Issue 10. Interview with Berit Legrand from The Animal Fund

"W is the most important thing in your life?”, your children, family, friends, some belongings that are memorable? But how about “Breathing”? What if we do not have oxygen, how could we sustain our life?

In this Issue 10 of Eco With Attitude we interviewed Berit Legrand, the founder of The Animal Fund, a non-profit marine conversation association based in Monaco, France, The United Kingdom and Denmark. Her actions focus on the protection of the ocean, whales and dolphins; which allow us to reflect a lot on how much we need from the ocean and forest for oxygen to keep breathing. What could we do to keep on breathing? What is life without breathing? How to keep breathing?

Quote openWhat is the most important in thing in your life? Breathing.Quotation

#1 Why is TAF focusing on the work of Whales and Dolphins, rather than non-mammal or other animals?  

For the past 10-15 years, I couldn’t stand for the overconsumption, it has taken over everything, people don’t buy only 1 Tee Shirt as a necessity anymore but 10 or more. We need to stop the greed, we need to stop abusing the planet. We just need to consume what we need and not in excess. In 2015, I came to the point where I realized the urgency to help the future generational now and I created my own organization based on empathy, ethics, and true values. The values which I learned as a child and have followed me in other jobs and tasks I have undertaken. I wanted to contribute and bring values for the greater goods.

Berit Legrand Founder of The Animal Fund

Berit Legrand, Founder & President of The Animal Fund.
She was born in Denmark, a nature and sport lover.


I started The Animal Fund in 2015, as I wanted to share the important fact about our oxygen provider, alias the whales and why we must protect them. Many people are not aware how important the whales are to our lives as they are contributing up to 85% of oxygen for us to breathe. Every year, whales travel from north to south for thousands of miles releasing the feces, rich in iron and nitrogen, which contributes to the growth of phytoplankton which then absorb carbon dioxide and transform it to oxygen.

For us, this is very simple, as with one sentence you understand, “Do you want to keep breathing?”. As on our website headline question, without breathing, we cannot survive.

Therefore, we need to focus on whales, on the oxygen they provide, on the sequestration of carbon dioxide they contribute to, on the climate action they are necessary for, we need to save the whales.

Whales sourced from The Animal Fund

Source From: The Animal Fund's Official Website

 

#2 TAF puts a lot of effort into school work and education, what is the first opening conversation to catch public attention to kick start with?

In general, the primary school students are between 6-11 years old. Our approach is interactive and fun. We always start with the love for the ocean, the dolphins and whales. The children always love the dolphins and whales, it is easier to then focus on the games and interaction, on the knowledge of the magnificent marine mammals, and then talk about the dangers they are facing. The main thing for us is to find solutions, deliver a positive outlook, and make the children understand that they also can help.

Berit Legrand at primary school

Berit was doing the sharing at primary school.

For conferences and seminars, “Do you want to keep on breathing?” or “What is the most important thing in your life?” are always the opening lines. I have never ever heard from anyone answering “Breathing” as this is such a natural and unconscience action we all do. When I asked them back isn’t it breathing and who gives us oxygen? People would answer the forest, but actually it’s the ocean, then we come back to our primary focus again “Whales”. 

Berit Legrand at conference

Berit was at the conference.

#3 The TAF board and team consist of a wide range of different backgrounds and expertise, what elements of the team mix contributes to the success of various projects and events?

I would change the question “how to make people joining our events and make a change together”. In the countries we operate in, we are very fortunate to have many participants joining our events; like our beach clean-up, sports events, stands and conferences. One of the keys to success is having fun, our events are always educative and providing drinks and snacks. We want to inform the participants about the plastic pollution, delivery solutions meanwhile enjoying this leisure activity and creating a community.

The Animal Fund events

Event organized by The Animal Fund
Source From: The Animal Fund

Also, there is no shortcut to success in the world. For the past 7 years, I have been running The Animal Fund 24/7 because I am believing in it. You can’t just make an event on the social media, and then sit down. For me, it is a full action nonstop, it is not a normal working hours, it is not a work, it is not my passion but my mission in life!

The Animal Fund Ocean Day
The Animal Fund Beach Cleanup

Beach Cleanup events organized by The Animal Fund
Source From: The Animal Fund

#4 Through the experience of the "Plastic Campaign" projects and clean-up events, how does the public see and talk about this issue?

I see a huge difference since I started in 2015. Beach cleanup has been done before, however I always thought that without the education, it doesn’t help much, and that’s why The Animal Fund implemented educational games and quizzes straight away.

Nowadays, people in general start talking about this issue and most of them are aware of the plastic pollution, they know certain things, such as bringing the reusable bottle or shopping bag. However, they only do 1 or 2 little things and then stop. Hence, we need to show them the alternatives and how to live with a more plastic-free life. We need a platform to show where could we find the alternatives, such as where are the water fountains, where could we buy the organic toothpaste tablets without the plastic tubes, non-chemical deodorant, sustainable cream, razors and more.. The alternatives should become a new normal.

Berit Legrand at the sharing
 Berit at conference

Berit at the sharing event
Source From: The Animal Fund 

Berit Legrand in Nice France
Berit is holding her furry friend with #INVISIBLEPOOBAG in Nice, France


#5 Why #INVISIBLEBAG is a choice of TAF to support and work together?

#INVISIBLEBAG is unique and informative, users could create positive consequences. I think every brand in the clothing industry should use this, brands might not be able to change the clothing material in a day, but at least they could change the packaging, it means they have done something good to the environment. Imagine how many clothing have been produced every year in this industry and packaging were created, if #INVISIBLEBAG becomes a must for every shop to pack their garments, this is a huge change. The world is awakening with more sustainable packaging available in the market and the future is yours.

#INVISIBLEBAG Ocean Blue Edition

R4 Clothing using #INVISIBLEBAG

R4 Clothing is using #INVISIBLEBAG Garment & Mailer Bag for shipping their online orders. 

#6 As an NGO supporting marine life environment, could any action changes or tips be taken on eating habits to maintain a sustainable food chain?

Instead of saying “you must not”, we ask people if they agree that there is plastic in the ocean, and if they have ever thought of the fish could eat the plastic, and then who will eat the fish. As now we have scientific research proved that microplastics were found in the fish, and could lead to potential health effects. Instead of saying “being vegan and vegetarian”, we recommend different plant-based dishes which are appetizing, such as Mexican cuisines, which attract them trying.

The Animal Fund Beach Cleanup Event
The Animal Fund Marathon Event

Beach Cleanup & Marathon events organized by The Animal Fund
Source From: The Animal Fund

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