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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Finding Amelia: Immersed in Oceana

A conversation with Amelia Vorpahl

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Since her departure from her treasured roots in Shorewood, Amelia Vorpahl has traveled the world and returned to the States to become a valuable part of a noble ecological cause. Vorpahl now manages communications for the Responsible Fishing Campaign led by Oceana, an organization that, since 2001, has sought to achieve a tangible revitalization of the world's oceans. Currently living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Vorpahl discusses her concern for the environment.

 

How did the natural beauties of Wisconsin translate to your commitment to bettering the world's oceans?

I’ve always loved being near the water, and growing up only four blocks away from Lake Michigan definitely shaped me into someone committed to protecting our natural resources. Wisconsin is such a unique state in terms of the environmental movement and growing up there really influenced my love of the environment and helped to educate me in the importance of conservation and protecting our planet.

 

As the communications manager for Oceana's Responsible Fishing Campaign, what are your primary goals and how do you go about achieving those goals?

My primary role is to raise awareness of our campaign's goal to protect marine animals, as well as to stop the threats of overfishing. I believe most people genuinely care about our oceans and once they learn about the destructive practices that are going on and what they can do to help, they want to be engaged and help protect our ocean resources. It's alarming to learn that, as of 1999, less than half of 1% of funding from nonprofit environmental groups went to further oceanic causes.

 

Since its inception, what has Oceana done to improve upon such a disproportionate stat?

Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. We use scientific research to advocate for policy outcomes that help protect and preserve the health of our oceans. The health of our oceans impacts everything from the food we eat to job security and tourism industries on our coasts, so raising awareness of these issues is a great way to get more people engaged, involved and advocating for more resources and funding to help protect the oceans.

 

As an advocate for great white sharks, would you care to debunk some myths about their inherent danger?

When many people think of the great white shark, they may imagine a terrifying creature. However, as apex predators, sharks play a critical role in maintaining the health of our ocean ecosystems and keeping the ocean food web in balance. And they're becoming endangered. Healthy oceans need sharks and Oceana is committed to fighting to protect these amazing creatures.

 

What can our readers do to support Oceana?

People who want to support Oceana and help protect the oceans can sign up to be an Oceana supporter at oceana.org. You’ll receive action alerts and updates on the work we do.