Organic Consumers Association

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Mike Bronner Speaks with Alex Cornelissen and Anne KäMmerling of Sea Shepherd Germany

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Their mission is to end habitat destruction and the slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans, in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and marine species.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Alex Cornelissen, the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global. Our managing director in Europe, Axel Rungweber had been forging a relationship with the organization in Germany, and we had long been interested in exploring a partnership with them in the US.  Upon meeting Alex and learning more about Sea Shepherd’s mission and impact, I was immediately inspired and humbled by the deep commitment of the people, largely volunteers, who make up Sea Shepherd. Each member does their part together to confront injustice and make positive change in the world.

After that meeting, Dr. Bronner’s started supplying Sea Shepherd missions and campaigns around the world with soap and coconut oil for their crew to use while at sea. We were elated when we had the chance to donate money to purchase communications equipment for one of their ships. Then, last December, Axel came to my brother David and me with a proposal from Sea Shepherd Germany. They wanted to purchase and renovate a small vessel for $50,000 that would allow them to launch a campaign this summer in the Baltic Sea to protect harbour porpoises. We agreed without hesitation. We donated the money, the ship was bought, and renovations began on what would become the MV Emanuel Bronner, named after my grandfather (founder of our company).

On June 1st I brought my family to Bremen, Germany where the ship – Sea Shepherd Germany’s first ship – was docked, ready to be unveiled to press and supporters. The more I’ve gotten to know the amazing individuals involved in this organization, the more I’ve understood that the soul and mission of Dr. Bronner’s and Sea Shepherd is All-One! Motivated by a mutual concern and compassion for the environment and wildlife, both organizations hold a deep belief in the power and responsibility of individuals to take direct action to right the wrongs of the world.

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