‘Sea shepherd’ tells whale tales


“Quite frankly, I don’t like people,” said environmentalist Paul Watson.

Watson learned of the horrible things that people have done in the world, so he chose to give up on them. Rather, he gives his respect to worms, bees, cod and every other animal because, he says, they do not consciously sabotage their own existence.

Nearly 450 people attended the Platform Personalities event in which Watson lectured Tuesday night, Nov. 17 and they learned about the controversies that surround Watson and his environmental organization.

His dislike for people was certainly not the only shock that Watson caused within his audience. In fact, even those that knew about his controversial character were surprised.

“We knew he’d be radical, but this was insane,” said Rachel Harris, Platform Personalities advisor.

Between insults directed at Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and politicians in general, Watson told of his adventures.

Many years ago, he and his crew were trying to stop a harpooner from killing a whale by putting their boat between the whale and the other ship. Watson’s attempt didn’t work and the harpoon went right over his head and into the great whale. As he watched the whale die, Watson couldn’t help but wonder why the Russian ship wanted sperm whales since they are not edible. It turns out, they were making spermaceti oil, which is often used in the making of ballistic missiles.

“So, here we are, destroying this incredibly intelligent, beautiful creature for the purpose of making a weapon meant for the mass extermination of human beings, and that’s when it struck me-we [humans] are insane,” Watson said.

In 1977, Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in an effort to enforce laws in open ocean waters.

“All the laws and treaties are there for protection of the oceans and the life in them, but no one is enforcing them,” he said.

Despite their conservation efforts, not every one is pleased with Sea Shepherd. One of the main criticisms against Watson’s organization by other environmental groups is their reputation for violence.

“People have called me a terrorist, but in a world where some considered the Dalai Lama a terrorist, I don’t really mind being one,” he said.

The Sea Shepherd’s crew is mostly made up of volunteers because he said they have much more passion than any paid person ever could. In fact, as volunteers join his crew, he asks, “Are you willing to die for a whale?” The answer is always yes.

Since the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society only advertises through word of mouth, Watson felt they needed a better way to expand their organization.

“Basically, one of the biggest shows around was about a bunch of guys trying to catch the biggest crab, so I thought, we should have our own show,” he said.

“Whale Wars” tells the stories of Watson and his crew in a reality television program. Since its start, it has become the best rated television show on Animal Planet.

“They certainly over-dramatize everything, but I guess that’s what makes it popular to watch,” said Watson.

Those interested in learning more about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society or about Captain Paul Watson may visit www.seashepherd.org.