Lauren Kett is currently in the Spring 2011 Greenpeace Semester in San Francisco. She is a sophomore at the University of Florida studying Advertising with a minor in Business and Art History.
Why Famima!!? Why now? When deciding if I support a campaign I like to know all the background information.
Famima!! is a convenience store with 9 locations in the greater LA area and is owned by Family Mart, the only Japanese retail sector that carries whale meat on their shelves and is the third largest convenience store in Japan. Greenpeace demands that Family Mart take this whale meat off their inventory lists. Famima!! does not sell whale on their shelves but they do support whaling by being a part of Family Mart who does. Famima!! has the opportunity to tell Family Mart that if they want to have successful expansion in the United States they need to stop profiting off illegal whale hunts.
So what is in the cans of whale meat? Minke whales. These gentle mammals are the smallest and most abundant of the baleen whales. Minke whales are very curious creatures, active at the surface of water and can be found investigating stationary boats, making them extremely vulnerable to attack. These slender whales have two blowholes and are seasonal feeding carnivores that spend late winter and early spring mating and migrating.
Newborn whales can instinctively swim within 10 seconds of their first breath and can stay with their mother for up to a year or longer. To nourish themselves they filter small plankton, krill, and small fish through their bristle like teeth as they dive on average for 6-12 minutes. Minke whales are not yet endangered because their small size didn’t interest whalers until recently- since the larger species have been over-hunted. Although Minke whales have a relatively substantial population this will not last long if illegal whaling continues in Japan. With the help of Famima!! we can stop convenience stores from stocking whale meat and one day stop the slaughter of whales altogether!
Now a quick lesson on whaling history:
First put into commercial practice when their body oil was in demand in the 19th century for lamps and then into the 20th century dawned the desire for their meat. The anti-whaling movement and International Whaling Commission formed in the 1970’s and after that, 95% of the population was depleted in several species. A moratorium (ban) on commercial whaling was put in place in 1982 to stop commercial whaling by 1986 and has been in place ever since. Unfortunately there was a loophole- “scientific research”. In 1987 the Japanese sent out ships, equipment, and crew in the same locations as previously used for whaling, though now blazed with ‘Research’ painted on their JARPA (Japanese Research Program in Antarctica) vessels. 2005 came around and JARPA-II was introduced, increasing their Minke whale quota to 900 and adding the endangered Fin whale. Naturally, this caused an out roar from anti-whaling nations but has yet to make a true impact in stopping Japan from whaling.
To this day the Japanese whaling industry continues. We have the opportunity to pressure Famima!! and tell Family Mart to stop selling whale meat. The launch of this campaign represents a huge step in the right direction to stop whaling internationally. We all can make a difference by spreading the word and applying consumer pressure by telling Famima!! US consumers Americans will not support a company that profits off illegal whale hunts.
Click here to find out more information on how you can help save the whales.
From Mary Sweeters, director of the Greenpeace Semester:
As an activist, I’m a firm believer that people hold the power to make change in the world. The cynic’s response to this is that only money or political gaming ever has any real influence on changes we see in the world. And yes, those factor in, considerably, but we can't undersell ourselves. I truly believe that humanity’s willingness to stand up for what is right, to struggle in the face of adversity, and to persevere when the odds are not in our favor, are our greatest character traits. These traits give us the wherewithal to change destructive corporate practices that endanger people’s lives and destroy our environment; they spur the masses to fight back against despots and corrupt governments; they shape the world we’re giving to future generations.
As the director of the Greenpeace Semester,
I'm also a firm believer in the power that young people have to make
change. And I'm talking real change, right now. I'm grateful for and
inspired by history's young people - students of the Free Speech
Movement or the thousands in Tienanmen Square - but I am most excited
and motivated by the youth of today who are taking real action on a
The last six weeks have shown us what the youth of today are capable of doing. They’re literally leading revolutions – sharing advice about demonstrations on Facebook and emphasizing non-violence - that are ousting decades-old regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
They're galvanizing support - for weeks on end - around the unions and people of Wisconsin who are fighting back against a corporate-sponsored crackdown on workers' rights in the name of balancing a budget.
They're also standing up on their own, like Tim DeChristopher, with bold and direct action in the name of our communities and our environment - and in doing so, putting a fire under an environmental movement that is ripe for escalation.
When I talk with the students spending their spring here in San Francisco with the Greenpeace Semester, it's clear they're ready to get back to their communities and campuses and get down to business. They're smart, they're plugged in, and they're about to join their peers across the country who are already starting revolutions for the planet.
The Greenpeace Semester students (pictured at right) are on the road as I write this, mobilizing to protect whales from being slaughtered for meat in convenience stores (hard to believe it, but this is a real problem). Look out for updates from them in the coming week and follow them on Twitter (@GPSemester).
Melanie Metal is in the current Spring 2011 Greenpeace Semester class here in San Francisco. She is a sophomore at the University of Florida and is majoring in Geography with a minor in Environmental Studies and Climatology/Meteorology studies. Check out her blog below!
If there is anything that I love as much as the environment, chances are it’s Facebook. So when I found out that the servers Facebook uses to support its massive 500 million active users are run off of electricity generated by coal—one of the dirtiest sources of energy and greatest contributors to global climate change—it immediately became hard for me to reconcile my two interests.
Online social networking has revolutionized our lives and the way we communicate. Facebook allows my generation to view each other’s lives in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. People can post pictures, comments, and any thought that comes to their mind for their friends to see. So if Facebook is so revolutionary, why haven’t they revolutionized themselves and made the switch to clean renewable energy?
Greenpeace is calling for Facebook to go green and coal-free by 2021. On February 14, 2011 my Greenpeace Semester classmates and I were given the opportunity to kick off the “Unfriend Coal” campaign. Facebook’s workforce is young, smart, and exciting, and Greenpeace is willing to bet that they care about environmental issues just as much as we do, and wouldn’t want to work for a company that is contributing to global climate change. Here at Greenpeace we urge Facebook’s staff to encourage their company to use clean energy and go coal free.
We went to Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California to hand out Valentines to Facebook employees. Waking up at 5:30 A.M. suddenly became worthwhile when employees began to roll down their car windows to accept the heart-shaped lollipops we offered them. Each treat had a Twitter address printed on the wrapper, @GPheartsFB, which directed tech-savvy employees to an account designed to brief them on the “Unfriend Coal” campaign and what they could do as individuals to change their company’s policies.
Almost every staffer driving, biking, and walking into work accepted our Valentines! Not only was Facebook’s staff kind and grateful for their lollipops, they went so far as to bring breakfast treats and umbrellas outside to us on the street. As I stood at the top of the Facebook driveway, a few staffers approached my classmate Lauren and I to ask about our campaign and offer their help and take our photo. They were genuinely curious about what we had to say and wanted to know more about the dirty energy source their company was using and how they could help to quit coal.
Facebook is one of the most influential companies in existence today, which puts them in a unique and influential position. If Facebook goes green, they will set an unbelievable precedent for other internet-based companies to follow. Go coal free, Facebook, just think of how many more people will “like” you!
Support Greenpeace’s efforts in style in an Unfriend Coal tee shirt!
Make sure to take action today and "like" our "Unfriend Coal" page on Facebook
Student at Greenpeace University
San Francisco, CA USA
The Greenpeace Semester is a semester of training for student activists. It's action-filled and the best hands-on training for students to become environmental leaders. Read blogs from Greenpeace Semester students as they stand up to protect the planet.
Your Personal Activist Network
Student at Greenpeace University