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Shipping Companies Slow Down to Save Whales

18 Feb 2014

Making news recently, various freight shipping companies have agreed to slow down when traveling off the coast of New Zealand. This is because there is an endangered breed of whales taking up residence in those waters.

For six years there has been a movement to encourage shipping companies to take extra precautions so the population of Bryde’s whales that live there can be spared. Now the shipping companies have agreed to post whale lookouts, slow down in designated areas, and make sure to stick to designated routes in those waters. Although it has taken some time for these changes to happen, it can be pointed out that the protocols are voluntary and have been agreed upon by companies that don’t need to answer to any stringent regulatory bodies. Given that, it goes to show that companies such as these can take honorable actions when the message is organized and the solutions are not overly burdensome.

In addition, the shipping companies have agreed to pay for further studies to map the migration of whales and study them more extensively.

This is evidence that companies such as these can be persuaded to take moderate steps toward conscientious decisions. Conscientious decisions based on nothing other than the innate desire to do the right thing. Much of this can be based on playing to people’s logic and sticking with reasonable solutions that do not have to become overly aggressive or judgmental. If one side does not paint the other as murderers, soulless corporations, or intractable and unrealistic animal advocates, but rather as average businesses and concerned environmentalists, then practical discussions and debates can take place, and these can lead to reasonable solutions.

We can look to these developments as an example of companies becoming environmentalists. They don’t have to be two completely separate and divergent things. This isn’t to say that shipping companies or any companies will completely turn into altruistic, compassionate entities that give no concern to profits. This merely means that moderate discussions can result in moderate solutions that make a difference. In this case, shipping companies will spend a little extra money to save a few whales and, ultimately, they can feel better about themselves and their place in the world landscape. They can tell themselves they did the right thing, and they probably will take advantage of this by advertising it on their website. That is fine. Let them have their moment.