Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thanks to everyone who helped make this weekend awesome!

Just got back from an amazing weekend of events down in Southern California for our Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian fundraisers! I'll fill you in the best I can...

After a 30 hour train ride to LA, my friend Tim picked me up in the Healthforce Nutritionals mobile to be my private chauffeur for the events I had planned. The Healthforce van had it all: two beds, a bathroom, a refrigerator a sink and was even powered by Biodiesel!

First off was our screening in Venice on Friday night at an awesome vegan everything store called Eko Zone. Had some delicious vegan donuts, watched "The Cove", discussed the movie and had a pretty energetic and exciting raffle with all kinds of awesome prizes. Band of Mercy and Greenpeace both came out to show their support and wished us well on our trip, which was a huge morale boost! After the event Tim and I camped out in the Healthforce van right where we had parked for the event. Convenient? I think so!

Saturday morning we woke up super early and drove out to Whittier to join in on a demonstration against Pet City, one of LA's most notorious proprietors of puppy-mill dogs. Of the USDA's 12 worst puppy-mills in the country, Pet City buys from 4 of them! Boycott Pet City is leading an awesome campaign against these stores - get involved!

Later that day we were still feeling a bit sleepy, so Tim and I drove down to the beach in the van and had ourselves a nice nap a couple feet from the sand. Slept for about an hour and a half listening to the waves, the ocean breeze, the sea gulls and the occasional person saying "What mountain is that?!" referring to the giant Healthforce decal that wraps the van. It was incredibly relaxing, and when we awoke we had a lovely raw dinner consisting of tomatoes, cilantro, lettuce and snap peas while we watched a beautiful sunset. It was moments like these that really make a day great, and we both took note of that before we left.

That evening we drove down to San Diego to see our friends in From The Depths play a show, and to also promote the screening event I had planned the next night at the same venue. Watched one of the most passionate and inspiring performances I've seen in a very long time, and were able to share stories and ideas with a lot of like-minded people. It was great to have so much support for the Cove Guardian campaign and be able to make an announcement over the PA about the screening the next night. That night we stayed at the famous "punk mansion" with our dear friend Carly, where I was awarded the "princess bed" all to myself. It was delightful!

Sunday morning we awoke relatively early (some of us rose earlier than others, I'm not naming names) and headed out to Ocean Beach to have breakfast at the People's co-op. For those not in the know, People's is an all vegetarian organic grocery store with a vegan deli upstairs. By far one of my favorite places in California to eat at, and within walking distance of Sunset Cliffs - my favorite cliff jumping spot.

After breakfast we headed out to Casa Cove, a man-made beach that has been adopted as a birthing ground for dozens of harbor seals. There is a battle going on a the beach at the moment, a handful of people are disputing the seals right to have the beach to nurse their pups during their breeding season. Though it's not illegal for people to stay on the beach, the city has put a rope up discouraging people from walking down onto the sand. Taking a general poll around the cove every time we're there, the vast majority of people are interested in seeing the seals return and ensuring that we provide them a safe and comfortable place to rest and look after their young. A small group of people do not want to see that happen, and they've made a point of camping out on the beach in the middle of the sand to scare away any seals that attempt to swim up. These 3 men are not only apathetic to the still-births of the seal mothers who are unable to rest on the sandy shore (and the dead seal pups that have washed ashore), but also refuse to move from the beach on the grounds that it's "their" beach and they won't share it with anyone. Though it should be noted that at least 2 of these men don't even live in the community where Casa Cove is located. All of them have exhibited bullying and aggressive behavior in the past towards the pro-seal campaigners that line the sides of the cove, one incident even escalating to one of them assaulting and tackling a young woman to the ground. We decided that the bullying was over, so Tim, Carly and myself confronted them on the beach with our cameras and demanded answers for their behavior, and informed them that as long as they were putting the lives of seals (and humyns) in danger that we would be there to confront them. After some squabbles and many a-photo-taking of their vacant expressions, one of them had enough and left. The other 2 would not let their frisbee game be disturbed by our debate, so we organized the hundred or so people surrounding the cove to chant "WE WANT SEALS!" and "SHAME! SHAME! SHAME ON YOU!". The police soon arrived and informed the anti-seal "activists" that they were on the verge of being cited for inciting a riot and needed to do whatever it took to deescalate the situation. We left that day with tourists and locals all around us screaming at the men to leave, and felt satisfied that if they weren't embarrassed or ashamed, they were definitely afraid of the angry crowd. Get involved with Casa Cove up for the lives of threatened seals!

We finished of our day with our San Diego screening of The Cove at one of my favorite venues of all time, The Che Cafe. Not a huge turnout, but still had some great conversations with people. Jane Cartmill from San Diego Animal Advocates came out and talk a lot about Sea World and how the captive dolphin trade plays into the slaughter that happens in Taiji, Japan. Had another awesome and rowdy raffle, at some delicious gluten-free and vegan cupcakes and passed out a ton of literature to people.

In the end, we made around $450 and also made some really amazing friends and allies. Healthforce supplied us with some awesome supplements for our trip abroad, and it's great to have the support of such a great company. 100% vegan, raw, 'truganic' vitamins and supplements. Every time I start my day with Vitamineral Green I feel like animal abusers don't want to mess with me. No joke! Thank you to everyone that has helped us out this weekend!! It was truly an inspiring and morale boosting trip. A couple more events like these and we'll be ready for anything!

Love always,
Mike XVX

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