Children cry for an end to whaling
Story and photo by Terra Sword
When Vistara Primary School student Tahlia Staines presented her essay Saving Sea Life to her classmates recently, school administrator Rukminii Athans said a wave of compassion swept through the school.
The Year 6 students segment on whaling struck a chord with the students, who decided it was time they did something about it. And as these kids will tell you, if you want to get a political message across, go straight to the top.
The whole school was enthused and made a massive poster complete with origami whales and slogans such as Please dont kill them. They also wrote a letter and everyone drew an A4 poster expressing their outrage at whaling all of which they have bundled up and are sending to the Japanese Prime Minister this week.
Tahlia, whos 11 (but turning 12 in May), won a $60 PSA (personal achievement scholarship) from the school for her inspirational essay and immediately donated the money to Greenpeace so they could continue their work intercepting Japanese whaling boats in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
It wouldnt make sense for me to get this money for standing up for what I believe in and then spend it on something else, Tahlia said. The Japanese whalers are killing innocent animals for not a very good reason and I think thats wrong. Greenpeace are stopping the whaling boats and I think thats the right thing to do.
I believe hurting those animals is bad and the way they are harpooning them they are not just killing them instantly, they are suffering. Its horrible.
Rukminii said some issues resonated deeply with children and years ago Vistara students wrote to the French government, criticising the nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll, a practice that was later abandoned due to worldwide condemnation.
Part of the schools philosophy is life is precious and the students felt really strongly about this, so we wanted to help them channel that passion, Rukminii said. We encouraged them to find a pathway to be pro-active and that way they dont feel helpless. A childs voice is pure and uncomplicated and hard to ignore. They are appealing to the human being behind the decision.
The Japanese whalers are killing innocent animals for not a very good reason and I think thats wrong - Tahlia Staines, 11