Every so often something pops on your feed/tweetdeck/inbox asking for your support, and if it tweaks that nerve of conscience or empathy in you, then you dutifully re-post/re-tweet/forward. But does it really help?
In the case of Hector's and Maui's Dolphins, social media has helped a lot. Insiders say that NZ government has been "feeling the pressure" from the continuous exposure of their poor track record with the protection of these dolphin species. 49994 submissions and a total of 63500 signatures were received by NZ government during the effort at the end of last year. Social media raised the money to send NABU representative Barbara Maas to this year's meeting of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in S. Korea, where the information she presented prompted a strong recommendation urging New Zealand to protect all Maui’s dolphin habitat against harmful fishing methods immediately..
Mainstream media has stood up to take note as well, and a recent press release referencing the expert opinion on the dolphin's current status was printed in newspapers as far and wide as India, Ireland, the Philippines, France, the US, Australia and Kazakhstan. As Maui’s dolphins teeter on the brink of extinction, we are on the cusp of reaching critical mass. But we need to keep the pressure up and grow our community. It might just take one more push. Which is why we're organising a Tweetstorm to herald a boycott of New Zealand seafood on August 8th.
Here's what happens: you do the click/like/tweet/forward-thing with the videos/pictures of Maui's Dolphins (#911MauisDolphins), and for the time being stop eating any NZ fish products: if you're at a restaurant you can ask the waiter where the fish comes from, at the supermarket it should be written on the packaging (of course this will affect businesses that do not fish in the dolphin's territory, which is regrettable, but this kind of commercial collateral is preferable to the by-catch of even a single one of the remaining 50 Maui's Dolphins).
Click this LINK and tweet away. It couldn't be easier. Remember to go through the list from the bottom up and make sure you don't retweet any of the messages from someone else. Otherwise they will not counted as part of the storm.
People regularly ask me, "isn't it too late?" or "shouldn't the remaining dolphins be put in captivity to protect them?" My answer comes from the scientists who have done the decades of research and population modelling: no and no – because there is still sufficient genetic diversity and because all of these dolphins that have ever been held in captivity died. Besides without a safe habitat where would they go and they certainly don’t deserve to be relegated to living museum pieces. With protection across its full territory, the species can recover. Let's show the government and the fishing industry that this is the only adequate policy.