Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. IV No. 4 October 1995


By William Rossiter, CSI President

This is about participation, truly grass roots advocacy, the core of CSI, and your free time; truly more precious than gold. You probably belong or contribute to many organizations. Most of us do. Cynics would have us believe that we do it to feel good; that with an occasional donation and a glance at whatever comes in the mail (like this "Whales Alive!") we have "done our bit" and can think about other things. Recent legislative and environmental threats have been echoed loudly in the media and the news from every group, and perhaps you feel it's just too overwhelming to understand or to act on. Perhaps you would just as soon leave the fight to the groups that you support.

That's what the cynics say. That's what the supporters of all the threats and drastic changes want. That's what the U.S. Congress needs to escape responsibility for all that they are trying to do. This is no time for the Silent Majority. Please act. It is up to you, the person with a vote. Only a large pile of angry letters or telephone calls will stem the tide, and you must be part of it. It's difficult to overstate the need. This is neither hype nor exaggeration. We should all be desperate.

As readers of "Whales Alive!", CSI members or not, you share concerns with all of us. We are not asking for your money so we can fight your battles; we'll continue to fight flat out anyway. We are asking for something more precious, your time. Time to fight for what you care about. What does HR 2179 mean? An end to "dolphin safe" tuna. And HR 2275? The "roll back" of the Endangered Species Act. You must find the time to learn why you should be angry enough to act, and then do it, now. We did this in the last "Whales Alive!" as well, and will again if there is time left. The only reason you still have any time is that some in Congress are beginning to hesitate as the initial public response swells up with questions and concerns about the future. Some are very grateful for the constituent support that enables them to follow their conscience rather than party politics. Most just want to get reelected. You will make a difference.

CSI also asks for your help or participation in a very material way. Our support of education programs and scientific projects continues to grow with significant results on an insignificant budget, particularly in Latin America. We have identified a great need for all sorts of books, posters, videos, and anything else that might focus a classroom or a meeting of local fishermen on the marine environment. What do you have on a shelf, in a box, gathering dust, that might make a enormous difference to people who have never seen anything like it? CSI will pay the postage and you will get the credit. We're asking for whatever you can part with. We can promise that anything you contribute will be given gratis, postage paid, and aimed at already identified users in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Guayaquil and Lima. Well, it's a start. For perspective keep in mind that your goods might end up in a coastal village where dolphins are part of a normal catch, and might make change possible. In keeping with CSI's methods, we've even cajoled airline crews into carrying small amounts of books and tapes to local volunteers, which will cut costs considerably. Before you send the dusty things please send a postcard with a brief list and approximate weight, to CSI's P.O. Box, and we'll arrange something. Don't even dust them off. Thousands of children's fingers will eagerly do that.

We are again besieged by teachers and school children for classroom materials. Any curriculum samples or ideas you share with us will be eagerly shared all over the U.S., for starters. CSI is plugged into the information highway, thanks to our computer expert and board member, Brent Hall, but many requests come from classes without computers. A request in jiggled pencil on wrinkled paper is just as valid as something pulled off an Apple. We are frustrated in our inability to reach the next generation adequately. If you want to help us here, with time or material, it would bring significant benefits to these children.

CSI's core is volunteer advocacy and action by concerned people. As part of our core that's all we ask of you. To some it would be too much, which explains many problems today. To you we hope it sounds reasonable and necessary, because without you CSI has no core.

Go to next article: Marine Mammals Are Likely Victims of Congressional "Reform" Efforts
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© Copyright 1995, Cetacean Society International, Inc.