Male Sea LionThe M/Y Steve Irwin at Abbot Point yesterday opposing the Adani Carmichael coal mine and to 
save the Great Barrier Reef (Photo Credit: Tara Lambourne / Sea Shepherd).

LAST week the British Columbia Salmon Farming industry called Sea Shepherd “unethical” for posting about the death of a baby Orca. They accused us of exploiting the baby Orca by stating a fact, and that fact is that salmon farms are spreading viruses and parasites to wild salmon populations and diminished numbers of Coho and Chinook salmon are starving the Orcas.

Not surprising that they would do so. It’s called deflecting the blame where the guilty deflect criticism by accusing their critics of the same thing they are guilty of. Their accusation of Sea Shepherd being unethical was so silly that it did not get picked up outside of their own industry newsletter.

This seems to be a common tactic. 

Now we have the Australian coal industry calling Sea Shepherd “hypocritical” for using a ship, the STEVE IRWIN to oppose the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. 

This is the article (below) in the “objective” publication WORLD COAL and my rebuttal to their amusing criticisms.

World Coal: Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane has called out the hypocrisy of the Sea Shepherd’s anti Adani campaign, pointing to the vast mineral resources, including coal in its flagship vessel which will arrive at Abbot Point on 8 August.

Captain Paul Watson: First of all, every single one of us are hypocrites because we live in a hypocritical society where we have little choice but to use some fossil fuels in our daily lives. The difference is that some of us want to use alternatives and this is hard to do when governments are in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry and actively obstruct alternative innovations. 

World Coal: “Once again, it’s a case of do as we say, not do as we do for anti-mining activists,” Macfarlane said.

Captain Paul Watson: What we are saying is to not destroy the Great Barrier Reef and our campaign is consistent with that message. Sea Shepherd is not ripping up the ground and dumping tailings onto the reef. The coal industry wants to do that. The STEVE IRWIN is recycled. We did not build it. The Scottish government built it and we have extended its life by some 15 years now. We burn diesel reluctantly because there is no alternative at present. The bottom line however is that this campaign is not about opposing mining or the fossil fuel industry, it’s about opposing the corruption, the greed, the incompetence and the lack of moral responsibility on the part of the coal industry and the Australian government for using the Great Barrier Reef as a dumping ground. This all boils down to this: The government and the coal industry want to destroy the Great Barrier Reef and Sea Shepherd and decent people in Australia want to save the Great Barrier reef. Mr. McFarlane, your side wears the Black as coal hats and our side is wearing the blue hats.

World Coal: “But you can’t avoid the facts for long. And the facts are the ship the crew is using to sail up the Queensland coast is a product of resources – most notably coal.

Captain Paul Watson: What kind of Orwellian drivel is this? The relevant facts are: 1. This Adani project will cause devastating damage to the Great Barrier Reef. 2. The coal industry is irresponsible. 3. The government is corrupt. 4. Destroying one of the great natural wonders of the world is a crime against humanity. 5. Sea Shepherd is opposing this intent to commit a crime against humanity with this campaign. You can whitewash your dirty coal as much as you like but it is still coal – the dirtiest of all the fossil fuels.

World Coal: “If it wasn’t for coal, this anti-jobs campaign would have sprung a leak before it started.”

Captain Paul Watson: If it wasn’t for irresponsible exploitation of natural resources like the Adani Project, there would have been no need for this campaign.

World Coal: This class of ship weighs around 900 t with the steel component requiring up to 620 t of metallurgical coal and up to 860 t of iron ore to build.

On top of that, it carries around 240 t of diesel power to keep the ship moving.

Captain Paul Watson: The ship was commissioned by the government of Scotland. It was not built for Sea Shepherd. It was recycled by Sea Shepherd. The history of Australia is one of having a monopoly over technology and power to steal the land from the indigenous people and to despoil it in the name of profit and self-proclaimed racial superiority. I’m sure that McFarlane and his ilk would prefer to have canoes opposing them so they can ignore or run them down. American Indians prevented 100% eradication by co-opting the gun for their defense. As environmentalists we are forced to co-opt technology for the defense of the environment. Is this hypocritical? Possibly, but the hypocrisy of the industry and it’s feeble muttering of “jobs” is far more hypocritical when the real motivation is massive profits for the elite few. We are all hypocrites but I would say that the Coal Industry’s hypocrisies make our contradictions quite insignificant. 

World Coal: “If these activists truly wanted a coal free future they would have no choice but to end the journey immediately,” Macfarlane said.

Captain Paul Watson: Yes, I’m sure you would like that Mr. McFarlane. But that’s not going to happen. Quite illogical really. What I read behind your words here however is fear. You really are afraid of this campaign and that explains your silly rant about hypocrisy. You haven’t got a credible leg to stand on.

World Coal: “If they continue then their anti-jobs, anti-regional growth claims will have a very hollow ring to them.”

Captain Paul Watson: Now this is really rich. Sea Shepherd is here to defend jobs, some 65,000 real jobs that will be lost if the Great Barrier Reef is destroyed. The Reef is responsible for more jobs than this mining project will create. Mr. McFarlane, don’t cry crocodile tears over jobs. You could not care less for anyone’s job but your own. If you want to save jobs, I suggest you end your plans to despoil the reef immediately.

Note: I realise of course that this rebuttal is to Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane but for all intents and purposes he and World Coal are pretty much the same thing.

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson


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