Vera_Buergi_OceanCareFrom Inspiration to Vision to Action. From Tenerife to the World.

by Vera Bürgi*

 When a hundred people from 15 different countries meet under the slogan of “Dolphinity”, visions unfold liveliness. From June 24 to 28, scientists, artists, environmentalists and animal welfare activists united for the first ever Dolphinity World Festival in Los Gigantes, Tenerife – experts, whose projects sharpen minds in most versatile ways and illustrate paths into a new world.

OceanCare was invited to the festival by the organizers Nicole and Alexander Gratovsky as one of the leading marine protection organizations and, through its focus campaign “Silent Oceans”, called attention to an issue which prevails particularly also in the waters surrounding Tenerife: All around the Canary Islands, underwater noise pollution is continuously increasing and suppressing the sounds of sea dwellers. Together with the Save Canarias alliance, OceanCare is committed to put paid to the greed of the oil and gas industry, in order to protect marine animals from the deadly consequences of seismic air guns and offshore platforms.

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The Oceans are the largest sound spaces of our planet – this realization represented the central theme of a program, whose rich variety only becomes roughly apparent through the named artists and scientists.

French musician Bernard Abeille evoked with his famous whale songs out of his contrabass the endless width, David Rothenberg set a course with his clarinette, Yukimi Yamamoto-Heuzey called dolphins and whales to the ship of humans with her singing, the drum beats of Bloko del Valle contributed earthly rhythms ashore – they made the earth vibrate.

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It was a festival of care and unity, which especially underlined one thing: there is no life for mankind without life in the oceans – one requires the other. But how to cure the disruption between man and the life he is surrounded by? Giacomo Rizzolati, who discovered mirror neurons, explained why humans are basically empathic creatures. Bonnie Wyper from New York raised her audience’s attention in the name of the organization “Thinking Animals” to the fact that animals are conscious beings. Madeleine Walker illustrated very credibly that the communication between humans and animals is really possible on an utmost sensitive level. Finally, the local organization “La Libelula” demonstrated how permaculture is able to turn a meager landscape into a green wonder.

It became clear to everyone: The festival of joy in Tenerife has to become the festival of action for our planet. The numerous encounters were rich and inspiring. A Dolphinty network emerged, which opens up interesting windows for new cooperation to OceanCare. Oriana Kalama, founder of the rapidly growing online community “Ocean Defender”, has already agreed to support OceanCare’s Silent Ocean campaign. With more than 400’000 followers to this day, she can contribute significantly to the success of our protest actions.

Dolphinity has revealed once more, but clearer than rarely before, that we are all inseparably connected to each other. Our actions fall back on us – if you shoot, as stated by the organizers in their final communiqué, you inevitably hit yourself. But if you promote liveliness, you come alive.

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100 participants at the first ever Dolphinity World Festival may seem like a small number – but they are also a great beginning: each one of us multiplies the spirit of Tenerife and carries, inspired by the days in Los Gigantes, the central message out into the world: Life on earth lives on life in water.

*Vera Bürgi, director of the marine protection organization OceanCare, presented the “Silent Oceans” campaign at the Dolphinity Festival.