Ironic that Shark Week beings tonight. Today on the beach a sand shark was fished out of the ocean. Crowds of people gathered to see it, take photos and ‘marvel’ at the sea creature. Meanwhile the shark is wrestling for it’s life, suffocating, while a photo is taken of the human who tricked him onto a sharp hook.
I yelled for them to put it back, that it can’t breathe. We so easily forget that a sea creature out of water is drowning in the air – the same way humans would if our heads were held under water. Just because our ears can’t hear the screams of some creatures, doesn’t mean they aren’t crying out.
Thankfully the shark was let go but the situation ate me up the rest of the day. How have we become so disconnected that we witness another being fighting for it’s life but do nothing? That we don’t even realize it’s sentience or suffering? I wonder if anyone else stopped to think about why this shark’s life is spared, but if it were a flounder, tuna or another ‘edible’ fish, it would be stabbed alive, head cut off and sliced up into pieces. I wonder if the little boy who said “I hope they don’t put it back in there!” will someday realize who the real threat in this situation was?
Humans kill 100 million sharks every year for their fins, meat, oil or as by-catch from industrialized fishing (aka “wild caught” fish). Humans pollute the ocean with plastic, fossil fuels, fertilizers & pesticides, chemical sunscreens and through the fecal run off from the billions of factory farmed animals we kill for food each year. The disconnection and cognitive dissonance we live in is dizzying. I pray that someday man will reconnect with the other life forms with whom we share this Earth. That he will comprehend the sameness in all creatures, understand all beings fear death and cherish life. And, that our very existence relies on the health and vitality of the ocean that we are stealing life from and destroying.
To celebrate Sharks this week consider watching a documentary like Racing Extinction, Conspiracy, Chasing Coral, Blackfish, The Cove or Plastic Oceans. It’s time we witness the magic beneath the waters surface and what humans are blindly doing to it.