I spent the month of March on the Oaxacan coast, splitting my time between reading in the hammock, eating fresh fruit, swimming and playing the guitar. Most of my days were spent hiding in the shade to avoid shriveling in the bright coastal sun but on this particular Tuesday morning I decided to join a group of new friends, all living in their vans, on a snorkeling tour.
We took off around 10am in a small fishing boat, our guide grow up with this ocean and he maneuvers his way through the rocks and currents, like only someone who had spent his childhood on these fishing boats can do, he is kind and knowledgeable and tells us about the turtles and the whales, his eyes constantly scanning the water's surface as he navigates the boat with one hand. Without warning he speeds off into the dark blue, we all anxiously waiting to see what he sees. Suddenly he stops the boat and turns the engine off, we are floating in suspense, rocking slowly as we wait for something to happen. A yellow water snake swims by and as I lean out of the boat to look at it I see something coming up, then out, and by the time I realize what I am looking at she is back in the water, her enormous tail covered in barnacles fast disappearing behind her and all that is left my mouth wide open and a magical silence before we all start shouting in excitement. My first interaction with a humpback whale, I am in complete owe.
We keep going, hearts beating in our chests, high on life and the experience we just had, nothing can top this I think to myself, a little too early, as our boat operator start speeding into the horizon once again, this time he joins a group of dolphins, aligning the boat with their swimming direction and he speeds off, they immediately follow and the games begin. The dolphins are surrounding us, taking turns jumping in front of the boat and all around us, I am glued to the front of the boat, one hand in the water and a huge smile on my face, for the next twenty minutes I am completely and utterly consumed by these mythical creatures and their marvelous ways. I can hear their calling in the water and the sounds go straight into my heart, cracking open something in me that I can't immediately define. As we say goodbye to those extraordinary beings and start our way back to the coast I am still overwhelmed by the interaction, water splashing around me, glistening in the midday sun and I realize that I am crying, crying for our disconnect, for the state of our oceans, for the life that we take in order to feed our greedy appetite.
I have made a promise that day, to the dolphins and the ocean, to mother earth and myself, to do all in my ability to help and protect this unreal, otherworldly magnificent waters and the lives within it. Perhaps the only way that I can help conserve it is by cooking the most delicious vegan food I potentially can, by introducing as many people as possible to the wonders of plant based cuisine and maybe just maybe I can crack the belief that we need to consume other animals to be healthy, fracture the notion that it's ok for us to take all we want without concern nor culpability.
We are raping the oceans, pouring our waste and throwing our garbage in it, over consuming, killing everything in our way so we can have what we want when we want it, in the process depleting it, diminishing it, completely destroying it, and it simply breaks my heart to watch.
I am not trying to tell you how to live your life, but rather show you some alternatives and yes, maybe put a mirror in front of your face while you happily chew on that fish taco, so you can see the hurt and the destruction we (and you) cause in our careless search for instant gratification.