The Green Man is a symbol of rebirth and of spring. The mythology is part of many ancient cultures but was only called the Green Man in the 20th century. In its various forms, it is a symbol of hope... and some of us need all the help we can get right now.
Pretty much, I assume that most who read this blog are well informed on climate change. They know the Antarctic is melting faster than experts had expected. They know the likelihood of an ocean rise of 10 feet is what most scientists assume will be the result. They also know that sea life is being much impacted by these changes.
This year, since January, 1100 starving baby seals have been found on the California beaches. Some could be saved but many could not. This starvation is most likely due to their mothers having to leave them to go farther for food because the food supply is not where it always was.
Human climate is seeing changes of greater storms, less rain some places and more others. Colder some places and warmer others. In my part of Oregon, our rainfall hasn't been that much less, but the mountains got virtually no snow, which will impact rivers this summer. Our own farm may not be able to irrigate for long, but it's been because of heavy logging on the hills around us, which means the land holds less water when the rains do come.
Mankind is responsible for a lot of what happens in nature because of our numbers and habits. Some of that can be changed-- some maybe not. So while humans argue over taking any responsibility, what do you imagine it's like for the intelligent mammals that live in the ocean. I am not so much thinking of the seals now as the dolphins and whales.
Into this mix of change coming, I learned of something that kind of blew me away. One of the writers, who I know through the Internet, was heading for Baja and a whaling experience. The idea is the tourists stay in shacks on the beach of the Sea of Cortez. They ride out to the sea on pangas operated by guides to interact with the whales.
This place is known as a breeding grounds for whales. Since the 1970s, it's been known for something else-- a place the whales will come up to the humans in the boats and let them touch them.
"highlights of any trip to this "Mexican Galápagos": tickling implausibly friendly grey whales under the chin, listening to humpback whales singing their haunting, unearthly songs, and enjoying unforgettably close encounters with gargantuan blue whales." from TelegraphWhen I first heard about this happening, I thought-- this can't be good. Animals should never trust humans that much. Almost every species of animal out there keeps its babies away from humans at any cost. And yet, these whales were not only letting their calves do this but encouraging it. The whales are not forced or chased. They make the decision, and many do just that. So what's up?
After reading the experiences of my writing friend and seeing her videos and photos (definitely spend time with her link above), I was scratching my head. What is going on? Her father's cousin said that this all began with one man in the 1970s, a fisherman who said a whale came up to him and let him touch it. His community did not believe him. He took others out, and they saw for themselves. The whales chose to do this. They still choose to do this.
What I am about to suggest will sound wacky to practical minded folk-- even though most know whales are the most intelligent in the sea and some think they are smarter than humans (and considering the cockeyed values of a lot of humans, that's not too hard to imagine). Here's what I wonder: what if the whales sense the changes in the oceans, the pollution, the feeding grounds being threatened? What if they understand that humans could help them if they would?
I know-- Bambi complex. Or is it? Do we not give animals enough credit for understanding what is happening? They are being threatened before we are by these abrupt climate changes. Can they sense this? Do we give them credit for realizing it and thinking what can they do about it? I know humans who believe they can communicate with whales and claim they very much can know and reason.
The Sea of Cortez, where the cows nurse their calves until they are strong enough to make the long migration to the Alaskan waters for feeding, provided a safe place. Maybe because of a reef, maybe for other reasons, the orcas, who would eat the babies, don't come into this breeding ground. They do though kill a lot of the young ones on their way north in places like Monterey Bay. If the reef is a factor in their safety here, then having humans supporting them has been a benefit. Many human governments need an economic reason to support any cause. The government of Mexico can see an economic benefit in the people coming down there on tours that aren't cheap. There is however, another benefit for the whales. The humans who do this are interacting with a wild creature in a way that educates the humans and makes them care about these mighty leviathans.
Does it also give these humans a reason to support efforts to protect them, seeing them as kindred spirits? It will take that kind of love and a strong purpose as human actions are constantly making their lives more dangerous by examples like the one described in the following link. It will spoil more fisheries. It's a Mexican company but a subsidiary of an American one (no surprise that). What will it take to stop it?
In our modern world, true love is the only thing that I can think of that can be more powerful than dollars! Some humans say we can't fix it all so why try to fix anything. Others say-- one step at a time and we can make a difference. That's my philosophy.
Finally, this is a link to a video made from that trip--
Definitely check it out as the music, seeing the whales interacting, ends this on an upbeat note. Maybe we can keep it that way!