Star Shepherd – The Force is With Us!
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Over the last two weeks, Sea Shepherd crews in Germany and Great Britain received a terrific boost in support from the forces of science fiction.
From April 28th to May 1st the Sea Shepherd Germany booth at Fedcon in Dusseldorf attracted thousands of Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate and Firefly fans from around the world. And from May 6th to 8th, the fans of Star Gate came together in Birmingham, England for the Chevron 7.6 Convention.
At FedCon, amidst the hundreds of costumed storm troopers, Jedi knights, blue skinned Avatar girls, and assorted aliens from across the galaxy, were literally hundreds of people wearing the skull and crossbones shirts of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Thanks to the support and the efforts of Paul Brown, Dirk Bartholomä, Jason Joiner, Mark Woollard and Massive Events and Richard Dean Anderson, Sea Shepherd has been invited and involved in the annual conventions of science fiction fans for the last few years.
At first this might seem like a strange alliance, a merging of reality with fiction, but I have found throughout the various science fiction series played out on screen and television that there is always an underlying theme of ecological concern and the recognition that we have a responsibility to protect life and diversity on our planet.
And there is the fascination when sci-fi fan visitors to the Sea Shepherd booth realize that the ships they see on the video screen are actually real and the confrontations at sea are also very real. And there are philosophical similarities between the Jedi knights and the Sea Shepherd whale warriors, a root ethic of respect for life and ecological harmony.
And like Star Trek, Sea Shepherd has a prime directive that we will not harm any life in the pursuit of our objective of defending life in our seas.
Actually our association with science fiction goes many years back. As a co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation, I, along with Bob Hunter and Rod Marining, used the word Foundation as a tribute to Isaac Asimov’s famous Foundation Trilogy. And for those who have read the Foundation books, they can see the ironic emergence of the Second Foundation and how it is similar to the evolution of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
In the 1972 bookThe Sheep Look Up author John Brunner predicted the emergence of activist environmental groups and even used the skull and crossbones as the logo for his group, the Trainites, in their struggle against pollution and the destruction of bio-diversity.
Going further back the message of mankind’s destructive exploitation of the seas was predicted way in advance with the 1869 publication of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne with Captain Nemoas the misanthropic defender of the oceans.
At FedCon, Sea Shepherd recruited none other than Marina Sirtis and her husband rock guitarist Michael Lamper. Michael will be soon crewing on a Sea Shepherd campaign and Marina who plays the role of Commander Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation is the second famous Star Trek cast member to become a Sea Shepherd supporter.
The first was none other than Captain James Tiberius Kirk himself, William Shatner, who has been a Sea Shepherd supporter for nearly two decades.
Before FedCon ended we were approached by a third former Star Trek cast member giving us his support. This was Garrett Wang who played Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek Voyager.
Dirk Bartholomä has invited Sea Shepherd back to Germany next year for FedCon and we will of course be continuing our unique relationship with Paul Brown, Richard Dean Anderson and the Star Gate fans from around the world.
Star Gate gave us the wonderful opportunity to meet with four additional Star Gate cast members who helped us considerably in making the Chevron 7.6 event a great fund raising success for Sea Shepherd. Thanks to Dan Shea, (Master Sergeant Sly Siler) TerylRothery, (Dr. Janet Frasier) Gary Jones, (Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman) and FulvioCecere (Colonel Davidson).
The two events raised a tidy amount for Sea Shepherd with auctions, donations and merchandise sales. We have not yet gotten a final tally but the proceeds will help considerably for our summer campaigns to protect tuna in the Mediterranean and pilot whales in the North Sea.
For the FedCon event in Dusseldorf I would like to thank Chuck Swift, Maddy Madison, Helmut Trieb, Henry Boekhoff, Steven Szelag, Carl Goreczko, Tim Aldermann, Tommy Soelle, Manuel Abraas, Patrick Smeets and Julius Berrien . A very special thanks to Sven Hansen from Creativ Workshop who supplied us with the picture wall and the flags, banners, tables and to HeinoNölke who provided the plasma screen and traverse system for the booth.
For the Chevron 7.6 event in Birmingham I would like to thank the following volunteers for manning the tables and representing Sea Shepherd: Jason Joiner, Dale Bowie, Kate Smith, Dan Beeden, Kyle Russell, Christopher Bie, and Lex Rigby. A big thankyou to Darren Collis for spear-heading this successful campaign. A very special thank you to Laura Dakin, Sea Shepherd’s highest ranking ship’s cook who took time out to come to Birmingham to lend a hand. Volunteers working off-site for Sea Shepherd for this event were Robert Read, Maurice Brennock, Kristin Nilsson and Mark Sanders-Barwick.
Thank you also to my assistant Lauren Greasley for the Dusseldorf event. Thanks to Brigitte Scheffer for coordinating media and a very special thanks to Laurens De Groot for coordinating our movements to all three events.
Between the two sci-fi events, we launched Sea Shepherd Belgium and for that I would like to thank Anne van Ingelgem, Koen Roumieux, Filip Ools, and Wim Desmedt. A very special thank you to Tom Waes for recording a single hit, writing such a positive article, doing the media rounds and MCing the Belgium event.
It has been a busy and productive few weeks, and while some of us were working to raise the funds for our ship, the Steve Irwin completed the transit of the Indian Ocean, eluded Somali pirates, transited the Suez Canal and is now in the Mediterranean headed for Southern France. The Gojira completed the passage from Madeira to Southern France and the Bob Barker spent the time undergoing maintenance in the drydocks in New South Wales in Australia.