The quest to end whaling is at the heart of the international environmental movement. In recent years, the efforts of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society against Japanese “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic have shown that this issue is still very much alive. Inspired by this conflict, two Stanford undergraduates traveled to Norway, a country that resumed commercial whaling after a brief hiatus in the 1980s. Arriving in Sandefjord, Norway with only a camera and two registration cards for the “3rd International Symposium on Whaling and History,” they endeavored to open a dialogue with an ostracized whaling community that has grown bitter to critics as a result of the “whale wars.” During their two months in Norway, they interviewed the heads of Greenpeace Norway, the Norwegian Fisheries Ministry, and the Norwegian Whalers Union, among others. Gradually, their focus evolved from a more scientific point of view (“Is Norwegian whaling sustainable?”), to a deeply philosophical query (“What is really driving Norway to continue the hunt?”). In doing so, the filmmakers found that all parties—whalers and non-whalers alike—claim to champion the tenets of environmentalism. Indeed, they discovered a world where sustainability, environmentalism, and conservation do not mean the same thing, and where those terms are not as purely scientific as they are intensely political.

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