Letter: Regarding PMMC and “Who Speaks for the Sea Mammals?”


The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has been in the news a lot lately. We all read about its wonderful co-founder, John Cunningham, as he was recently remembered by a grateful community. And in Tom Osborne’s recent Green Light column “Who Speaks for the Sea Mammals?” he points out that on a recent tour of the Center he was “amazed that this one small facility performed so many functions.” Miracles are performed daily by a dedicated staff, caring volunteers and talented specialists. And, thanks be to the generous donors that help keep the doors open and the lights on. We are all grateful and so fortunate to have this amazing facility right here in our midst.

Tom’s columns are always a joy to read and this one went straight to the heart. When he looked into the eyes of an ailing seal he saw himself and questioned, “What we’re doing to them, are we not doing to ourselves?” There are many examples of “cause and effect” one takes with them after a visit to the Center. In Jonathan Light’s recent letter, one of his biggest take aways revealed that we are the ones most responsible for the worst damage caused to the sick and injured animals mainly due to the human caused climate crisis and pollution. Our own neglect, inaction and greed causes much of the suffering in which we all share. And now to add another, tragic, human created disaster, the oil spill off our shores will undoubtedly bring even more patients to the Center in upcoming days and weeks. How many more disasters do we have to endure before we wake up, take action, and do the right thing for all the species of planet Earth?

Yet, I was struck by Melissa Waters’ optimistic comment when she emphasized the Center’s involvement in research and education and how it will “hopefully improve the marine animals’ lives… and our own as well.”
As a long time educator, I was lucky enough to take my young students to the Center many times. Their programs were always grade level appropriate and highly impactful. Slide shows, realia, role play, as well as visiting the sick and injured animals really made a lasting impression I know they will never forget! The students learned so much about the marine animals and how to better take care of the environment. I always tried to impress upon them that they would be the future problem solvers helping to correct many of our human caused past mistakes. That’s the point, isn’t it?

Solving our planet’s big problems and improving the lives of all of Earth’s precious species starts with education and the PMMC is an amazing resource and a great place to start. Thank you for the many, remarkable things you do and for the lives you save and change! During this time of crisis, let’s all try to step up to help support this treasured facility.

Deb Young, Laguna Beach

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