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 an absolute star from South America with a ton of amazing titles "I’m A Lawyer, Environmentalist, Scuba Diver And Vegan For The Ocean"
Hello Luiz! We are so excited that you were able to join us on such short notice. Can you tell us about yourself and where you are in the world ?
Hello Pelagic followers !!! My name is Luiz André Albuquerque. I’m 46 years old and I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’m a lawyer, environmentalist, scuba diver and previously, I participated on Sea Shepherd Brazil for nine years. I was a member of the Sea Shepherd Brazil Board of Directors, Legal Coordinator and Rio de Janeiro Chapter Director.
Photo: Green turtle rescue in the Guanabara Bay - 2016
Those titles Luiz are extremely impressive. For the past 9 years you have been completely engulfed in the ocean world. How long have you known your passion for the ocean and can you remember that day or situation that brought it to the surface?
I've always loved the sea. Whenever possible, I went to the beach. I wanted to do something more for the planet and marine animals. The next step was to become a diver and learn more about marine life
Diving is one of the most amazing things you can do! Great to hear your passion drove you to visiting a new world. So let's look at how you give back to help the ocean.
I participated in several actions of beach cleaning, an important work of awareness of bathers. I collected thousands of pieces of plastic collected, bottle caps, cans, straws, swabs, in addition to fishing gear - lines, hooks, sinkers and floats, lures and some ghost nets.
I also participated in the rescue of some marine animals - sea turtles, cormorants, frigates, etc. and took them to the wild animal rehab centers. Some of these animals have returned to nature and others have not been so lucky, unfortunately.
We love your passion and how you have put countless hours cleaning up your beaches. So many beaches around the world have beach goers dumping so much garbage instead of taking it with them. As well as the ocean washes up so much plastic that may have floated thousands of miles from other parts of the world. Keep up the brilliant work. Tell our readers how has your passion for the ocean changed your thinking and your life?
My passion for the oceans made changes in my life in the way of dressing, feeding, and choosing places to travel and of course engaging in volunteering with Sea Shepherd.
Switching to a vegan life is a natural consequence for anyone who really wants to do something better for animals and the planet. For many people it is not easy to change habits, but I tell them to try little by little.
Photo: Lecture at Sul America company (200 people audience)- 2016
It is incredible how much your life on so many levels has changed by just giving a service to the ocean. You are definitely an incredible leader by living the change you want to see in this world. Has your passion for the ocean brought out strengths or confidence that would have or may have been a fear?
Yes, it brought changes in my life.
I had never thought about diving before volunteering at Sea Shepherd. And I just became a volunteer at Sea Shepherd because of my passion for the oceans. It's all connected.
But the biggest change in my life was the fear I feel when I'm near ships. It seems funny that a person who is afraid to sail joins Sea Shepherd, but that's what happened.
I will not say that the fear has disappeared, but it has decreased a lot. (laughs)
Oh Wow Luiz! You fight for the ocean and started to dive however you have a fear of sailing. Just incredible the changes of overcoming fears in your life by your passion. Passion is such a powerful natural drug that can make a person do anything they thought they never would do. Moving on tell us what ocean organization is your favorite and why?
For 10 years, Sea Shepherd defends whales in Antarctica and is currently the only organization to do so. They're doing an incredible job of protecting sharks too.
We had a feeling you were going to pick Sea Shepherd! We couldn't have described them better! They are on top of our Pelagic Love Team's list for hardworking volunteers doing such incredible work for the ocean and the planet. In your own words what would you like people to know that was a great lesson you have learned because of your passion?
It is important to know to preserve.
When a person begins to participate in environmental activities and understands the impacts of our actions on the environment, it is easier to begin to change habits and the way of behavior.
I discovered the impacts of the captivity of marine animals, so today I warn my family and friends, so they do not buy tickets for marine parks.
Photo: Green turtle rescue in the Urca beach - 2015
Recycling, reusing and reducing the use of material is also very important, as well as discard the garbage in its correct place. This is a message that I seek to disclose.
Of course, I ended up deciding to be vegan for animal liberation. And I think this will be a gradual and natural change of society.
Photo: Beach cleaning on Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro - 2016
You are an inspiration Luiz! What you have opened your eyes to has become your mission to educate and inform others to help the animals. Changing your diet was another great way to help not only the ocean animals but land animals and the pollution that comes with those industries also. Just love listening to your answers because they are filled with inspiration. What do you feel you could have done differently to get you to where you are now that may help as a stepping stone for someone else getting involved in helping the ocean?
I don’t think I should have done something different.
What I want people to know is that they need to focus on something and move on.
Protecting the oceans is key to our survival, so if everyone does their part, it will be very good.
Great message. The ocean is 70% of the world and many do not feel it is even part of their lives. The ocean gives us every second breath and also absorbs all the waste we displace on land and in the air. Sadly we are creating a toxic dump in the ocean. So we absolutely agree if everyone does their part this world would have a major switch of direction. What would be your favorite thing about the ocean?
I love diving. I learned to dive five years ago and I regret not having started before.
It is a unique feeling to be in touch with the nature of the oceans and contemplate incredible animals – dolphins, whales, sharks, a large number of coral colors and the inner peace that brings me.
I advise people to dive to feel how wonderful it is.
Diving is such a beautiful experience. Your 5 yrs of diving sounds like it brought you many gifts of wonderful underwater life. To see dolphins, whales, and sharks is such a dream to many people while you have had to honor. Your work for the ocean has been tireless but so impactful to not only your life but everyone around you. Thank you for being such a caring and thoughtful person. Great qualities for the leader you have become.
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<<
Photo: With members of Architects after the concert at Teatro Odisséia - 2015