What Is Cetology?

Cetology is the study of cetaceans–whales and dolphins.

Whales were hunted mercilessly in the 18th and 19th centuries for  meat and the oil contained in their blubber. Among its uses, whale oil was used for lighting lamps. Whaling ships like the Pequod depicted in Melville’s Moby Dick sailed the seas in a search for energy.

The seas and the whales who swam them were powerful forces of nature, which could easily overwhelm human beings at that time. Captain Ahab, as Melville portrayed him in Moby Dick, pursued a monomaniacal quest to kill the whale in revenge for wounding him. In attempting to subdue the whale–that is, Nature and its mysterious and impersonal forces–Ahab is destroyed.

Now many species of whales are endangered.

After 250 years of the Industrial Revolution, the pursuit of a different form of energy, fossil fuels, threatens to disrupt the climate. The monomaniacal pursuit of energy sources and commodification of nature for profit may destroy us.

We have the means to transition to renewable forms of energy, such as wind, solar and hydropower, but fossil fuel industries are determined to suck the last remaining drops of oil and gas from the earth for profit.

This website, Cetology, is about the desperate last grab for fossil fuels by corporations by extreme extraction: hydraulic fracking, tar sands mining and drilling in the Arctic.

Our mission is also about solutions–how we can steer the ship away from its present course. We can’t rely on our leaders–who have known about the reality of global warming for 25 years but failed to take action–to be responsible. There is a mutiny aboard the Pequod.

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