Beyond the Dolphin Smile
My name is Ella Van Cleave, I'm 14 years old, and I am an activist from Tennessee growing up in western Canada. Living in Tennessee we made our fair share of frequent road trips down to Florida, and it was there where my love for the oceans really started to flourish. Today, that love is even stronger. However, I now find myself fighting everyday for the world I love most. No longer is the ocean merely my playground. I fear for a place that I once found sanctuary, a place where I felt at home. I’m slowly watching our oceans die, and I can tell you right now I will not go down without a fight.
During the summer of 2010, a friend introduced me to a documentary entitled “The Cove” (2009). This documentary is focused on a single bay of water off the coast of the infamous dolphin-hunting city of Taiji, Japan. Although I had heard about this issue before, I hadn’t really looked into it much. After finally watching 'The Cove' my world was turned upside down, and I am now on a full-speed-ahead mad dash to show the world what’s truly happening in Japan. In October 2010 I published this website. I turned to the internet as my first outlet because I knew that anyone in the world could hear my message. Now, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be a keynote speaker at The Change Conference in Victoria, BC alongside the likes of Jonnie and Duncan Penn from MTV’s “The Buried Life”, and beyond that I’ve been able to fly across the country to speak at the national Environmental Education and Communications (EECOM) conference held at the University of Regina and will be speaking at a TEDx event hosted in Victoria, BC in November 2011.
You don't wake up knowing your going to be an activist, sometimes it just happens. I've always known that animals would be a part of my life in some form, but the rest just seemed to fall into place. Really, it's about finding your passion. For me to realize the ocean would be my area of focus, it took but a mere sentence from a complete stranger; "I've never seen someone so comfortable in the ocean". I'm sure our snorkeling tour guide never contemplated the affect his words would have on this teenage tourist, but I guess no one ever really does. Just like the individual who said "I'm laughing my ass off at this idiotic child" didn't realize his words would only make me stronger, more determined.
They say you haven't truly lived until you've found something worth dying for. If that's true, I guess you could say I'm well on my way to living. The fight's on.
Just keep swimming,