by Brandy D. Anderson
They say the beating heart of the Earth is found within the oceans. Maintaining a healthy ocean, and ensuring all sea creatures are safe, is crucial for saving our world. Luckily, we have a few brave warriors out there helping to raise public awareness while actively protecting the sea. These three conservationist accounts are all doing a tremendous job of securing our future by working against the clock to preserve our oceans and their inhabitants.
About: “Biologist, shark lover, activist & documentary filmmaker. Help me save the world’s last sharks in my new film #Sharkwater Extinction through my Indiegogo.”
Canadian filmmaker, photographer, and marine conservationist Rob Stewart is the most amazing friend to sharks around the world. His documentary, Sharkwater, which won more than forty awards, reveals the often misunderstood majesty of these underwater creatures. Award winning Revolution is his follow-up film, and he is currently working on a new film titled Sharkwater Extinction. Stewart’s Twitter cover photo is a promotional poster for Extinction: “Every year 150 million sharks go missing. Where they end up will shock you.”
Stewart loves to share interesting and educational posts about sharks, with cool factoids which help to debunk the monster myth that so often surrounds them. His most recent post features a gorgeous photo of a Mako shark and an article about their incredible speed; Stewart adds, “Tagged mako #shark breaks the travel distance record! These are the species we need to protect. #savesharks”. Another tweet reads, “Starting #2017 off right! Rhode Island becomes the 11th state to make the selling #shark fins a crime” [sic].
There are posts which remind consumers to ensure that their cosmetics and lotions don’t contain shark biproducts (squalene). He also tweets articles from talks and presentations he gives, like the December 2016′s ocean conservation fundraiser, Ocean Gala: “You’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine than to be killed by a shark”- Rob Stewart”. You’ll also find some retweets about his work: “Michael Pennington: If you care bout oceans, sharks, environment, climate change, mankind & humanity, watch Revolution. Vimeo.com @teamsharkwater”.
*At the time of writing this article, Rob Stewart has gone missing off the Florida Keys, on February 1 – his family have taken over his account and are tweeting for help in search and rescue efforts, with information for volunteers*
About: “Dedicated to the Welfare & Protection of Dolphins Worldwide Since Earth Day 1970. 501(c)3 @RichardOBarry#TheCove”
Ric O’Barry is the founder of non-profit organisation Dolphin Project. A former captive dolphin trainer himself, O’Barry knows the tragedies of animal captivity more than just about anyone else. According to the Dolphin Project website, “he worked for 10 years within the dolphin captivity industry, and has spent the past 45 working against it”. He has devoted his life to helping dolphins through direct action and public education. O’Barry’s groundbreaking documentary, The Cove, has started a world-wide discussion on the cruelty of dolphin captivity.
The most recent tweet offers followers a chance to “Swim with wild dolphins in 360 virtual reality. Narrated by @iansomerhalder. Hop onto our Facebook page to enjoy! #FreedomFriday #DolphinProject”. Another tweet asks, “Does your company sponsor a matching gift program for charitable donations? Learn more: buff.ly/2kLeLGJ #DolphinProject”. There are a lot of updates on Taiji – for those who don’t know, Taiji is a whaling town in Japan infamous for its roundup, capture, and slaughter of dolphins sold for captivity and toxic meat. Dolphin Project has volunteers stationed there to record the dolphin captures and slaughters.
When dolphins are killed it’s known as a “red cove day” and when no dolphins are caught, it’s a “blue cove day”. Tweets reflect which day it is, like this recent report: “Taiji: After two days of red cove, it is blue here! Fleet is in and tucked away. Hoping for more blue. #dolphinproject”. Another recent tweet chronicles the sad fate of “Taiji: Majestic Risso’s dolphin pod traveling close to Taiji – faced hunters and all perished! #DolphinProject”.
About: “Sea Shepherd Global is a non-profit marine conservation organisation committed to DEFEND, CONSERVE and PROTECT the world’s oceans.”
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a non-profit organisation focused on protecting marine life. They are probably most famous for their direct action tactics in opposing the commercial seal hunt in Eastern Canada and stopping Japanese whaling ships from illegally hunting whales. Sea Shepherd is founded by Canadian conservationist, and former Greenpeace co-founder, Paul Watson. Watson’s book Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy, and his second book, Ocean Warrior, focus on direct action conservationism. Sea Shepherd has become more a household name over the last few years with their Animal Planet series Whale Wars.
You’ll find loads of marine facts on this twitter account, such as this one: “It’s a question we’ve all asked…but now we know why #Whales leap into the air: hakaimagazine.com/article-short/… #HumpbackWhale”: “After hundreds of hours of observations, we now know it’s true: breaching humpback whales are yelling…” They chronicle the devastation human littering can cause to ocean creatures: “From @MailOnline, A #Whale is found dead with more than 30 PLASTIC BAGS in its stomach: dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ar… #MarineDebris #APlasticOcean”.
There are tweets about their current ocean campaigns as well: “You can still support Katie and the rest of the #OpNemesis crew by donating direct to: seashepherdglobal.org/nemesis #PoachersBeware”. Another tweet tells you about “#PaddlingForFreedom in aid of @seashepherd_uk’s #Seal defence fund: freedompaddle.co.uk #SeaShepherd”.