Thursday, 15 November 2012

Of Meeting and Greeting

At the Sea Shepherd induction for new volunteers which we ran last night I had to introduce myself. No difficulties with that, these were all people meeting me for the first time so I was able to talk about who I am - and they were able to talk about who they were - without that being any kind of a test or competition between us.

I love the meet and greet part of any event but I especially love our Sea Shepherd induction where we ask people to tell us why they want to be part of our ocean conservation family.

Take a look at this pic, it really is worth a thousand words to explain why so many of us are so very proud to be involved.

This morning I received my routine spam mail from Friends Reunited (do people still use that or am I just getting mail from an automated spam machine that hasn't been switched off yet?) inviting me to update my profile. Now that is more of a problem. I know who I am. I am more than happy to share that with new friends but I am not convinced my old friends would recognise me, even less would they understand me.

You see, when I tell people "who I am" what I am really describing to new people is "what I do" yet for people who knew me, "away back then" I am describing what I have become and that, again, can only be explained as, "what I do." The problem with that is, because they already have assumptions for how I will have turned out, and because they can have no other frame of reference for how I got to the "who I am" now from the "who I was" when they were part of my inner circle, it would be so much easier to explain if they were actually strangers. The who I was really is a stranger to me now anyway.

There are probably fewer than a dozen people who really know me beyond "what I do" and you could count on the proverbial, "fingers of one hand" how many people on this planet I would trust with all of the "who I am," especially if my vulnerabilities are included. You may even be able to count that one on the finger of one finger...

Pilot Whale, wild and free where it should be
Picture credit: Rory Moore / Barcroft Media
There's no sinister aspect to that, it's just that the things which motivate me are often very personal in nature, often caused by bitter experience which has neither present nor future relevance but which has nevertheless shaped the person I have become.

Other motivations are much more positive in nature and, as long as I am motivated towards positive results, then how I get there in the end probably doesn't matter. After all, the whales don't care that I do what I do for Sea Shepherd because someone like Paul Watson or Peter Hammarstedt inspired me to greater efforts, they just care that someone is doing something other than cause them harm.

In time I hope you will all get a real good feel for what I do from these blogs, some of you may even start to get a real good feel for who I am.

For now let me describe what I do in the same terms as I used at that induction last night:

I, as would any other Sea Shepherd Onshore Volunteer, do whatever I must to enable Paul and all his other Ships Captains and crew do whatever they need to do in order to defend ocean wildlife wherever and whenever it is threatened. That includes being willing to volunteer myself for active campaign duty and you will read much more about that in the very near future.

Someone who I know is doing just that is my best friend Anna who will be going to Taiji in the very near future. I have blogged about Anna before but for our new readers please take the time to read her amazing story here: Anna's Taiji Campaign

As Marine Mammal Medics, both of us know what it feels like to physically save the life of a whale, now we need to do what we can to prevent the deliberate deaths of others. Please follow this blog to find out how we get on.

Thank you for reading and I am very pleased to meet you.