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Ironically I read A Line in The Sand while at sea on a recent expedition for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society of which I am the founder and President. Although it is largely a work of fiction I found the environmental issues covered in the novel ranging from international whaling to widespread pollution both comprehensive and factually accurate. I was reminded of Edward Abbey's classic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. Unfortunately the environmental issues facing the planet at the time of that novel's publication have increased at an exponential rate.
I was impressed with the passion and enthusiasm portrayed by the characters depicted in the novel and while the issues covered in the story are serious and should be of great public concern I found the novel to be suspenseful and entertaining.
I believe as I mentioned in an article I had once written titled, "Lights, Camera, Ocean" that the best way to engage the populace and use the power of public opinion is through the media, specifically the entertainment field.
I have always felt that the majority of people are greatly concerned about the environmental issues that are taking place in the world's oceans. The problem is that they have not been adequately informed or have been mislead about the seriousness of the issue. It is this lack of widespread public information delivered on a regular basis that has created an atmosphere of apathy and acceptance.
Knowledge is not power, action is power but to take action one must know that a problem exists and the problem must be presented to the public in a way that they can feel and that they can relate to their own lives. Not an abstract idea like global warming but a tangible everyday need such as clean air and water for their families and a future for their children.
A Line in The Sand clearly illustrates on a widespread scale numerous issues confronting the world today, issues many people mistakenly believe have already been resolved such as the killing of baby seals in northern Canada, international whaling, and the continued ongoing slaughter of dolphins caught in fishing nets. Every year the cumulative amount of oil spilled into the world's oceans, lakes, rivers, and bays dwarfs the Exxon Valdez disaster in scale, yet we hear very little in the media about what amounts to a global crisis. It is only when a super-tanker runs aground in a pristine wilderness area or off the coast of a California community that the nightly news shows interest.
I found the novel to be well balanced and it presented not just the problems but some solutions as well. It illustrated projects currently underway by many international corporations and governments to treat the harmful byproducts of their production such as bio-remediation, for treating sewage, the increase in fish farming, and natural ways of dealing with oil spills such as oil eating microbes.
Today more people get their information from Entertainment Tonight and Instyle magazine than from the nightly news and the line between serious journalism and entertainment becomes increasingly blurry. Celebrities and entertainers are the spokespeople and role models for today's youth and many are assuming a role as leaders in the fight to protect the future of this planet.
It is the groundswell of public opinion that originally halted the slaughter of baby seals, initiated a ban on whaling and created dolphin safe fishing. And I have found that overall, people will fight to protect their most important heritage and their God given rights once important issues and injustices have been brought to light.
Novels such as A Line in The Sand continue to shine a spotlight on important issues and by doing so in an entertaining way engage a portion of the populace that otherwise might not have been made aware.
As the character Lionfish in the novel says, "The problems facing the world's inhabitants today are culturally universal. The environmental issues depicted in the novel are not just for the so-called tree huggers and the save the whale people. No matter whether you are an industrialist, an artist, a banker, or a logger, you have to care whether you can trust the water you drink, the food you eat, and the air you breathe."
I found A Line in The Sand inspiring and provocative while not being too self righteous or condescending, and while the novel could be viewed as a platform on which to educate, it was also extremely entertaining.
—Captain Paul Watson, Co-founder of Greenpeace and President and founder of the Sea Sheperd Conservation Society