John Wathen and Robert Kennedy Jr, ‘The Waterkeepers’

John Wathen is the real deal. One of the few men anywhere who are willing to actually stand up for what they believe in and then go out on a precarious limb to do something about it.

From his profile:

“Very passionate about clean water, air, and not destroying the Grandmother Earth. Musician, Photographer, both scenic and evidence, Special love for my wife and Grandkids. 3 kids and a life I chose and cherish to lead in protection of THEIR future resource… Earth.
What is Humanity thinking when we consume our habitat?”

Does it get any cooler than that?

Alabama environmentalist John Wathen has the best footage of the BP Gulf spill and it’s devastation and has been featured on CNN and MSNBC. Keith Olbermann had the chutzpah to have him on recently and the man is as they say ‘the salt of the earth’. Well, he is at least a little salty from his work.

Mr Wathen is a compelling character. He is working on behalf of the ‘Waterkeeper Alliance’ an umbrella organization in which Mr Wathen is an honored member, and acts as a ‘Hurricane Creekkeeper’ in the Gulf Region.

From Wiki:
“The Waterkeeper Alliance have been part of the first line of defense during the BP Gulf oil disaster recovery. The Gulfwaterkeepers on scene are FL: Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Emerald Coastkeeper. AL: Mobile Baykeeper, LA: Louisiana Bayoukeeper and Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. Also working to clean up the ocean waters and beaches are volunteers, marine biologists, environmental advocates, and members of each of the coastal communities who have been affected. They created Save Our Gulf website to coordinate the efforts of Gulf Waterkeepers who are fighting to protect the Gulf Coast.”

‘Waterkeeper Alliance’ is Robert Kennedy Jr’s baby and it is involved in all facets of American water habitat conservation and environmental law, especially focused on local and grassroots issues. The parent group ‘Riverkeepers’ started back in ’66. After Bobby got on board as their attorney in the mid 80’s it was able to get more exposure and credibility and is now 191 organizations strong with ‘Waterkeepers’ like John Whathen all across the country.

The website:

Of course John Wathen is involved with Bobby Jr, they are as good as it gets. The real American heroes that keep getting swept under the rug by our corporate media. Bobby Jr has been at the front of many important environmental issues in the last twenty years. He was one of the lead investigators into the link between ‘thirmesol’, the mercury containing-preservative and it’s connections to Autism. Bobby broke the story in Rolling Stone and the evidence is very strong that there is at least some connection as well as a bit of a cover-up between the medi-pharma industry and the government.

And then we have the Dolphins bellying up dead in the oily-soaked waters of the Gulf. Whales struggling to wade through the sludge.

I swam and canoed with these dolphins in the Gulf back in the day and let me tell you, they are the ‘salt of the ocean’. There is an intelligent sweetness to Dolphins which makes them one of the most endearing (and hopefully enduring) creatures on the planet.

They are so incredibly special that it is hard to put into words. They are the epitome of the beauty and power of the water. Sculpted out of the majesty of the ocean’s soul, these ‘Silver Surfers’ of the deep are deeply spiritual beings. I believe that dolphins are the only other mammals that surf.

From Wiki:

“Dolphins are social, living in pods of up to a dozen individuals. In places with a high abundance of food, pods can merge temporarily, forming a superpod; such groupings may exceed 1,000 dolphins. Individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles and other vocalizations. They make ultrasonic sounds for echolocation. Membership in pods is not rigid; interchange is common. However, dolphins can establish strong social bonds. Dolphins will stay with injured or ill individuals, even helping them to breathe by bringing them to the surface if needed.[22] This altruism does not appear to be limited to their own species however. The dolphin Moko in New Zealand has been observed guiding a female Pygmy Sperm Whale together with her calf out of shallow water where they had stranded several times. They have also been seen protecting swimmers from sharks by swimming circles around the swimmers or charging the sharks to make them go away.

Dolphins also display culture, something long believed to be unique to humans (and possibly other primate species). In May 2005, a discovery in Australia found Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) teaching their young to use tools. They cover their snouts with sponges to protect them while foraging. This knowledge is mostly transferred by mothers to daughters, unlike simian primates, where knowledge is generally passed on to both sexes. Using sponges as mouth protection is a learned behavior. Another learned behavior was discovered among river dolphins in Brazil, where some male dolphins use weeds and sticks as part of a sexual display.”

And dolphins have been used in many therapeutic modalities, especially of late with autistic children. And maybe they are trying to tell us something about the dangers of polluting our bloodstreams and how it relates to the pollution of our actual streams and waterways. Bobby Jr and John Wathen seem to realize these connections and I think that is what makes them act so fearlessly.

Yes maybe more dolphins and whales will be killed due to the cruel practices of much of the fishing industry than the BP disaster, but this is totally unnecessary and egregious and is just one more thing to be devastated by.

We seem to have become a toxic society. Our kids are being overstimulated and over-medicated and we stand idly by for the most part, while our lives and our oceans, rivers and streams are allowed to be polluted and misused.

I am in my forties and I remember a time when you could swim in the local river or lake. Now you are very lucky if your local water area is swimmable. And this is not due to the lack of hard work and struggle by people like John Wathen, but to our own apathy and ignorance.

Now we see the entire eco-system might be sick, hence ‘climate change’. The Earth has a fever which may be low grade, but the sweats and spasms of Mother Earth just might be enough to shake the very foundation of our inhumane modern culture.

Until we all demand that our physical and emotional environments be protected, that our children’s lives and future are not to be sold, or bartered to the highest bidder, we will all suffer the malaise of a lost and wounded soul.

Go here for a great piece from a cool cat from Alabama for some details of the video and all things Gulf.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tsisageya
    Aug 19, 2010 @ 14:33:02

    I agree completely. He’s a real hero.


  2. alina
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 13:52:11

    He is wonderful. We’re so lucky to have him. His work is funded by Friends of Hurricane Creek, which allows him to focus his energies on waterkeeping and state environmental efforts. We would love it if you joined us!

    Our new websites has details (it goes “live” to the other domain name in a few weeks but our accounts are already there). Help us. We are fighting the worst bypass plan you can imagine.


  3. Warren Frogley
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 18:17:25

    Hi, we are producing a report for Greenpeace New Zealand who hosted John Wathen on the topic of the Deepwater Horizon spill. We’d dearly love to use the pic above with your permission in a small credit to him and how he inspired New Zealander’s to protest against deep sea drilling. Your soonest response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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