I watched the video of the Avatar: The Way of Water Tokyo Press Event several times – held on/around December 10 at the Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa. I hope you will watch it, too.
To watch this particular group of filmmakers, whom I greatly admire and respect, applaud captive dolphins performing tricks in a tiny pool absolutely floored me. I was hoping it was a mistake. It wasn’t, but it was a brutal wake up call.
Video credit: YouTube/LOWKEY GEEK!
The clapping really got to me. It wasn’t just James Cameron. Everyone clapped. Everyone was amused and entertained: Jon Landau, Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang.
Apparently a good time was had by all.
And at the same time, the Taiji dolphin slaughter—and related captures—rage on in Taiji, opposed by too few.
These are very intelligent people watching the live dolphin show. They are world travelers. Educated. Some are vegan. At least some of these filmmakers have probably seen The Cove movie, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2010.
Watching this video of the Avatar: The Way of Water Press Event left me feeling completely hopeless and betrayed. It made me question everything we have been doing. Still does.
Our work at Dolphin Project is very specific: it’s all about the dolphin captivity issue. That’s our issue. We don’t profess to be saving the entire planet, or even the seven seas and the rainforest. We don’t have goals of the highest abstraction. We are focused on the dolphin captivity issue like a laser beam – educating and enlightening so people can make educated choices about which forms of “entertainment” they choose to support. Now I’m wondering if I’ve wasted the last fifty-two years of my life doing this? After all, if we can’t even get through to this select group of well-educated filmmakers, maybe we’re wasting our time trying to educate ordinary people in hopes they will think twice before buying a ticket from the dolphin abusement park industry?
At 83, I don’t want to spend my time wasting my time. I have been forced to rethink everything, now that I know we’re not even getting through to people whom I truly believed were already onboard: the producers, director and cast of the Avatar movies – blockbuster films about saving the environment, which includes dolphins.
Perhaps the film’s very title – Avatar: The Way of Water – is the silver lining in all this. For isn’t the way of water both gentle and strong, with water making up 90% of our blood plasma? Perhaps too, it’s within our biological make-up to understand that water, and what depends on it, is sacred and a birthright amongst all creatures, including dolphins and other whales.
I am hereby formally inviting James Cameron, Jon Landau, Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang to join me and our team in Taiji, Japan. Yes, I’ll be going back and am formally asking the Avatar team to join me for just a few days. I’d like to personally show them where the dolphins that entertained them so well most likely came from. I’d like to show them exactly how dolphins are captured in Japan. I’d like to show them that trainers who purport to care for dolphins work alongside those that brutally slaughter dolphins. I’m sure, once they witness this first-hand, they will never applaud another dolphin show again.
Please share this letter far and wide, and help educate on the cruelty of dolphin captivity!
Featured image: Avatar: The Way of Water Press Event in Tokyo, Japan. Credit: YouTube/LOWKEY GEEK!