Five Minutes on Friday, Six Minutes on Saturday: Listen to Music, Save Japan; Email a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

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It doesn’t take a lot of time, money, or sacrifice to do an incredible amount of good. Hence the name of this post (and potential series): Five Minutes on Friday. Even if it’s not Friday, this post might interest you…

Can you — and can I — take just five minutes each Friday (or Saturday, Sunday, etc.) to fix big problems and feel awesome in the process? Sure. It need not suck or feel like work. In fact, it can be like getting a Christmas present. Or perhaps like slaying bad guys as The Punisher.

Pretty sweet on both sides. Here are two quick options for your five minutes this week…

Listen to Music, Save Japan

Make a $10 or greater donation to Music for Relief for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan and receive a kick-ass exclusive compilation of music from incredible musicians. To get people to take action, the offer is only good for a few days. Listen to the music (listed below) and make a donation here: http://japan.downloadtodonate.org/

Current Tracklisting:
Hoobastank — Running Away (acoustic)
Shinedown – Shed Some Light (acoustic live)
Sara Bareilles — Song For A Soldier
Flyleaf — How He Loves (live)
Staind —Right Here (live)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — 21 and Up
Angels & Airwaves — Hallucinations
Taking Back Sunday – Best Places To Be A Mom
Placebo – Bright Lights (live)
Black Cards – Dr. Jekkyl & Mr. Fame
B’z — Home
Surfer Blood – Take it Easy (Live)
Ben Folds – Sleazy
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Starlight (live)
Counting Crows – Colorblind (live)
R.E.M. – Man on the Moon (live from Tokyo)
Talib Kweli – GMB
Plain White T’s — Rhythm Of Love (live)
Elliott Yamin — Self Control
Pendulum – Witchcraft
Patrick Stump – Saturday Night Again
Linkin Park — Ishho Ni

Pretty sweet, right? Click here to download the tracks.

Email/Call a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

More than 100 million sharks are now slaughtered annually to fuel the shark fin soup trade. The soup is non-nutritive, expensive, and doesn’t even taste particularly good (yes, I tried it in China in the 90’s). It is served mostly as a status symbol at Asian weddings, formal functions, and high-end restaurants.

How is this fine soup made?

Shark fins are cut-off the sharks in a process called “finning.” The practice is wasteful, unsustainable and ecologically unsound. Here’s how it works: sharks are caught on long-lines (miles of line floating in the oceans, affixed with hooks and bait), brought to the boat, and have their fins are hacked off. Next, since shark meat isn’t worth as much as shark fins, the mutilated but normally live animals are thrown back in to the water to sink and die.

Sharks cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with mass-production shark finning. In the Atlantic ocean alone, shark populations in many species have decreased more than 90% percent in the last 15 years alone. It’s fucking disgusting.

I wanted to be a marine biologist for nearly 15 years, and if there is two things to remember about sharks, here they are:
– Most sharks don’t attack humans and have no interest in us whatsoever. I’ve dived with hundreds of sharks without incident.
– If you destroy apex predators (predators at the top of the food chain), the rest of the food chain topples soon thereafter.

If the oceans go to hell, so do we. To stick it to the bad guys and help the good guys, here are two five-minute options:

1. Boycott and Publicly Shame Restaurants That Serve Shark Fin Soup

Below is a list of Canadian and US restaurants that still serve shark fin soup. Boycott them, write to them, and — corporations hate bad PR — publicly shame them for inhumanely slaughtering sharks, using blogs, tweets, Facebook, e-mail, or whatever you have:

United States List of restaurant perpetrators
Canada’s list of restaurant perpetrators

2. Join Future Shark Adventures

The University of Miami offers year-round shark expeditions, including weekly tagging trips in the Florida Keys, Great White Shark expeditions in South Africa, and Diving and Tagging tiger shark adventures in the Bahamas. Click here for more information.

If you have other creative ideas on how to promote ocean conservation, please contact Dr. Neil Hammerschalg at nhammerschlag-at-rsmas.miami.edu. To learn more about shark protection, visit these sites:

http://www.wildaid.org
http://www.sharksavers.org
http://www.rjd.miami.edu
http://www.sharktrust.org

Yes, I really love sharks. Here, I tag my first shark off of Miami as part of Summit Series: a beautiful female tiger shark. Truly gorgeous.

Have a fantastic weekend, all. Take the five minutes if you can. It will make you feel incredible, and it will have an impact.

Posted on: April 29, 2011.

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107 comments on “Five Minutes on Friday, Six Minutes on Saturday: Listen to Music, Save Japan; Email a Company, Save 200,000 Sharks

  1. Wow, that is really eye opening and terrible.

    I have no problems with eating animals, but this really is wasteful and pointless.

    P.S. I hope nobody uses that list of restaurants to go try Shark Fin soup.

    Like

  2. Better yet, do these things on a more dedicated scale. You can live comfortably doing something your passionate about, just as you can doing work you hate. You’ve never heard stories until you hear an old man talk about sinking whaling ships.

    Like

  3. Will do for all of these. Can’t believe they throw the sharks back in, terrible.
    What about a piece on the sex/slave trafficking that is so prevalent. I live in Atlanta, the #1 place in u.s. for this.

    Like

  4. Hey Tim,

    Thanks so much for putting this up. You have given a person like myself, who has very little money to contribute (yet who has already) MORE incentive to help. I am the founding member of our room to read chapter in this area, and we really appreciate what you are doing here to help prevent the destruction of ecological diversity – and to continue and foster the sustainability of the japanese people.

    Much love from beaches of North Carolina,
    – Dain

    Like

  5. This is such a horrible practice! Thanks Tim for bringing this up. When I make dinner reservations I now always ask if they serve shark fin (and as I live in Singapore and spend much time working in Shanghai this is often); if they do I tell them I no longer wish to make a reservation and why.

    You should check out Misool Ecoresort in Raja Ampat in Indonesia. Three really visionary people (Andy, Marit and Torbin) have build this amazing dive resort all ecologically out of driftwood at a place that used to be a sharkfinning camp. They leased a large and growing amount of ocean surronding from local tribes and are enforcing a no fishing zone there. After a few years they now have baby sharks swimming around the bay all day long so close you can touch them. This is a fantastic project and everybody who goes to visit there will be blown away.

    Like

  6. I have recently seen the Cove, so I am in …

    Sharks swim around me all the time while surfing and nothing has happened.

    I can’t wait to tackle that list and ridicule some fine eateries!

    Surfs up,

    Like

  7. Definitely downloading the tracks. Great post. It is good to take a second and reflect on the higher-level stuff that is going around us. Especially when a lot of us spend time glued to our computer, building muses, etc.

    Like

  8. Great idea! If even 1% of the people that follow you make an effort, than things will change. Anything more than that and amazing things can happen.

    Thanks for highlighting the shark finning. As an avid diver this is an issue that I have followed for years.

    If for some strange reason you need ideas for other causes, mention genetically modified foods. This is an irresponsible experiment using the general public as guinea pigs. It is not something that we can take back. Responsibletechnology.org has good write ups on the whys and hows.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Like

  9. Tim and all-

    Once again…Well played, sir. 5 minutes…sweet music…helped Japan out a bit. Music is downloading as I type.

    Tomorrow am…off work and makin’ a video for the scholarship. Woot! Watch out…This should be entertaining.

    Best,

    Paul

    Like

  10. Given that you seem to be a shark aficionado, I’m a little surprised you didn’t reference the documentary, “The Cove,” from a couple of years ago. I thought it was a great look into the brutal treatment of sharks in parts of Japan.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jeremiah

    Like

  11. Great job and resources raising awareness on shark finning – a documentary on the subject called Sharkwater may be of interest to some readers as well.

    I was interested to read about the idea of shaming restaurants and others into adopting saner policies. Research on what creates successful social justice actions, including those related to environmental issues, actually suggests that the greatest success rate comes not from public shaming, but from working with people to create win-win solutions.

    When we make people feel like adversaries they become defensive. When we show them a better alternative, and engage them as co-creators of a solution, they may well change not only their actions but their minds.

    This research was conducted by Scott Sherman of the Transformative Action Institute. His idea to apply the scientific method to social change is an inspired one — and he is based in California, so easy to meet up with! Perhaps his work can help make the campaigns to save the oceans more successful — I think it is the most important environmental issue of our day.

    Thanks for the great post!

    Like

  12. Thanks for the info about finning and especially the list of restaurants that serve shark fin soup. I have already emailed the Fat family restaurants (Sacramento CA) and asked them to stop serving shark fin soup.

    Like