Monday, March 12, 2012

Hardy Jones

Cinema Verde was honored to show Hardy Jones' "The Dolphin Defender," a documentary he made for the PBS series Nature, which premiered in 2005. It includes footage of remarkable dolphin encounters over the yeas of his career in the oceans. It's a memoir of how he became involved with these animals, which he now calls "non-human people."

Having him there to tell about his experiences was amazing. He's a literal as well as an intellectual and spiritual giant, towering over me and Trish Riley, festival organizer. He thoughtfully crouched down to get a better picture.

He has a new book, The Voice of the Dolphins, a memoir of three decades spent dedicated to these non-humans. His education brought him to a news reporting job at CBS television, grounding him in journalism and giving him the photographic and video skills that he would use later to document these critters. He follows his heart to work toward saving them and, with them, the oceans and all of us.

He brings horrible abuses such as Japanese dolphin hunts to world attention. His own health, first suffering from mercury poisoning due to his diet of swordfish and tuna, then multiple myeloma, with its relationship to toxic chemicals. He makes the connections to toxic chemical concentration in marine mammals and the increasing incidence of multiple myeloma and other diseases in them.

It's an emotionally wrenching book. The film was, too, with the unavoidable footage of dolphin and whale killings, but redeemed by the wonderful accounts of his experiences and interactions with dolphins. Some become old friends.

He formed BlueVoice to advocate for the oceans and their cetacean and other marine mammal residents.

Julia Whitty, to whom he was married for 14 years, reviews the book for Mother Jones. She's MJ's environmental correspondent.

It was a privilege to meet him and acquire a copy of his book from him personally. He's an environmental prophet, calling to us from ocean outposts. May his work inspire the action needed to protect the dolphins, their ocean home and, ultimately, ourselves.

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