“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi
TEDx Taipei 2011年 『旅程的力量』系列演講邀請到了海洋環境保育工作者廖敏慧。她從小就喜愛海洋，更曾長期投入東海岸賞鯨團解說志工。因受到中途島信天翁大量死亡的震撼，而開啓了她全心投入海洋保育的旅程。敏慧分享自己參與國際海洋保育團體的經驗，希望讓更多人認識與重視我們美麗的海洋。
TEDx Taipei invited marine conservation activist Ming-Hui Liao to speak at the “The Power of Journey” lecture series in 2011. Over the course of her career, Liao grew to love the wonders of the sea, and had volunteered for Taiwan’s East Coast whale watching group. Liao was shocked to learn about the mass die-off of a local albatross population on Midway Island and this spurred her lifelong journey of marine conservation. By sharing her experiences participating in international conservation efforts, she hoped to raise awareness of the dire problems facing marine ecosystems.
A decade ago, Ming-Hui Liao saw photos in National Geographic Magazine that motivated her to go into marine conservation. A look at Chris Jordan’s photographic essay on Midway Island, one of the most remote islands on earth, reveals the dangers posed by The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Jordan’s photos show tens of thousands of baby albatrosses lying dead on the ground due to accidental intake of floating plastic refuse. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also called the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a mass of marine litter in the Pacific Ocean. Through Jordan’s lens, we see how plastic garbage poses an immense threat to marine ecosystems and human health. We also see the impact humans have on the planet. The world’s most beautiful natural sanctuaries, home to rare and dwindling species, are now at risk of dying due to human irresponsibility.
The environmental tragedy on Midway Island is heartbreaking. Marine litter is a dangerous problem many people choose to ignore. Despite the fact that there are thousands of tons of drifting garbage in the Pacific Ocean, marine litter cannot be captured in satellite photography and is often ignored in the news. This makes it difficult for people to understand what is happening in the ocean. Chris Jordan’s photographic works allow people to see the immensity of this “invisible tragedy.” Jordan hopes by “showing real images, people can better grapple with the reality of the time we live in, however hard that is.” He hopes the impact of his photographs will be an awakening call.
"Do we have the courage to face the horrors of our time? " “And in the eye of the storm —the apex of the Gyre—perhaps our collaborative efforts can create a container for healing that might have some small effect on the collective choice that is to come.” - Photographer and artist Chris Jordan.
Jordan and his team adhere to principles of not tampering with their photographic subjects – they do not add or remove plastic to better convey their point. "Our goal is to look beyond the grief and the tragedy. We do not need to despair, but we have a new choice," says Jordan.
Inspired by Jordan’s work, Ming-Hui Liao changed career paths in order to better advocate for marine and environmental issues. A graduate of the National Cheng Kung University Institute of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Liao worked as pharmacist at a hospital in the eastern part of the Taiwan for two years. But her love and concern for the ocean brought her to pursue higher education in marine studies at the National Taiwan University. Despite doubts and concerns from family and friends, Liao followed her heart to pursue her passion.
對敏慧來說，那些信天翁的照片就像是打開了一扇門，讓她看到了更廣的世界，啓發了她關懷海洋的動機。『突然之間，人生好像有某個開關受到感發而啟動了，這也因此開啟了接下來一路上和海洋有關的接觸和旅程。』一直喜愛海洋的她，不但投入海洋的研究，更實地去北太平洋勘察海洋垃圾渦流。敏慧獲得Keep Walking 圓夢計畫贊助，於2011年7月，在無帆船航行的經驗下搭上帆船，從夏威夷至溫哥華，22天將近三千公里的航行，成為台灣第一位前進北太平洋探索『垃圾渦流區』的先行者。因為海洋垃圾平常看不到，但不是看不見就不存在。於是她航向太平洋，尋找人類的塑膠足跡，觀察與紀錄海洋垃圾渦流的影響。敏慧認為『在這看似意外的駭人故事背後，其實是我們人類有意無意間對大自然造成的迫害』。她希望將經驗與知識帶回台灣，讓大眾更清楚地了解海洋現況，增加對海洋保育的重視 。
For Ming-Hui, Chris Jordan’s grim photos inspired her to devote herself to marine conservation. "All of a sudden, life seemed to switch in another direction,” said Ming-Hui. She not only committed herself to the field of marine sciences, she also joined an international team to survey The Pacific Garbage Patch. Sponsored by Keep Walking Dream, a non-profit foundation, Ming-Hui and her teammates sailed from Hawaii to Vancouver. Ming-Hui became the first Taiwanese to explore the Pacific Trash Vortex - mapping the plastic footprint of human consumption and recording the impact of human litter on marine ecosystems. Her greatest hope was to bring back her experiences and knowledge to Taiwan - to enable the public to develop a deeper understanding of the ocean’s current situation and to increase awareness of marine conservation.
Ming-Hui’s team included twelve environmental activists from seven different countries. Even though she had no prior sailing experience, she overcame her physical discomfort at sea because of her determination to protect the ocean. “Despite the hardships, sea sickness, and my own fears, the journey became less difficult because of my love for marine conservation,” Ming-Hui said.
Ming-Hui Liao hopes her story and experiences in the North Pacific Ocean will make it easier for people to recognize the human impact on marine ecosystems and to inspire changes to human behavior and consumption. Although she faced many challenges and questions on her journey, her contact with the ocean had a lasting impact on her attitude toward life and the world. "I hope many more people realize that this world is not “owned” by humans, but by all living things that share the Earth.”
Do you share Ming-Hui’s concern for the ocean? Does the ocean play a significant role in your way of life? If the answer is yes, you have to think deeply about what you can do for the ocean. By working together to reduce our use of plastic products and packaging, and increasing our utilization of recycling, we can reduce our environmental footprint. Ming-Hui Liao believes everyone should act as the cumulative effect of individual efforts can make a big difference. It is easy to help protect the ocean and precious marine ecosystems around the world. Let us change the way we live so we can protect the future of all species on this planet.
中途島 中文預告 (Midway, The Heart of Pacific)
文字：womany 編輯部 / 藍巧紋 ChiaoWen Lan
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