“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi
TEDx Taipei 2011年 ‘旅程的力量’系列演讲邀请到了海洋环境保育工作者廖敏慧。她从小就喜爱海洋，更曾长期投入东海岸赏鲸团解说志工。因受到中途岛信天翁大量死亡的震撼，而开启了她全心投入海洋保育的旅程。敏慧分享自己参与国际海洋保育团体的经验，希望让更多人认识与重视我们美丽的海洋。
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.
对敏慧来说，那些信天翁的照片就像是打开了一扇门，让她看到了更广的世界，启发了她关怀海洋的动机。‘突然之间，人生好像有某个开关受到感发而启动了，这也因此开启了接下来一路上和海洋有关的接触和旅程。’一直喜爱海洋的她，不但投入海洋的研究，更实地去北太平洋勘察海洋垃圾涡流。敏慧获得Keep Walking 圆梦计画赞助，于2011年7月，在无帆船航行的经验下搭上帆船，从夏威夷至温哥华，22天将近三千公里的航行，成为台湾第一位前进北太平洋探索‘垃圾涡流区’的先行者。因为海洋垃圾平常看不到，但不是看不见就不存在。于是她航向太平洋，寻找人类的塑胶足迹，观察与纪录海洋垃圾涡流的影响。敏慧认为‘在这看似意外的骇人故事背后，其实是我们人类有意无意间对大自然造成的迫害’。她希望将经验与知识带回台湾，让大众更清楚地了解海洋现况，增加对海洋保育的重视 。
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.
中途岛 中文预告 (Midway, The Heart of Pacific)
文字：womany 编辑部 / 蓝巧纹 ChiaoWen Lan
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