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What I did on my vacation …

01 Feb 2011

What I did on my vacation … Image

By Shane Scanlan

Did you do anything interesting over the holiday break? 

Emily Ballantyne-Brodie did.  She joined Sea Shepherd’s hunt for illegal whalers in the Southern Ocean.

The director of Docklands-based Urban Reforestation was called upon at the last minute in mid-December to replace the regular vegetarian cook who suffered an accident and could not sail.

For the next 36 days Emily, her partner Nathan, and 10 other Sea Shepherd volunteers crammed aboard the tiny pursuit craft Gorija and patrolled the Antarctic.

During the period they “engaged” a refuelling vessel and a number of harpoon ships.  Emily said she stuck to her duties in the galley while other crew members attempted to throw red paint over the whaling vessels.

“Although, on one occasion, I went to the front of the boats and made a ‘peace’ sign to the whalers.  I was virtually asking them to please just leave the whales in peace,” she said.

Emily said one of her roles was “peace ambassador” – a role which she will carry out more formally in July when she chaperones a group of children to Japan as part of the Asia Pacific Children’s Convention.

As a primary school student aged 11 in 1995, Emily herself visited Japan as part of the same program. This was when her environmental concerns were first beginning to find voice.

“I have been invited back to help select this year’s students and to accompany them as a peace ambassador,” she said.

Emily said it was important to separate the whaling activities from the Japanese people.  “It’s the whaling that is the problem here, not the Japanese people,” she said.

During her time at sea, Emily said whales had come right up to the boat and she remarked on how curious they were.

“The whales are very curious and innocent. They are being very easily killed by the whalers,” she said.

Emily said anti-whaling went way beyond the whales themselves.  “I see it as symbolic of how we connect with nature,” she said.

“I think our long-term sustainability starts with food.  That’s what the Docklands garden is all about. It’s about investing in growing food.  To me, this is more fundamental than the issues of energy, waste and water.”

She said living with 11 others in close proximity for more than five weeks at sea was remarkably tranquil despite extremely trying conditions.

“I think this was because everyone was concerned about issues which are so much bigger than themselves,” she said.

“It’s really a model of how our urban societies can work.  We are all connected and each person has to be conscious of being a responsible member of the community.”

“Social sustainability is integral to ecological sustainability.  It starts with each person being aware.”

Emily hopes the Gorija will visit Docklands next month. 

“We’ll have a vegetarian barbecue and everyone will be welcome to come along,” she said.

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  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi at 4:04pm on 02/02/11

    Who does this silly girl think she is, participating in Sea Shepherd's violent fund raising campaign in the Southern Ocean? What gives her the right to tell anyone what to do on the high seas, let alone participate in violent and illegal actions?

    Perhaps when she visits Japan later this year she could hand herself over to authorities and cofess to her crimes.
  • Judi Pratt at 8:56pm on 02/02/11

    Hideyoshi -

    - The whales are being hunted and slaughtered in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, not in the "High Seas" as you say.

    - 80% of Australians do not want illegal whaling occurring in the Antarctic.

    - The actions of Sea Shepard are non-violent, they are literally "shepherding" the whales to try and keep them safe from being slaughtered with grenade tipped harpoons.
  • Nathan Murphy at 9:13pm on 02/02/11

    I think the comment from Hideyoshi is ill informed and ignorant.

    It is the actions of the Whaling fleet that is illegal. They know it as much as anyone hence them using the term 'scientific research'.

    I advise so called Hideyoshi that if you would like to have a debate, sure have it, but resorting to comments such as 'silly girl' demonstrates a misogynistic and lazy form of argument.
  • LeonardG at 2:21am on 03/02/11


    -there is no Austarlian Whale Sanctuary since Australia does not control those waters. This has been affirmed by an Australian Federal Court

    -100% of Hindus want the world to not eat cows, so what? Since the whalins isn't illegal and since Austarlia doesn't control the Antarctic the desires of 80% of them don't really matter.

    -throwing of glass bottles is hardly non-violent
  • Bridgette Gower at 7:37am on 03/02/11

    to Hideyoshi Toyotomi - you cant spell confess!
  • Captain Paul Watson at 8:49am on 03/02/11

    Hideyoshi Toyotomi is paid by the Institute for Cetacean Removal (ICR) of Japan to post anti-Sea Shepherd messages on social and media forums. It's his job. He is paid to be rude and disrespectful.

    All of us at Sea Shepherd appreciate Emily's contribution to this year's campaign to defend the whales.
  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi at 10:30am on 03/02/11

    Paul "If u don't know a fact, make it up" Watson:

    1. You're not a registered captain. Stop referring to yourself as one.
    2. You're paid a generous salary from the Sea Shepherd coffers, are you not?

    While you're here, could u also shed a little light on the criminal conviction you received in 1997? There appears to be confusion about the "non-violent" nature of you and your organisation.
  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi at 10:37am on 03/02/11

    For those claiming SSCS to be non-violent, please visit their website to see the crimes they boast about.

    These include sinking & ramming ships, throwing butyric acid, firing poison-tipped arrows, shining weapons-grade lasers, and throwing incendiary devices.

    A member of Sea Shepherd was convicted of crimes last year including assault after burning a mariner with an acid projectile.
  • Captain Paul Watson at 11:04am on 03/02/11

    Ahh touchy touchy Hideyoshi san. Keep tossing out the lies and the misinformation - it's what the ICR pays you for. I notice you did not deny that you're a paid troll - you simply responded with the standard misinformation provided by your employer.
  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi at 11:29am on 03/02/11

    Paul, we both know that I am not paid by anyone. To be honest, I've never fully understood why you persist in making the accusation. Even if I was paid, are my points not still valid?

    Conversely, you actually are paid right? Seeing that you're not actually stopping the whaling now, the least you could do is earn your keep with your donors and address the points I raised above.

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