If you only know Sea Shepherd from their show Whale Wars on Animal Planet, you’re missing some of the most compelling direct-action activism going for the ocean today.

Operating twelve ships around the world, Sea Shepherd mobilizes generous donations and passionate volunteers to create on-site solutions right where crises are developing. They’re on the front lines of the fight to save our oceans and waterways, and you can help.

At any given time, Sea Shepherd is running several campaigns with different objectives all over the world. Their efforts range from defending wildlife to protecting ecosystems to providing humanitarian aid in the aftermath of catastrophe.

For the last six years, Operation Milagro has worked in the Sea of Cortez to clean up the ghost nets, discourage poachers, and advocate for the best interest of the tiny, sensitive, and extremely endangered vaquita porpoise. Operation Treasured Islands is a project aimed at protecting nearly two million kilometers of the tropical marine corridor in the eastern Pacific, including Malpelo, Cocos, and the Galapagos Islands. Leading research to conserve wild salmon populations and expose the risks of salmon farming, Operation Virus Hunter is conducted in conjunction with local First Nations in British Columbia.

When necessary, Sea Shepherd even works to protect human and canine populations. Their recently-concluded Operation Good Pirates of the Caribbean delivered supplies and aid to help those hit hardest by Hurricane Dorian to help them rebuild their homes and communities, and brought back stranded dogs and cats to be rehabilitated and adopted in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.

Though no one has been harmed as a result of their volunteer work with Sea Shepherd, it is not without risk. Shepherds have faced down hostile poachers, profligate illegal fishers, and even the occasional Molotov cocktail and stray bullet.

To learn more about exactly what Sea Shepherd is doing to save the world, check out the films “Watson” about founder Captain Paul Watson, “Chasing the Thunder” which documents their 110-day pursuit of poachers across three oceans, or “Why Just One?” to see why their work with sea turtle conservation is so crucial.

If you’re interested in being the boots-on-the-ground (or fins in the water, as the case may be), you can sign up to be one of their ground or deck crew or join a local chapter. You can also help by dropping dollars (or Euros) in their branded merch store, or if you already have enough stuff and just want to donate directly — monthly or even just once — those are options too. There are ways to support for people with any budget, time or money-wise.

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