Welcome to our "Ocean Passion Series" where we are interviewing ordinary people doing extraordinary actions for the ocean. We believe learning from others can help our own life become more engaged and inspired. This week our guest is Jools Farrell from Australia!
Good day mate! Thank you for joining us today. Can you tell us about yourself and where you are in the world ?
My name is Jools and I am an ER/Cardiothoracic Nurse of 40+ years. I live in Avalon Beach, Sydney, Australia and I have a passion for the ocean and the environment. I love getting out into my garden and spending time with our dog Miss Tessa, going on walks to the beach and to the dog park. I have been with my wonderful and very supportive husband, Mark for 27yrs.
Wow a nurse of over 40 years! That in itself we thank you for your service to helping people. So you say you have passion for the ocean and the environment, can you tell us how long have you known your passion for the ocean and can you remember that day or situation that brought it to the surface?
Since I was a very young child I have always loved the ocean, the bush and all animals, I believe my passion for the ocean came about when I started nursing back in 1972. The hospital I trained at was right on the ocean and during all my breaks I would always go down to the beach and just sit and chill out. Working in ER can be extremely stressful and upsetting but as soon as I was on the beach just watching the ocean, all the stress just drained out of me. Also when Sea Shepherd started in 1977 I thought that is for me.
The power of the ocean's visuals, sounds, and breeze can calm all. Just like a love story Jools. Now we know you're passionate about the ocean, so please tell us a bit of what you have you done or do to give back and help the ocean?
I belong to three ocean related Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
I joined Sea Shepherd in 2008 and I was one of the original Sea Shepherd Sydney Chapter members when there was only 4 members. I was asked to be the coordinator of the chapter in 2010 when I accepted graciously. I have done numerous transit voyages on the MV Bob Barker and the MV Sam Simon. I also have set up the hospital room on both the both of the ships too. I was also one of the original crew members when SSCS purchased the MV Sam Simon.
I have completed 2 ocean campaigns with Sea Shepherd Global. My first was Operation Zero Tolerance in 2012-2013 as the ship’s medical officer and quartermaster on the MV Sam Simon. My last campaign was Operation Siracusa on the MV Sam Simon also as the quartermaster and the ship’s medical officer. The campaign was a combined awareness and direct action campaign where we went from Bremen, Germany to Antwerp, Cannes, La Spezia and the to Siracusa, Sicily to help the authorities patrol the marine parks which were being illegally poached for the Dusky Grouper and Sea Urchins.
I do a lot of public speaking about Sea Shepherd Global and also speak in schools to raise awareness about the oceans and her creatures. I also let people know what Sea Shepherd is all about as awareness is definitely the key especially with the school children. I enjoy this so very much as the kids are awesome and they ask some amazing questions! They are the future and they need and want to know how they can help.
Living Ocean is an NGO based on the northern beaches of Sydney where I live. We do beach clean ups and I also do whale research with them recording whale behaviour on the Northern and Southern Humpback & Minke migration from Antarctica to Queensland. We recently had a huge win because of our research! A Perth based gas company were wanting to do Seismic testing right in the middle of the whale migration which would have been devastating for not only the whales but all the marine creatures who inhabit this area. This makes me so very proud to have been a part of this WIN! I also do school talks for Living Ocean as well.
ORRCA is an NGO where we run a hotline service 24/7 for whales, dolphins, seals and dugongs which are entangled or have beached themselves. I work the hotline twice weekly and also help with rescues and monitoring seals such as the Leopard Seals & Fur Seals. They sometimes haul themselves out on beaches for a rest or are unwell at times and I can spend all day on a beach monitoring these seals.
Everyday on my walks with our dog Tessa, I am always picking up plastics and rubbish which careless people leave lying around. I do this to stop it from being washed into the ocean or entangling land based creatures as well.
Well.... You have us stopped in our tracks Jools! We are wondering how you work as an ER nurse, go on ocean campaigns, speak at schools, monitor seals, and do beach clean ups! Do you have a twin!! This is wholeheartedly incredible to say the least! This is OCEAN PASSION FEVER for sure! Tell us how this passion of yours for the ocean changed your thinking and your life besides keeping you extremely busy?
Due to my involvement with ocean related NGO’s, I do not eat any seafood at all as it is not sustainable and sadly we are raping and pillaging the ocean. The ocean is very sick and needs help! Also the marine creatures are losing their only food source due to humans hunger for seafood. I avoid plastic as much as I can and I'm pushing to make Avalon Beach plastic bag free. Whenever I go shopping I am always reading labels to see what is in the products I purchase such as palm oil. I do a lot of travel in regards to going on campaigns and also my public speaking and school talks.
Yes the massive ships taking an unsustainable amount of lives are killing that habitat with once through using a extremely large net. These practices are selfish and an act of ownership. The palm oil is another destructive ingredient that is in almost everything people buy these days. Where palm oil plantations are causing the burning destruction of rain-forests which destroys the homes of many animals like the orangutan. Those 2 are definitely great changes you have adopted into your life Jools and we know you will get that plastic bag ban! You have told us so many incredible and brilliant changes that have happened in your life so tell us were some of these changes by overcoming a fear?
Since I have been involved with ocean related groups they have brought out a strength I did not realize I had which is public speaking. Getting up in front of 180 school children to do an hour presentation can be pretty daunting and I would never have thought I would do this but now I cannot get enough of it! I also would have never thought I would experience Antarctica especially dealing with huge seas and being rammed by the Japanese Whaling Fleet. I do love ship life very much as I have made some very wonderful friends due to this.
Absolutely amazing what the ocean has given back to you after all you have given to help the ocean. The powerful voice for public speaking is a skill many run from but what we have learned if your heart is in your speech then the ocean becomes your strength. Those children definitely have a wonderful lady teaching them what is happening in the ocean and how to create action to help. Thank you for being their positive role model. Jools this question will be somewhat easy but what ocean organization is your favorite and why?
It is very hard for me to say actually which ocean organisation is my favourite as I do love being involved with all the ones I am involved with. If I have to say only one it would be Sea Shepherd Global as I have been involved with them for the longest time and it did really bring out my passion for the oceans! Sea Shepherd are fantastic as I believe ‘direct action’ is the key where actually the action of going to where illegal activities are occurring is really the only way we can stop these activities such as IUU fishing which is one of the worst environmental crimes on this planet! Also raising awareness of how much trouble the ocean and marine creatures are in.
We had a feeling Sea Shepherd was going to be your choice as your journey has painted them as the backbone. They are definitely an incredible organization that deal with so much illegal ocean activities and near extinction of lives in the ocean. In your own words what would you like people to know that was a great lesson you have learned because of your passion?
Due to my passion for the oceans and being involved with the ocean related NGO’s I am with has shown me what humans are doing to destroy the ocean, such as the atrocities which are occurring in Taiji, Japan and the Faroe Islands. Japan sending their whaling fleet into the Southern Ocean Marine Sanctuary to commercially whale, and as we all know they are NOT doing research.
I have never been to an aquarium or a SeaWorld and never will as I know where these poor marine creatures come from. They were stolen from their families and sold for large amounts of money just for humans to see them do silly tricks. It makes me so very sad they should all be in the wild, free and with their families!
I do everything I can to use reusable items, do not use plastic bags, do not use straws and as for balloons they really make me very angry! As for seafood I will not touch it or stupid products such as Krill Oil, Fish Oil and tablets for goodness sake. Just alter your diet as people who use these products are stealing the only source of food from marine creatures. Lastly the commercial fishing is out of control and as for the by-catch it is just so wrong.
Those are some great lessons you have shared Jools. The atrocities that some countries place on the ocean is horrendous! You mentioned Taiji which deals with taking young female dolphins to train for the silly dolphin tricks you mentioned at places like Seaworld and slaughtering the rest of their families! Then the whale sanctuary where Japan kills whales for research so they say! So many lessons and sadly there is so many more. Thank you for sharing these lessons. Now let's move on to something positive and tell us what would be your favorite thing about the ocean?
It is very hard for me to say what is my favourite thing about the ocean as I just love anything to do with the ocean. I love all marine creatures especially whales, I love sailing and just being on the water. I love helping the ocean and all marine creatures as much as I can.
Jools you are definitely doing everything for all that you love! Not one person can say that you aren't. This is the time we need to say "good day mate" as we are blessed to hear that someone like yourself is out there doing incredible passionate work! We love the journey you are creating and want you to know to keep it going. You are an active member of the world being a leader and molding young leaders every time you speak to those children. A massive thank you Jools!
Check back next week on the Ocean Passion Series to find out who our next ocean passionate guest will be and you will never be disappointed! Check out our past guests here >>Ocean Passion Series<<
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