May 21, 2007

BBC: Did Greens Help to Kill the Whale?

Apparently, the environmentalists had won. Yet whaling continues today.

Norway and Iceland hunt commercially, while Japan, which behaves more assertively in the international arena than its northern counterparts and attracts most ire from the anti-whaling bloc, catches whales in the name of scientific research.

So what went wrong?

One theory, explored in the BBC World Service’s One Planet programme, is that the environmental movement pushed too hard; that its strident calls helped to alienate Japan at the very point where it was prepared to abandon whaling, and to remove a key bargaining tool from the US armoury.

Did the environmental movement harpoon its own ambitions?

Ambitions for saving whales, maybe. Ambitions for feeling good about itself? Not at all! Just a reminder that over-strident activism can be counterproductive, though if one assumes that over-strident activism is really about feeling good rather than about results, maybe it doesn’t matter. . . . (Via Jennifer Marohasy).

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