Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has long encouraged the idea that it is individual initiatives and individuals passionately championing causes that makes a difference in our world.
The Sea Shepherd ships have been a training deck to encourage people that they have the power to make a difference. For example, it was Sea Shepherd crewmember Alex Pacheco who co-founded PETA.
Just before the last Sea Shepherd voyage to Antarctica, Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson had the pleasure of meeting a young woman in Byron Bay named Skye Bortoli. 15-year-old Syke is planning on becoming a marine biologist and wants to dedicate herself to ocean ecology.
At the Byron Bay event, she stated her immediate ambition which was to raise funds to attend this year's meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Anchorage, Alaska. Her mission is to represent teens from Australia opposed to the killing of whales. Skye shared the podium with Captain Watson in a presentation for the whales. Captain Watson was deeply impressed by the knowledge this young woman had about whales and the issues involved in protecting them, and even more impressed with her passion for wanting to protect them.
At the Byron Event: Pro Surfer Dave Rastovich, Captain Paul Watson,
Skye Bortoli, whale activist/artist Howie Cooke,
and Sea Shepherd International Director Jonny Vasic
Skye and her friends have raised more than AUD$13,000, and three of them are present at the IWC meetings to lend their voices to efforts to save the whales. Joining Skye at the IWC meetings is 17-year-old Ayesha Future who is currently studying to obtain her captain's license to enable her to directly defend whales in the future. Skye's sister Caitlyn Frerk, who is 8-years-old, is also accompanying her sister on the long trip to Alaska to speak for the whales.
Caitlyn Frerk, Ayesha Future, Captain Watson and Skye Bortoli
The three girls have collected over 30,000 signatures on petitions from Australians opposed to whaling. They have their own website, MySpace page, their own group Teens Against Whaling, and they are producing their own newsletter.
Sea Shepherd thinks these three dynamic young women will make their view known to the delegates to the IWC, and because of that, the future of whale conservation is looking more optimistic.
Check them out at: www.teensagainstwhaling.com