Wednesday, February 22, 2012

News from OPS



February 22, 2012Brought to you by Oceanic Preservation Society

Cove Car at Daytona

Preaching to the Non-Choir
You may be wondering why the team from OPS is working with a Nascar driver in an industry known for practices that make many environmnetalists cringe?   After careful consideration, we decided to partner with Lelani to bring the message of our movement to the "unconverted".   
Leilani has been using her unique voice in the racing world to fight for environmental issues.  She's been named the #1 eco athlete in the world and became the first carbon neutral racecar driver by adopting acres of rainforest to offset her car's carbon footprint. In 2008, she became the first Ambassador of the National Wildlife Federation. She has been to Taiji 3 times. So Team OPS decided to work with her on her last event to raise the volume, so to speak.  Like we did in the Cove, Team OPS went right into the heart of the storm -- the race pit and arena.
Here's a recap from Louie, who spent 3 days in Daytona.

Environmentalist/Race Car Driver, Leilani Munter, is a powerhouse of seeming contradictions.  A petite, 5’ nothing surrounded by crowds of muscular, testosterone-fueled male racers, she endorses her car with only green environmental campaign partners.
She quotes another environmentalist, “If we only talk to those who already understand our message, who will talk to those who don’t?”  The platform of a competitive racecar driver gives her credibility in a sport least and last likely to receive her bold messages.  Her latest push is to get The Cove in front of as many people as possible with a race car entry in a sport not know for its environmental stewardship.
In fact walking around the race track at Daytona International Speedway Saturday with Leilani, I felt as if we were in some sort of Galactic Roman Coliseum hosted by all our environmental enemies.  Oil company logos emblazoned the vehicles that roared without the muzzle of a muffler like some primitive mechanical beasts.  “Friends of Coal” read one large black logo on a racecar.  Fumes and the deafening roar drifted over the racetrack, the elixir of doom to me.  But there we were walking along with Leilani, and feeling as if we were walking with one our own generation’s David, a modern day goliath killer. Her logos?  OPS. The Dolphin Project. Pair Networks.
Ric and the OPS team, Charles and Simon and I were also there to sign DVD’s.  A thousand were given away for free and Leilani signed about as many posters of her and The Cove Car.

The Cove Car at Daytona, continued.

Race wise, things didn’t go as planned. After about a dozen laps into the 80 lap course, Leilani lost her left rear tire and spun out on the opposite side of the track from the pit. She calmly drove the Dodge Charger back to the pit on a rim, returned to the race and rose from last to 15th place in a field of 43. Unfortunately, an ignition box somehow failed, then the back-up also failed, she lost r.p.m.’s rapidly and had to bail out of the race, a few laps short of finishing.

Very disappointing, however Leilani, ever The Cove promoter, had gotten the race announcer of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, to see the film.  And so live, on Speed TV, broadcast to over a million race fans, he explained a bit about the film and told them all to go see it. The unexpected mishaps got far more television coverage than the highest placing cars in the race.

         Thank you Leilani and everyone who supported this amazing push into uncharted territory.
~Louie Psihoyos~

Cove to Consul Project, Update

Readers might recall the Cove to Consul project we outlined in our last newsletter.  Japanese Consulates around the world were sent a lovely embossed gift box containing several copies of The Cove, in English and Japanese.

The idea was born on September 1st, “Dolphin Day,” peaceful protests were staged at Japanese embassies around the world.  But the disconnect between the placard-waving activists down on the streets and the key targets for the messaging was stark.

Louie felt that it was time to reach out to individuals.  Nicely.
Over 230 packages were sent out via US Postal Service in early December.  From Palau to Paraguay. Moscow to Malta.  Japanese consulates around the globe were sent copies of the film, with a kind letter from Louie (in Japanese and English) explaining his intention. "Please view the film. It is not an attack on the people of Japan." He had suffered from mercury poisoning, and created the film to share information he had learned and to hopefully save others.

By January, no packages were returned to OPS’s headquarters in Boulder. Nor were any letters of acknowledgement. We then put hearty team member Candace on the case to call around. See if they had arrived. Had anyone watched it? Reactions?

Candace reports:
“We started by calling around the United States…and were pleasantly surprised to hear many had already seen the film! Next step, figure out time zones and country codes, and start calling internationally. Thanks to some Japanese speaking volunteers, we were able to reach out and contact a plethora of embassies and consulates. The results were extremely exciting…many knew of the film and almost all had received our packages. We even talked personally with many Consuls, who committed to watching the film as they had not seen it yet.”

Thanks all for another great team effort.
~Viki Psihoyos~

Teach Your Children Well

Students young and old continue to enjoy Louie as a guest speaker, as he shares stories of his life, his early career taking photographs for National Geographic, shooting The Cove, his next film, our planet, its fragility and what we need to do about it. Now.

He recently found himself in front of Middle and High School students at the Boulder Watershed School. Question ranged from “What can we do to help?” to “What was Michael Jordan like to photograph?”
Especially thrilling was his visit to The Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, where a standing-room-only crowd spent a cold January night.
Psihoyos also visited Wilmington College in Ohio, and Oakland University in Michigan, where students viewed The Cove and had the opportunity to ask questions of the director. The film continues to inspire audiences to act, be creative and get involved.
There is still much to do about the annual slaughter in Taiji. According to Ceta Base, a neutral website with frequent tallies, dolphins continue to be killed and captured. According to these numbers, the killings have been cut by half. What we are seeing is that students are emerging as leaders, sharing the film, the issues and stirring others to action.

Keep OPS Growing

The Cove came out in theaters in the U.S., back in July 2009, but we still see the numbers of supporters continue to grow. Many people have heard of the film but are only now getting around to seeing it. We are stunned by the numbers, over half a million on FaceBook. 16,600 followers on Twitter. Emails filled with praise and encouragement, and asking...."I signed a petition but I still want to do more."
We love hearing from everyone, and we do offer suggestions on what to do after seeing The Cove, here on our site.
Please continue to share info with others. And wear your OPS and Cove t shirts and hats, sport stickers on your laptops. And of course, your financial support to our non-profit organization is crucal to our survival.
Thanks All.
~Team OPS~

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