Ali, film maker and environmental activist and a good friend of ours at IF has been documenting important issues evolving around the sea. It's inspiring seeing people selflessly fight for those who do not have a voice. Did you know 70% of our oxygen comes from marine plants in the Ocean? This shows how important it is for us to maintain the balance and not pollute, destroy and deplete ocean life. We caught up with him recently in an exclusive interview below.
My name is Ali, I’m 23, and I’m a filmmaker focused on sharing the truth about the impact people are having on the lives of animals and the environment. A lot of what I have been doing over the past year has been documenting the plight of our oceans (a subject that has been keeping me very busy), and has involved going to places around the world where people are involved in the slaughter and trade of sea life; whether sharks, dolphins, whales, fish, and more (most of which being endangered).
What sort of activism do you do?
For two years I ran a YouTube channel that was pretty popular, and I made educational videos that discussed ethical topics. But for the past year I have been working on a documentary about the human impact on our oceans. The problems the ocean face are vast and complex. However, solutions can be fairly simple. This documentary will educate people about what we can do to resolve the issues at hand.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to minimize their ecological impact?
It’s incredibly easy to make small simple changes that have MAJOR results. I recommend starting with what you are comfortable doing, and then week by week seeing if you can do more. For example, adopting a healthy vegan lifestyle and enjoying the same delicious flavours that animal based foods may have (with the huge amount of growing vegan alternatives like plant based milks, yogurts, cheeses, chicken/beef/pork/fish style meats becoming available in most supermarkets these days), can help cut our personal environmental impact massively. This will also reduce to virtually zero the number of animals killed for our nourishment; that includes domestic and targeted species in land and sea farms, as well as non-targeted species as a result of land clearing and by-catch. Combine that with reducing plastic consumption, and switching to a green energy company to power your home, such as Ecotricity, and you are on your way to being one of the most awesome people in the world! Ha-ha.
Why did you decide to go plant based?
It was more of an obvious progression for me over time, rather than a clear-cut decision that happened at once. But once I made the connection that a lot of what I was wearing and eating was in fact coming from animals who did not want to be killed, I had to make a change. I looked deeper and did more research and what I saw shocked me. All the pain… the worlds of pain these individual poor animals go through just to make a meaningless snack for me made no sense. If I can, I’d implore everyone to take half an hour out of their day to research the ethics of using animals for food. It’s really life-changing. The first thing I noticed after going vegan pretty much instantly after becoming vegan, was that my health had gotten so much better. I had more energy, lost the extra weight, and I felt like I could breathe better than ever. I also gained a lot of mental clarity that came along with questioning something society and myself had been doing for so long. It was a catalyst for learning so much more about people, animals, and the greater environment. Becoming vegan even helped refine my critical thinking. It’s the best decision I have ever made, several years ago now.
Who inspires you?
There are many people who inspire me, many of which I am lucky enough to call friends and people I am in contact with for activism purposes. But I shall give a short list here: Keegan Kuhn is a major inspiration of mine, simply because of his tireless passion for animal rights, environmentalism, and human equality, as well as for his skill in filmmaking. Kip Anderson has done so much to bring the debate about animal agriculture to the environmental table so to speak, and I am so thankful for his inspiration. My family are of constant support, and encourage me to do what I need to do even in at times of risk on the other side of the world. And last but not least my girlfriend Lucie, who has travelled the world with me and is a major source of wisdom, support, and patience even in locations where we are witnessing extreme brutality against animals and the environment.
You can contact Ali on firstname.lastname@example.org