopefully thousands of them, will be presented to the officers of the International Whaling Commission this Spring as irrefutable proof that the vast majority of people on this planet will no longer condone the commercial slaughter of these highly evolved sea dwellers.
"I feel like the surfing community has a deep bond with whales and dolphins," says Rastovich. "We are inter-species kin united by surfing and by the warm blood in our bodies and that we love to be in the ocean. I think you have a natural feeling to appreciate and protect your family members if they're being threatened or harmed or disrespected.
Minds In The Water Visual Petition
The Minds In The Water Visual Petition is an easy but extremely effective way to make your voice, and face, count on the issue. Supporters need only log onto the website, download a dolphin photo of their choice, print it out, take a picture holding the photo and then upload to join the thousands demanding an end to the slaughter.
Rasta encourages anyone, surfer or not, to visit the site to get the facts and sign on for the challenge. At stake, he says, is our future.
"If these 'drives' go unchallenged we will all be responsible for the extinction of yet another species of dolphin or whale due to the relentless pursuit of money," says Rastovich. "A world without dolphins is too sad a notion to consider. As ocean people it's up to us to do something. The time is now...full stop."
The Taiji Issue
Of particular concern to surfers and other cetacean lovers the world over is the ongoing commercial dolphin slaughter and captivity trade in Taiji, Japan. Each year local fishermen herd large pods of dolphins into small bays where they are brutally slaughtered to be sold as "whale meat" in Japanese supermarkets or in school lunch programs, despite the fact that dolphin flesh is shown to be highly contaminated with mercury and other toxic chemicals. An estimated 20,000 dolphins and small whales are killed annually by dolphin "drives" and other methods. To view video of the dolphin drives visit: http://www.seashepherd.org/taiji/taiji_video.html
Throughout 2007 "Rasta" has traveled the world from his home in Australia to Alaska, to California to Tonga and the far-flung Galapagos, enlisted such surfing notables as Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Andy Irons, along with music and film celebrities such as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Esai Morales and Hayden Panettiere. Thus far Rasta has met with a tsunami of support including arguably the biggest names in surfing.
“It’s unthinkable to me that anyone would want to kill whales or dolphins," says Kelly Slater, 8-time world surfing champion. "It brings out that instinct to protect. It also creates an energy of what you give is what you receive and getting involved with something like this is a way for me to become more aware of what effect I have on this world.”