Love Your Choices

September 21, 2010
Try Making the Act of Giving Back a Part of Your Life

Jeremy Burkhardt (jburkhardt@speaker is president of SpeakerCraft in Riverside, California.

My passions are the most important part of my existence. From listening to music to creating new products, from time with my son and time spent in meditation, to backing various charities and mentoring kids, I live a life filled with amazing experiences and great relationships.

I love my choices everyday, and if I don’t, then I just change what I am doing to make the next day even better.

Giving back is something that I think everyone should do. Being a capitalist is a lonely business, but when you give back it makes a change that you can’t just measure in dollars.

A Cause That I Care About Deeply
Recently I have taken an aggressive position in the effort to save the incredible creatures that populate the world’s oceans. I became a vegetarian after watching Food, Inc. and The Cove, movies that both had me in tears. I am now involved in the campaign to end the illegal slaughter of whales and dolphins by Japanese whaling fleets in the southern oceans, having become a vocal and financial supporter of Captain Paul Watson and his team at Sea Shepherd. You may be familiar with Watson’s efforts as they have been documented on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. This successful series and Oscar-winning documentary, The Cove, have shone a light on how crazy some people can be in regards to illegal activities, like the underground slaughter of helpless animals for their meat. Many are standing up to Japan, in this case, which I believe has blood on its hands as a result of this horrible practice.

Our Oceans, Our Survival
In a recent conversation with Captain Watson we discussed the plight of the whales and other endangered species. It’s a fact that our oceans and life in them is essential to human survival. Even if this effort were merely a matter of self-preservation for mankind, it would be important. But it is even more than that. These incredible living beings are beautiful in their simplicity and have every right to share this planet in peace and harmony with humans.

Greed is Not Good
As with most of man’s decisions, greed is the motivation for illegal harpooning, slaughter, and potential extinction of whales, dolphins, and bluefin tuna. I was offered whale meat as a delicacy in Japan, once, and I said, “No thanks.” I wish, now, that I would have stood up and made a scene about it, but I wasn’t educated to how whales are hunted and killed against international law by Japanese gangsters.

The economics of extinction are easily understood. A perfect example is the four-year supply of bluefin tuna that is warehoused in Japan today by a division of Mitsubishi. The goal, I’ve heard, is to amass a 15-year supply of this species of fish that will multiply exponentially in value as they become more rare, or worse, completely extinct. We are talking about a multi-billion-dollar return on investment.

When asked about the methods employed by his Sea Shepherd organization Captain Paul Watson is very direct, “We are protecting species from poachers who are hunting in a sanctuary,” he said.

Sea Shepherd’s Methods
Sea Shepherd is an interventionist group attempting to locate and interfere with whaling operations wherever possible. They believe in an aggressive, yet non-violent, approach as they put themselves in harm’s way.

They literally place themselves between the harpoon and the target. “It’s not a matter of whether or not the whaler’s activities are illegal. That is a matter of fact,” Watson told me. “We are simply attempting to enforce international laws that are already in place.”

When I look at our industry, the industry that I have chosen for my livelihood, I believe we provide a positive service for our fellow man. We fill homes with beautiful music, creating a more pleasant atmosphere for those who live there. We create a portal for news, information, and entertainment that creates enjoyment for all who choose to partake of it. But, I want to do more.

I applaud those people within these countries who are already putting pressure on their governments to cease all illegal whaling and fishing practices. I also ask for your help. We all have passions and causes that we want to support. How you gauge the value is up to you. But if we all just work to make the world better for our kids than it is now, we have done something worthwhile.

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