Mini Rodini’s Founder Cassandra Rhodin and Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd, join forces for an important message to our kids: Our oceans are dying! Leave its residents alone!
Paul Watson is a Canadian-American conservation and environmental activist, who at ten years old realized that his life’s purpose was to protect animals and has been doing so for 60 years. Paul is the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation activism.
Their actions are much needed. The situation of the ocean wildlife is critical and is getting worse by the minute. One out of three fish stocks is overfished. Hundreds of thousands of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles are captured each year, along with tens of millions of sharks. Half of all coral reefs and mangroves are gone...
You have been an activist for all your life. Has it been any personal cost for you, did you sacrifice a lot for this conviction? No personal cost, just personal consequences. In 2012 Japan put me on Interpol's red notice list and requested my arrest on conspiracy charges stemming from a 2010 incident involving Sea Shepherd’s campaign to stop Japan’s illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. Normally this list is reserved for serial killers, drug traffickers and hard core criminals, I'm the only person on the list for a charge of trespassing. It has made things somewhat difficult in terms of travelling - and done to harass me - but at the end of the day I have been doing exactly what I wanted to devote my life to. Today Sea Shepherd is a global movement, we have a crew of 200 people working on all oceans and supporters all over the world. For this I'm very happy!
What is Sea Shepherd's biggest achievement so far? Significantly, I think it is that Sea Shepherd has created a global movement. But results wise, we have prevented the slaughter of thousands of whales, confiscated millions of meters of driftnet, protected countless sea turtle nests, cleaned up beaches in remote areas, and together with governments on the African coast, arrested illegal poachers and helped free people working as slave labour on illegal poaching and fishing vessels. We have also been very passionate about documenting what we do to get the message out there and inspire people to get involved. At the end of the day each and every one of us can be part of changing the world, just find out your passion and go for it.
The most important mission now? To continue what we do and also work closely with governments in Africa, outside Colombia and Mexico. To assist and help them protect and watch over vulnerable marine areas that are being attacked by illegal poachers and fishing vessels. And continue to act, inform and spread awareness that we need to save our oceans in order to survive climate change.
You work with interventions and actions at the sea. Why a co-lab with Mini Rodini? I think there are many synergies with Sea Shepherd and Mini Rodini. Cassandra Rhodin, founder of Mini Rodini, is not afraid to take a stand for things she believes in, and that is very refreshing and inspiring and in line with Sea Shepherd. When I speak about diversity, for me it's about bringing artists, organisations, companies and people together that want to create change. Mini Rodini works with kids products, we love the brand and for us it is an amazing opportunity to get our message out to everyone who loves Mini Rodini. Also Mini Rodini is devoted to creating a product with as small an impact as possible on people and the planet. The only way going forward as a consumer is to buy less, but better.
Both you and Cassandra are vegan. Why did you decide to become one? If you are going to say things that rock the boat for some people it's important to also be true in action. 65 billion animals every year are killed and it's not credible to say you are a true environmentalist devoting your life to protect nature and the ocean if you eat meat or fish. In 1979 I made the decision that our ship was only serving vegetarian food and in 1999 all Sea Shepherd ships became vegan. You don't have to be a vegan to work and volunteer for Sea Shepherd, but during the time you are onboard our ships you have to in order to set an example. Surprisingly many keep the vegan diet as a part of their lifestyle afterwards. For me, being a vegan is the only option.
What can people do to save sea turtles and our oceans? First of all it is to think and reflect over your own lifestyle. Think about the source of the food you eat, where your clothes are sourced and how they are produced and educate yourself on what is going on in the oceans and with climate change. Then try to get involved in whatever way you can. Sea Shepherd has many different ways of contributing, you can volunteer for our global campaigns at sea but you can also donate funds for our direct action campaigns or get involved with Sea Shepherd locally.
Mini Rodini has through the years done charity co-labs to support the non-profit organisations Sea Shepherd, Wildhood Foundation and Yo Galgo. Money has been donated to help save ocean wildlife, the African elephant and the Spanish Galgo dog. Here, Founder and Creative Director Cassandra Rhodin explains why she is driven by her personal engagement on environmental issues and animal welfare, which has led to Mini Rodinis’ charity work.
Why did you start to make charity collections?
Animals can't stand up for themselves so people need to do it! 70 % of the species are already wiped out in just 50 years. And humans are to blame. The charities we support do such amazing work and I want to use our platform to spread awareness and inform so more people know about it.
How do you decide which charities to support? The ones that are true to their cause, don’t have big administrative costs but rather work with action. This inspires me! I like charities that aren't afraid to take a stand, are a bit rebellious and don't compromise on their beliefs.
Why a co-lab with Sea Shepherd? I love Sea Shepherd and used to watch Whale Wars a lot on Animal Planet many years ago. How can you not want to support an organisation that is so passionate that they are defending animals at the risk of their own lives!
You were in Italy with Sea Shepherd to photograph the campaign, what was it like to meet the crew? The Mediterranean is the most overfished sea in the world and basically all species are over exploited. In just a few hours they rescued 2 turtles, one that had mistaken plastic for food and couldn’t swim and one that was an absolute mess, a boat motor had trashed it apart. They were the lucky ones, when animals get stuck in driftnets they have no chance to make it on their own. There were also 5 dead turtles on the same day. I learned that there are an estimated 700 000 km of industrial and abandoned fishing lines in the Mediterranian and countless of unreported drift nets. Sea turtles have lived here for more than 100 million years and now 6 out of 7 species are threatened or endangered. And that is just the turtles.
Mini Rodini is known for brand vales such as unisex clothes, great quality, diversity, and responible production. What can people do to get involved in the big environmental question of climate change The food industry is right now the biggest threat to our planet and humanity. People can shift to a plant-based diet and eat less marine life. Do what you can and every little action makes a difference. The clothing industry is also a dirty business, buy less and only support companies that are making a change right now, not the ones that have a future goal to do it.
Are you on a plant based diet? If yes, why? I eat plant based but occasionally I eat vegetarian. I went vegetarian when I was 9 years old and over the past few years I have gradually shifted to a more plant based diet. I just think it is very disgusting to eat parts of a body and industrial meat is nothing but cruel. Eating fish causes more harm than good, the fish is full of toxic heavy metals, PCBS, dioxins and pesticides, it is a misconception that fish is good for our health. And the source for Omega 3 is in the algaes that the fish eat so people should really leave the fish off the plate and go straight to the source. With that said, parts of my family and best friends eat meat and I love them anyway :-) Just wish they would stop.
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction. From the gentle giants of the sea to its smallest creatures, Sea Shepherd’s mission is to protect all marine life species living in our oceans. Their work has defended whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, penguins, turtles, fish, krill and aquatic birds from poaching, non-sustainable fishing, habitat destruction, and exploitive captivity.
20 % of the price of each item sold from the collection will be donated to Sea Shepherd to support their mission to defend, conserve and protect our oceans.