How do children feel about whales and dolphins in captivity?
Not long ago, I wrote a magazine article about the power of environmental education and how studies have shown that parental attitudes and action towards the natural world are directly influenced by engaging children in environmental and conservation issues.
To put it another way, children have power over us! They are not just the conservationists of tomorrow, but are capable of great things today.
And so they have proved when it comes to the issue of whales and dolphins in captivity. Clearly it’s a concern that resonates with young people, and their opinion will almost invariably hold sway within their family.
Since the release of Blackfish, a number of films featuring or created by children have appeared online appealing to others to help captive orcas.
The most recent that I’ve come across is five year old Cash, who snuck into the living room while his parents were watching Blackfish on CNN and caught a few minutes of the film. It’s a powerful documentary that perhaps you wouldn’t want a young child to view but, after talking things through with Cash, his mum and dad decided to let him continue watching. The result is this short film and a request from Cash that people don’t visit SeaWorld on this birthday, 22 December.
Other examples include this moving and thought-provoking film produced by Yr 5 pupils at Davyhulme Primary school in the UK which they’ve called ‘Would you let it happen to me?’, and one from children at an elementary school in Nevada seeking to free Morgan, a young orca found stranded off the Netherlands and now held captive in Tenerife.
If you get the chance to take a look at one or even all of these films, please do. I’m sure they will inspire you.
I’m proud to have the opportunity to work with children and even prouder of their wonderful attitude to life and the world around them. They have a powerful sense of right and wrong that I’m sure we should listen to more often.