Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

Sort of. Kind of. I guess. A lot of stuff is going on, so here's what you need to know:

1. Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians are still on the ground in Taiji, Japan, opposing the slaughter and captivity of dolphins and small cetaceans. I am not participating in that campaign this year, but right now, as I type this, four dolphins are arriving at an aquarium in Japan. The dolphins spent 15 hours being driven across Japan, crammed into coffin-like crates just for human entertainment. Cove Guardians followed the truck and are livestreaming the arrival here: (assuming I hit "Publish Post" soon enough). You can read my account of a similar (but much shorter) transport from last year HERE. Read about ways you can help HERE. Follow them on Twitter @coveguardians.

2. Speaking of the Cove Guardians, Vegan Drinks will benefit the campaign tomorrow. We'll have amazing food from Monks Meats and Mister Sister and some great raffle prizes, including hard to find, vintage Sea Shepherd gear and DVDs signed by Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson.

3. Sea Shepherd NYC will be tabling the Red Hot Chili Peppers show at the Barclays Center on Saturday, January 30. If you're there, come by.

4. We'll also be at the John Butler Trio's shows at Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg, February 3 and 4, respectively.

5. Then on the fifth, fellow Cove Guardian, Dam Guardian and Sea Shepherd NYC coordinator Ethan and I will be speaking at a free screening of Blackfish at Bluestockings on the Lower East Side. Free vegan refreshments will be available as well, so don't miss it.

6. THEN, on February 16, we'll have our annual Whalentine's Day Bake Sale at MooShoes, also on the Lower East Side. You all know how delicious that event is, so don't get me started.

We hope to have a volunteer training some time in February, before our tables at the Vegetarian Food Festival and Beneath the Sea dive show in March, so if you'd like to get involved and live in the NYC area, please email nyc @ seashepherd . org to attend.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter to USA Today: Travel to Taiji

UPDATE: looks like USA Today has pulled the piece promoting Taiji as a tourist destination that this letter was a response to. Will keep the letter here anyway. Thanks, USA Today!

Dear USA Today,

I recently came across your piece suggesting Taiji, Japan as a vacation destination, and I must admit my surprise at the piece, having been there twice myself.

Firstly, I think you do the town of Taiji a great disservice by completely ignoring the natural beauty of the landscape. It is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been, with absolutely gorgeous mountains. The ocean views are always breathtaking, whether they’re clear, Pacific blue, the fiery orange reflection of sunset, or the deep, blood red of the daily dolphin slaughter that is perpetrated there from September to March.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving/Chanukkah Recipes: Candied Sweet Potato Latkes (Pancakes) and Pumpkin Spice Sufganiyot

Winter Thanksgiving is coming. And this year, for the first time in 125 years, it overlaps with the start of Chanukkah (or however you prefer to spell it), so, much like all the American Jews on Pinterest, I thought it would be fun to combine some traditional Thanksgiving and Chanukkah foods for my family dinner.

Sweet & Sara's candied sweet potatoes have become a family Thanksgiving tradition, but this year, I decided to incorporate some Chanukka flavor. Enter the Candied Sweet Potato Latkes (pancakes).

For reasons Wikipedia would be happy to explain, Chanukkah is all about fried goodness. Bonus points for using olive oil. Probably the most well-known Chanukkah dish is potato latkes (pancakes) served with apple sauce*. This year, I've traded regular white potatoes for sweet potatoes and apple sauce for a thick, sticky marshmallow glaze, packing traditional Thanksgiving flavors into a Chanukkah-friendly shape.

Still can't take appetizing food photos, sorry.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Upcoming Events

It's that time of year again!

This time, we're raising money for Food Not Bombs NYC. FNB generally depends on donations and reclaimed food, but volunteers often go out of pocket for non-perishables like oils and grains as well as plates and cutlery.
The details:
Where: MooShoes, 78 Orchard St, NYC
When: Sunday, April 28, 12:30-5:30 PM
RSVP: Facebook
Baker/Volunteer signup: Google Doc
AND! SAVE THE DATE! Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Galapagos Director Captain Alex Cornelisson will be in NYC on May 1. We'll be showing the short film Galapagos, followed by a Q&A with the captain.
RSVP on Facebook for updates.
After that, I'm heading to the west coast for Sea Shepherd's Dam Guardian campaign and we should have another NYC volunteer training coming up soon. To find out when that (and other events) is going to be, "Like" the chapter on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Connecting the Dots: Taiji + IMATA

IMATA is the Internatonal Marine Animal Trainers' Association. They're the people responsible for making sure marine animals kept in captivity are treated ethically and humanely*. According to their website, they are committed to

"Exercising the highest levels of respect and humaneness for all animals"


"strongly oppose the slaughter of whales and dolphins that occur in drive fisheries. We have long had a clear and definitive position opposing the slaughter, which is opposed by all international, accredited zoo and aquarium organizations."

But they

"oppose the unreasonable demand that IMATA blacklist trainers [involved with drive fisheries]. For IMATA to do so would, in fact, be counter-productive to the goal of ending the slaughter of animals in drive fisheries. IMATA's mission is to ensure that marine animal trainers -- regardless of the facility for which they work - have access to the most progressive, professional, and responsible animal training and management techniques."

So how do they hope to end these drive fisheries that they're so opposed to?

" IMATA believes that thoughtful dialogue on a difficult subject like commercial whaling (specifically drive fisheries) is important between people of different cultures, and a positive way to make changes that eventually benefit marine animals. Through IMATA membership, trainers have access to a network of professionals continually working to improve training and care techniques; access to educational publications; and can attend our professional meetings where the latest training information is discussed. The well being of marine mammals is the first priority of IMATA members, who are dedicated trainers at parks and aquariums around the world. These trainers care deeply about the whales, dolphins, sea lions and other marine mammals they interact with every day."

By taking people's money, then hoping they'll talk about it! That's bound to work, right?

Two professionals having a respectful dialog about the animals they care about so deeply

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Follow the Greedier

Early one morning this week, we arrived in Taiji expecting to see the dolphin killers doing maintenance on their boats and preparing for the regular fishing season. Instead, we found this:

Divers wrestle dolphins into slings, which the crane lifts into the crates. The crates are then loaded into the truck with a forklift.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Despite the fact that the dolphin drive hunt had pretty much ended by the time I arrived in Taiji, so much has happened that it has been difficult to keep this blog up to date. There hasn't been a single drive since I touched down, but the danger to dolphins doesn't end just because the season does.

Dolphin and whale hunting via harpoon is permitted year round, so even as the sight of boats without banger poles lifted our spirits, we knew it would not last long, as the poles could soon be replaced with harpoons. Additionally, these are just regular fishing boats, so while cetaceans are now safer than they've been for the past few months, all other species of marine life are still at risk.

 Banger poles come down
Fishing poles go up

Monday, March 4, 2013

If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls...

...everyone would be vegetarian.

Or at least that's what people who take the time to put text on images of cows and post them on the Internet would have you believe. And if you walked around Taiji during the dolphin drive hunt season, you'd probably think they believe it too. That would be a pretty logical explanation for all the secrecy, right? All the tarps and barricades and "No Trespassing" signs are there because seeing how the animals they eat are killed makes people uncomfortable and less likely to eat it, right?


One town over, in Kii Katsuura, the fish market is practically a tourist attraction. The slaughterhouse goes a step further than having glass walls: it has no walls. So another Cove Guardian and I went over to see if they'd object to our presence as much as the killers of Taiji do.

WARNING: At the risk of stating the obvious, the photos in this post with the word "slaughterhouse" in the title are going to be quite graphic.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'm not usually into petitions, but when it comes to this, I'm willing to grasp at straws.

Sea Shepherd has filed two petitions on the White House  “We The People” page which seek the U.S. Government’s support in upholding conservation law regarding protecting at-risk whales in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and with ensuring safe haven for the organization’s respected founder, Captain Paul Watson. It'd be rad if anyone reading this could sign and share them. It just takes a couple of minutes.

Petition the First: “Take strong action to stop the Japanese from killing whales in the Southern Ocean Antarctic Whale Sanctuary”

“The President must take swift and decisive action against Japan's illegal whaling.

Under the Pelly Amendment and the Packwood-Magnuson Amendment, the President has the power to apply economic sanctions against Japan for its continued whale slaughter in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. The United States asserts that it resolutely opposes whale hunting by Japan, but does little to actually bring a halt to the practice.

The U.S. State Dept. has declared: “We remain resolute in our opposition to commercial whaling, including so-called ‘scientific’ whaling, in particular in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary established by the International Whaling Commission. In this context we wish to emphasize that lethal techniques are not required in modern whale conservation and management.”

Petition the Second:  Provide Safe Haven to Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society”

"We request the U.S. not extradite U.S citizen Paul F. Watson.

There are two active Interpol Red Notices issued against Captain Watson at the request of Costa Rica and Japan. Underlying these notices are non-lethal acts in defense of marine life suffering from illegal shark fishing and whaling operations. The warrants are politically motivated

Captain Watson is a world-renowned and highly respected leader in environmental issues. In 1999, he was awarded President George H.W. Bush’s "Daily Points of Light" Award and in 2000, he was named one of Time Magazine’s “Top 20 Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century.” In 2012, he became only the second person ever to be honored with the Jules Verne Award for environmentalists and adventurers. Captain Watson is a national treasure."

If the US government won't grant the first (which would be insane), they should at least grant the second, so Captain Watson and the Sea Shepherd crew can take care of what they won't.

You do not have to be a US resident or citizen to sign these petitions. Just be 13 years of age or older. You can read more about them here.

Please take a moment to sign the petitions. These guys sure will appreciate it:


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Upcoming Events

There are so many events coming up in NYC over the next few months it's a little overwhelming. Here's a selction:

Monday, January 28: Dinner with Sea Shepherd at Blossom Chelsea

Eat, drink and be merry because Blossom is donating 10% of their receipts to Sea Shepherd on Monday! Blossom is located at 187 9th Avenue, NYC. They seat for dinner 5:15 PM to 9:30 PM and reservations are recommended. Make one at or by calling 212.627.1144 ext. 5.

Thursday, January 31 - Saturday, February 2: The 3rd Annual New York Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
The festival will be full of great films and speakers, including a local Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian. His presentation about Operation Infinite Patience will be part of Thursday night's program. Tickets and more information here. Use the code "sea shepherd" for $1 off.

Sunday, February 10: The Vegan Bake-Off Dessert Competition*
Seriously. I think it's the first event of it's kind in NYC, which is really exciting. Also, I entered, which is kind of terrifying. Get more info, tickets or enter here:

Sunday, February 17: Sea Shepherd's Second Annual Whalentine's Day Bake Sale
Yes, it's the best thing about the winter season: bake sale time! At the always wonderful MooShoes, of course. Get all the info here and sign up to bake here.

Tuesday, February 19: At the Edge of the World Screening + Q&A w/film director and crew
The film is kind of like a prequel to Whale Wars. We'll be showing it at NYU, for a suggested donation of $10 per person (but everything is appreciated and no one will be turned away, as long as there's room. Get all the details here:

After that, we'll be screening The Cove and Galapagos with Q&A sessions with volunteers from each of those campaigns and we have some other plans up our sleeves, so be sure to add Sea Shepherd NYC on Facebook or Twitter or join our mailing list (email nyc at seashepherd dot org) to stay up to date.

*Not a Sea Shepherd event, just awesome.