We humans are weird when it comes to animals, as pointed out in Hal Herzog’s recent book, "Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat." If that book piqued your interest in our strange relationship with animals, a new environmental nonprofit might interest you, too. World Animal Awareness Society (WA2S) seeks to encourage greater human awareness by filming human-animal interactions.
“This is not an animal rights initiative, but an animal awareness one,” says Tom McPhee, director of WA2S, in a statement on the nonprofit’s website. WA2S’ work in documenting human-animal interactions in the Gulf Coast after the BP spill has already been making news. Here’s McPhee talking about the nonprofit’s work in the Gulf on ABC 7:
WA2S plans to produce 1,000 hours of footage this year, capturing human-animal events on film to be shared both as documentaries and as raw footage to educational institutions. And to achieve this goal, WA2S held a masquerade ball fundraiser last weekend at the Woodland Hills estate of Ady Gil, the entertainment industry executive who financed the anti-whaling boat of the same name that was featured in "Whale Wars" before sinking after a collision with a Japanese whaling ship.
Of course, while WA2S may be more about animal awareness than animal rights, animal rights activists made up a big portion of the party crowd. Many came costumed as their favorite animals — and enjoyed an all-vegan buffet with mac and vegan cheese, raw kale salad, and vegan pizzas from Pizza Fusion.
In addition to the eating, drinking and dancing, were some serious moments. McPhee stressed the need to spend time “looking back at ourselves, taking the most powerful educational tool we have, the moving image.” And during a break in the merrymaking, McPhee and other filmmakers shared their goals and some of the footage captured so far for WA2S.
McPhee says he’s reaching out to a wide variety of organizations to work together; the WA2S website lists partners ranging from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. Want to make eco-films? Whether professionals or amateurs, filmmakers and volunteers are encouraged to get involved with WA2S’ work through the nonprofit's website.