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As Above, So Below

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Rose Anne Everson, WCA Intern

19/08/2016: As above, so below

 

Passion and luck conspired to provide the Gulf of Maine as a classroom where this WCA intern is learning about humpback whale behaviour first hand through observation, data collection and spending time on the water in the home of these astonishing animals. The on-board naturalist guides and interns are training me to educate the curious and awestruck passengers about humpback whale songs, feeding habits, behaviours and statistics.

I am encouraged to connect life on land with life in the oceans which provides an opportunity to share the Net Effect Campaign with as many passengers as possible. Introducing the public to the devastating effects of ghost fishing gear is met with questions and people seem genuinely interested in how they can affect change to ensure a future for these animals. Without exception, people want cetaceans to live wild, free and safely in their ocean home.

Now, more than ever, I understand the need and urgency to educate children and adults about life in our oceans and to connect the importance of healthy oceans with the survival of cetaceans and the human species.

Three weeks of daily encounters with these animals continues to leave me amazed, speechless, breathless and reflective about the future of whales and humans. Are they as curious about us as we are about them? Other than environment, do cetacean behaviours differ substantially from that of land mammals? Can humans learn, understand and accept responsibility for the environmental devastation to our oceans and marine life resulting from our arrogance? Is there enough time to reverse the damage decades of human carelessness has inflicted upon the planet’s oceans?

Observing whales and other marine creatures in their natural environment wild and free, I bear witness to the purest, most absolute and elegant meaning of the fundamental law “as above, so below”. As a land mammal I am grateful, fortunate and humbled to find myself in the presence of these intelligent ocean mammals.

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