Whale Day promotes marine awareness

    Representatives from several local and nationwide environmental organizations congregated in the Price Center to celebrate Whale Day International on Tuesday.

    Colin Young-Wolff
    Guardian

    “”Whale Day is a group of many people working together to promote awareness of marine life,”” said Mary Chen, vice president of the San Diego Environmental Coalition. Chen was the student coordinator involved in bringing Whale Day to campus; Tuesday was Whale Day’s third annual appearance at UCSD.

    “”We have live music, booths, speakers, all free to the public,”” Chen said. “”Lively … nice and simple, but with a good heart.””

    Whale Day International is a weeklong global campaign from Feb. 12 through Feb. 18 designed to promote an end to whaling and other threats to whales, dolphins and other marine life. Other Whale Day events are occurring this week in cities such as Maui and Ensenada.

    Colin Young-Wolff
    Guardian

    The primary speaker was Jiah Whaleheart Miesel, the founder and director of Whale Day International. Responsible for organizing whale-related conservation efforts worldwide, Miesel will soon be the recipient of the Bob Marley Peace Award, which will be presented to him in front of 18,000 people at the San Diego Sports Arena.

    “”I started [Whale Day] because of a time when I was in the Mating and Birthing Sanctuary at the San Ignacio Lagoon,”” Miesel said. “”A mother and baby gray whale approached me, looked me in the eye and let me touch them. My life was changed. I knew then that I would commit my life to protecting [whales and dolphins].””

    As a result of Whale Day, the Price Center was filled with the sounds of singers, such as The Mama Christy Band and Madcap Otis, as well as the voices of several environmental speakers.

    A colorful banner spanning the entire bookstore proclaimed, “”Free Corky,”” referring to the Killer Whale featured at San Diego’s Sea World. Miesel said this was only a small section of a larger banner, which reaches half a mile in length once unfurled. Decorating the banner were hundreds of paintings of killer whales, designed by children from 22 countries.

    “”We are committed to bringing Corky back into the wild … Many [wild] whales have died this way,”” Miesel said.

    Organizations assembled on Library Walk were not exclusively whale-oriented. Representatives from the UCSD Environmental Coalition, the San Diego Animal Advocates, the Western Service Workers Association and the Campus Greens were also present.

    Among the tables on Library Walk was a booth for UCSD’s Ocean Awareness Club. Tracy Ebba, the organization’s Education Coordinator, was stationed at the booth selling candy to raise funds.

    “”Although this is Whale Day, it represents preserving the ocean in general,”” Ebba said. “”It’s about making people on campus aware, and helping them realize that there’s a lot of cleaning up to do.””

    Emily Kohl, a Marshall freshman, spent a good portion of Tuesday on Library Walk.

    “”This campus is fairly liberal-minded,”” Kohl said. “”But students need to be more involved with the environmental movement. College students should focus not only on humanitarian issues, but also on environmental concerns.””

    Miesel was optimistic regarding Whale Day events in the near future.

    For more information, visit http://whaleday.com.

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