May 10, 2008
Past Event Report by Kurt Lieber, Sea Shepherd Board of Directors
It had been 2 years since the last WorldFest, and I was really looking forward to this event. Sea Shepherd usually gets a lot of interest at our booth, and we had a LOT to talk about this year. With the recent success of the Antarctic Whale Defense campaign and the Canadian Seal Defense campaign, we were eager to enlist new members and inform others about the ways that Sea Shepherd works throughout the world, documenting and interfering with the illegal and immoral slaughter of wildlife on the high seas.
The booth was set up by Colin Biroc and Jen Lyons. Colin is a veteran crewmember and has been our champion tabler here in Southern California for many years. They were assisted by Jim Lieber, Greg Hager and myself. Greg just got back from Canada, where he was the ship's photographer on the recent seal campaign. The whole crew was detained, the Farley was confiscated, and Captain Alex Cornelissen and First Officer Peter Hammarstadt were arrested. Colin and Greg treated people to first hand accounts of their experiences on the ice, while protecting helpless seal pups from the heartless seal killers.
All 5 of us were busy talking with people throughout the day. We made a lot of good contacts, got about 10 new members and sold a lot of t-shirts. It was a very busy day and the rewards were palpable. One of the nicest aspects of doing outreach is seeing the enthusiasm that people get when they learn that there is a group that actually does real actions to stop the killing of innocent animals.
One teenager came up to the booth and had never heard of us, he came back at least 4 times, each time with someone new; his father, his mother, his friend. He was too young to crew, but wanted to know what he could do, so I gave him a copy of EarthForce to read. It is a great book about strategy, and how to empower yourself to do something for the planet. I have a good feeling that we will be seeing him again.
It is interactions like this that make outreach so rewarding. For the most part, people want to know what they can do to help the environment, but with so many organizations out there that do nothing but take in donations and hardly do anything.....well Sea Shepherd stands above them all. This is the greatest organization in the world. There is no one out there doing what we do to save the oceans from human greed and indifference.
Thanks go out to all the staff of WorldFest, and I sure hope it is not 2 years until the next one. There were a lot of organizations represented here: Humane Society, Harp Seals.org, Orange County People for Animals (OCPA), In Defense of Animals, FARM, several dog and cat adoption agencies to name but a few. One of my favorites was savethechimp.org, a chimpanzee rescue organization from Florida. They take in chimps that were used in medical experiments and give them loving care and a huge open space to live out the rest of their lives.
Thanks to all of you who stopped by our booth, to all who volunteered and Colin and Jen who have mastered the art of car packing. Keep spreading the word, and let's save the oceans while there is still something to save.
Can't wait to do it again next year!
The Main Stage at WorldFest
Southern California Outreach Coordinator Colin Biroc discusses
Captain Watsons comprehensive book, Seal Wars
Greg Hager discusses his experiences as a crew member on the Farley Mowat during
Sea Shepherd's recent Seal Defense campaign in Eastern Canada
Jim Lieber and Jen Lyons answer questions at the Sea Shepherd booth
Sea Shepherd board member Kurt Lieber talks about Sea Shepherd's ongoing campaign to
defend the baby harp seals in Eastern Canada
All photos courtesy Greg Hager