Monday, September 17, 2012
Kids Ask, "Why Do People Kill So Many Sharks?"
Today I talked to 6th graders at Berwick Academy about sharks and why they need our help. We started to talk about finning and one girl raised her hand. “ Why do people kill so many sharks?” This is an excellent question. The answer changes dynamically depending on where in the world you are, but money, greed and fear are my top answers. Yes, people kill sharks to eat them, but for the most part shark populations are being decimated because of money and greed. A single whale shark fin can sell for $15,000 US. It provides no nutritional value, is environmentally detrimental and really serves no purpose at all. The fishermen that spend months at sea in terrible conditions do not see those millions. A limited few reap the, “benefits,” of the shark slaughter. It boggles my mind that the money and power of so few can impact so many.
I always remind the kids that they have a voice. It is hard to think at the age of 11 or 12 that you can say or do a lot that will have an impact, but it does. Kids have a connection to the world and access to the tools to save it. They can influence their parents purchasing power, educate other adults around them and then in turn make their own choices as they grow up.
If I try to convince a 40 year old fisherman that slaughtering a shark just for its jaws is wrong, I might get a hostile response decorated with some colorful expressions. If his son or daughter asks him why he does it or asks him to stop, then he might actually think about the situation. Kids are powerful and their voices are heard.
This group is lucky because their science teacher, my mom, will discuss sharks throughout the year. She will be able to share her own experiences because she has been to Australia to tag tiger sharks. How awesome is that? My mom’s passion for the ocean is infectious and I wish that more kids could have a teacher like her!
I wish I could visit classrooms every week because it is a constant reminder of hope and inspiration.
Thanks to Berwick Academy for opening up your classrooms and making a difference. Thanks to my mom, Mrs. Morris, for being an amazing role model and shark lover!