What is an Activist?
Yesterday, my mom got an email from Terry Corr, the Head of Education for AfriOceans Conservation Alliance (AOCA). Terry asked if I would become an ambassador for AOCA. He said that he shared my website and my message to Lesley Rochat, Shark Warrior (and my hero) with hundreds of kids. That made me feel so great.
My mom said that I am an Activist. We talked a lot about it means. I looked on the AOCA website and found this definition: AfriOceans believes in moving from AWARENESS into ACTION in order to save our oceans. We are the Voice of our Oceans and we do not sit on the fence when taking a position on important issues which threaten our oceans. We depend upon the support of the general public, other NPOs and the scientific community to succeed in our lobbying efforts.
I think it is little things that make a difference. To be an activist is to care enough to act. Every little bit helps. Please don't think what you do doesn't matter. It does.
If there is one change you can make, try not to use plastic bags. They really hurt our oceans and especially sea turtles. The bags float and they don't go away. Turtles can't tell the difference between a plastic bag and a jellyfish. The eat the bag and it gets stuck in their throat. They choke and die.
The pollution from plastic is so bad. Please remember to bring a (non plastic) shopping bag with you. You can be an activist too and help save our oceans and save our planet.
The Internet is so cool. I was able to email my hero, Lesley Rochat, Shark Warrior. She emailed me back and now I am even more excited about my dream to save our oceans and all the marine life.
Lesley has helped me realize that yes, I am an Ocean Warrior. You can be too. Here's some of her email to me. I hope it will inspire you.
Thank you so much for a lovely email, the kind words and support of the work I do. I am traveling at the moment, hence the delay in replying - I was in the Cocos Islands, an underwater treasure land, diving with all sorts of sharks and then I visited the Whale sharks of Cancun, Mexico, the beautiful gentle giants. I am on my way home now, back to South Africa and writing to you while in transit at the Atlanta airport.
I receive a lot of emails about my work but yours is especially special to me, not only because you love sharks and the oceans like I do, but because it is knowing that young people like you are out there, people who will, and are making a very big difference. Our oceans need young people like you. I truly believe you hold immense power which we as adults do not, since after all it is us, our generation as well as the ones before us, that have messed up our beautiful planet, leaving it to the next generation to save. Your passion will inspire change, always remember that. Passion is contagious and people will stand up and take notice, and when the passionate people keep at it, eventually it leads to change. Just be patient, have faith, and when the going gets tough, which it often will in a world that generally lacks compassion for the beautiful animals we share the planet with, keep believing in your calling, you are brave and strong, a true Ocean Warrior, a fellow Shark Warrior.
In South Africa I run a youth programme called the AfriOceans Warriors – take a look at it on the website of the organisation I founded, AfriOceans, the link is below. There is also a short video on my SharkAmbassador Youtube link.
I took a look at your website and blog – well done! It is excellent and I am delighted to be included and to be one of the people that inspires you. And yes, it will be great to meet one day, it will be my pleasure. I will be returning to the States in November to dive with the sharks of the Bahamas again...perhaps on one of my trips we can connect, that would be nice.
Wishing you lots of only the best young Shark Warrior :-)
Shark Warrior - Shark Hero.
Today I got an email reply from Lesley Rochat. She is known as the Shark Warrior. She is so amazing. She is the one who makes me want to keep going with my ideas about saving sharks. I want to educate everyone about the harm we are doing to sharks. Shark fining is killing so many sharks. Lesley has made a lot of films and videos about sharks.
To me, Lesley is one of the coolest people on this planet. She is my inspiration and when I hear from her, I know that I am an Ocean Warrior and a Shark Warrior too! I can't wait to meet her in person.
At Cool Clicks, I like to share amazing videos. I hope you'll learn a lot about why we need to protect sharks. They help keep the balance of our ecosystem.
AfriOceans: http://www.aoca.org.za | Lesley: http://www.lesleyrochat.com
‘Sharks in Deep Trouble’:
‘Rethink the shark’
And ‘Rethink the Predator’
People who inspire me
With the supervision of my parents, I get to use a MacBook to do research on the Web about my passion for saving the oceans. I've learned about some amazing people. There are a few I really want to tell you about. One amazing lady who is my inspiration is Lesley Rochat. She loves sharks and the oceans so much. She is a Shark Warrior and Marine Conservationist. How kewl is that? Seriously. I want to be a Marine Zoologist and Conservationist when I grow up.
On my Home page, I have some Cool Clicks about "Rethinking the Shark". I'm so stoked that I found these videos. Lesley is an incredible photographer too. She dives and takes the best photos.
Then there is Surfer Kelly Slater. His home is the ocean. He is serious about saving it. I'm glad that there are awesome people in the world who want to do what I do --- save our oceans!
Cool Click on Kelly's video. My mom loves to surf and I get to watch her. She thinks Kelly rocks too.
Even movie stars like Ted Danson are into saving the oceans and being an ocean hero. Cool Click here to see them talk about taking the Oceana pledge. Ted narrates this great video that talks about what's happening to our oceans because of pollution and overfishing.
Oceana is a great organization. To learn more, Cool Click here. I still support The National Geographic Society, but Oceana is the perfect organization for me as it is all about helping saving the oceans!
I'm inspired by all these great people and when I feel sad about the harm done to our oceans and marine life, I watch my Cool Click videos and know that I'm not alone. I know there are others like me who want to make a difference.
On October, I'm flying to New York City with my family. When we are there, we are going to do a family 5km run on Coney Island's boardwalk to raise money as part of Team "Save Our Oceans". This is my family's team name. We are running in the NY Aquarium fun run to help raise money for the walruses and other ocean animals. It is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society and it is called Run for the Wild.
I am so excited about this run. It will be my first 5 km race. I think I might dress up. I've seen lots of photos of people in costumes and dressed as Ninja Turtles or other other cool ocean animals.
I hope to raise $125.00 and my family hopes we will raise $500.00
Every little bit helps. We can all make a difference if we believe we can!
Did you know:
1. There are only 20 baby walruses born in aquariums in the U.S.A.
2. There have only been 15 baby walrus births in the past 31 years.
3. When they are born they weigh around 120 pounds
4. The water they swim in needs to be very cold..around 44 degrees F as they are arctic animals.
5. They love snow and like to make walrus snow angels
Check out this cool click for walruses in the New York Aquarium.
Remembering my Earth Day Bake Sale
Earth Day is always a big day for me and for my family. This year we held a neighbourhood Bake Sale in support of saving the oceans and saving our planet through my Save the Shark Club (STS) group of school friends. We wanted to help people not be afraid of sharks. Many are not dangerous at all, but so many people have watched Hollywood movies that make sharks seem so scary. They aren't!
We baked and planned and made posters. We did fundraising at our school and met as an S.T.S. club to think of ways we could help everyone know about endangered ocean animals and why we need to save our oceans. We raised $250.00 for the National Geographic Society's Oceans Initiative. It was a wonderful day and I think people understand a bit more about sharks now.
Did you know:
1. Sharks hate the taste of humans
2. There are more squirrel attacks than shark attacks
3. Sharks have been around longer than dinosaurs - for over 400 million years!
4. The largest and second largest sharks (whale and the basking shark) are harmless plankton eaters.
When my family was in Kauai this March, we were so lucky to get really close to a Monk Seal on Poipu Beach. We took this photo of the Monk Seal we saw there. They are so special and they are very endangered. There are only 1200 Monk Seals left. They live along Hawaiian coral reefs and on Hawaiian shores where they sleep a lot.
Monk Seal Pups are born on beaches and nurse for six weeks. Pups are born with a black coat. Breeding happens in August and December. 8 out of 10 pups die before the age of 2 because they don't get enough food. They like to eat Teleosts (bony fish), Cephalopods and Crustaceans.
The National Geographic Society's website teaches me tons about these seals. In a YouTube video I've added here, you can see that so many monks get caught in nets that are caught in coral reefs. Monk Seals are super curious and they get tangled in the nets. It is so sad and it breaks my heart to see the harm we are causing with bad fishing practices.
Getting ready for Ignite Charity
With my mom just back from San Francisco, which is by the Pacific Ocean, I'm really ready to start working on my presentation for Ignite Charity. This is a super kewl new event. It is where people get to talk for five minutes about a charity they are passionate about. My passion is the ocean and saving all the amazing animals that live in it!
My mom does lots of presentations, so she is going to help me get ready for mine. I make Keynote presentations all the time as something for my Save the Shark Club and fundraising for Oceana.
This presentation will be different. I have to talk in front of lots of people and my slides will change every 20 seconds. My mom says she will help me with a 'Plan B', but I don't need it. I love the oceans so much and want to share my message with the world.
Thank you for this chance, Ignite Charity. You rock!!!
"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry." ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732