Watch the recording of our chat with Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia

There’s not much more important to our collective wellbeing than the health of the oceans. Jeff and Joel sat down to talk about the work Sea Shepherd is doing to protect marine life and the environment–and how your Cliniko subscription is making a difference! Here's the replay and what they covered.

Michelle Geslewitz·

Jeff Hansen & Joel Friedlaender talking about all things Sea Shepherd! (The chat starts around 2:20)

From the start, we’ve had a commitment to donate a minimum of 2% of the subscription payments we receive to charity every month. Earlier this year, we proudly started including Sea Shepherd Australia in the donations.

We chose Sea Shepherd Australia because of its enormous impact on protecting marine habitats and wildlife worldwide. The people behind this organisation achieve an incredible amount of good with few resources—as of writing this post, Sea Shepherd only has 12 full or part-time paid staff working in Australia. Most work is undertaken by volunteers. Yet, it has challenged and won against Big Oil, national governments, poachers, pirates, and more, to conserve the oceans for future generations of humans and wildlife alike.

Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, kindly offered to talk to us about pretty much anything we wanted to know, including how our donations have been used so far. Of course, we jumped at the chance for a live Q&A!

Jeff's story is inspiring and humbling. During the chat, he explained how he got into his current line of work from a background in engineering, Sea Shepherd’s current priorities, and shared his advice on what we as individuals can do to help make a difference for our planet.

The chat covers Jeff’s take on some of the biggest environmental challenges we face today. If you could use a dose of hope, it’s well worth a listen.

Facts we learned from Jeff:

  • Though we often hear about the rainforest’s role in creating oxygen in our atmosphere, up to two-thirds of the oxygen on Earth is produced in the ocean by phytoplankton.
  • Up to 40% of fish and marine fauna “catch” comes from illegal fishing.
  • Illegal fishing is associated with slavery, with reports of people held against their will at sea for up to five years.
  • Since Sea Shepherd was founded in 1977 by Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson, no injuries have been caused to others or suffered by Sea Shepherd’s crew on their sea missions despite the dangers of their work.
  • Often, Sea Shepherd crew have nothing but their camera footage to help them fight back against human abuse and excess, and they still win huge gains for ocean conservation.

What kind of work does Sea Shepherd do?

Sea Shepherd is arguably most famous for confrontations with whaling ships, and Jeff told us about one of his earliest missions as a volunteer, which helped save 500 minke whales from Japanese poachers through direct action.

To this day, Sea Shepherd will intervene against illegal poaching activity. But Jeff explained that while individual interventions may get attention from the media, the organisation is fully committed to its longer-term goals and getting tangible results.

Sea Shepherd's main areas of focus now are tackling illegal fishing, fighting climate change, protecting endangered species, and reducing plastic pollution through hands-on projects, such as documenting environmental damage, cleaning up polluted sites, and partnering with governments for legislative change.

All of Sea Shepherd’s projects aim to address at least one of those focus areas.

What projects have Cliniko’s donations supported?

We’re proud to have donated AUD 75k to Sea Shepherd so far and have no intention of stopping there! Our funds directly contributed to a recent expedition on the M/Y Steve Irwin to the Great Australian Bight, as part of an ongoing project to show the region’s beauty and raise global awareness of its importance to the ecological health of South Australia’s coast.

Major global oil and gas companies, like BP, have repeatedly shown an interest in exploiting resources in the area, and Sea Shepherd Australia has worked continuously since 2016 to stop them.

The Great Australian Bight is home to many endangered and rare species, some of which do not exist anywhere else on Earth. An accidental oil spill caused by drilling would be devastating for the region.

Jeff pointed out that he doesn’t just see the ongoing protection of the Bight as Sea Shepherd’s victory. In his eyes, it belongs to everyone who contributes–including you, through your subscription fees!

(See the answer to this question in full at 41:18 in the recording)

What’s the best way to make a difference to the oceans and planet?

Jeff explained that there is a lot we can do as consumers and volunteers to make a difference in the world around us. He suggested supporting local businesses, adopting a plant-based diet, and getting involved with a local charity or group...or even starting your own.

A lot of work remains to be done, and it can be empowering to find your own authentic path by doing what you care about, through a few hours of regular volunteering or donating to a cause that matters to you.

There’s a seemingly constant stream of negative news about climate change and the state of the world. The best way to alleviate related anxiety is to get involved yourself by taking the steps above and finding your passion. You’ll get back 10x what you give.

Learn more about Sea Shepherd

Author information

Michelle was born in Chicago and now lives in Leamington Spa, UK. She currently helps with growth marketing for Cliniko, working with Kate to look after paid marketing channels, content and more.

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