NRL News

You never know what will change hearts and minds

by | Aug 23, 2012





By Dave Andrusko

As is our habit on the weekends, my wife and I were busy driving from one place to another when we heard a story on National Public Radio about plans to protect whales. We love whales as much as the next couple so we listened attentively as the guest explained how more and more whales are killed when struck by the propellers of huge cargo ships–and what is being proposed to be done to reduce the numbers of these fatal collisions.

His particular expertise dealt with equipment that give shippers a fairly close approximation of where the whales were in real time—as opposed to relying on historical data about their routes.

Then a friend forwarded an Associated Press story that ran recently that provided more detail. The AP account outlined a plan by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to reroute shipping traffic and establishing better ways to track whale locations, which includes “establishing a real-time whale monitoring network that would use trained sailors aboard commercial vessels to report when and where they see whales. Once sighted, a warning would be sent to other ship captains, giving them the option to slow down or take a different route.”

These unfortunate occurrences are nothing new as migrating blue, fin, and humpback whales have been lured close to California’s shore by the shrimp-like organisms they eat in massive quantities. So what moved the needle, what pushed concern into action?

“ ‘In 2010 it really struck home when a female blue whale carrying a calf was found dead on the beach,’ said Maria Brown, NOAA’s superintendent for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. ‘And blue whales’ numbers are so small — to lose a female and a new whale coming into the population really sent home the message that we needed to look at the whale strike issue.’”

I won’t belabor the obvious. But this does illustrate an enduring lesson: you just never know what constitutes the “tipping point”– that incidence that clarifies and energizes what was blurry and generated only lethargy.

With respect to our issue, it could be any of a host of possibilities. The lesson for us is that there are a lot of tools in our conversion box and what a given individual will find persuasive will vary.

Just keep gently prodding. Except for those irremediably ensnared in the abortion orthodoxy, there will be a message that will bring home with unmistakably urgency the lesson that they do need to look—or relook—at the abortion issue.

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