Captain Paul Watson Q&A with Mini Rodini

Friday, 02 Jul, 2021

Mini Rodini is a Swedish children’s wear brand that was founded in 2006 by illustrator Cassandra Rhodin as a tribute to all children, their imagination and sense that everything is possible. Mini Rodini’s vision has always been to make it both easy and exciting for parents to buy better products for their kids in regards to the design as well as environmental and ethical aspects of the production.


To celebrate the launch of their second Mini Rodini x Sea Shepherd capsule collection (also available in select Sea Shepherd eStores, with 20% of the proceeds going towards Sea Shepherd's campaigns), they spoke with Captain Watson about why it's important to leave the ocean's animals alone, and shared two of his favorite vegan recipes for kids (and parents!) to try.  

Important message from M. Rodini and Sea Shepherd: "Our oceans are dying! Leave its residents alone!"

Mini Rodini: Why did you start Sea Shepherd?

Captain Paul Watson: I was co-founder of Greenpeace in 1972 and in 1977 I decided to establish Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace was a protest organization. I was frustrated by this and wanted to actively intervene against illegal fishing and poaching. I call what Sea Shepherd does aggressive non-violence; we are not going to hurt anyone but aggressively intervene against illegal poaching. I’m proud to say that during our 42 years of operation we have not caused a single injury to a single person. In the beginning we came under some criticism which is to be expected when challenging a corrupted global fishing industry that makes so much money for governments and illegal operators. But we are a rather conservative group; we want to conserve the oceans - the radicals are the ones destroying our planet. 
You have been an activist for all your life. Has it been any personal cost for you, did you sacrifice a lot for this conviction?

No personal cost, just personal consequences. In 2012 Japan put me on Interpol's red notice list and requested my arrest on conspiracy charges stemming from a 2010 incident involving Sea Shepherd’s campaign to stop Japan’s illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. Normally this list is reserved for serial killers, drug traffickers and hard core criminals, I'm the only person on the list for a charge of trespassing. It has made things somewhat difficult in terms of travelling - and done to harass me - but at the end of the day I have been doing exactly what I wanted to devote my life to. Today Sea Shepherd is a global movement, we have a crew of 200 people working on all oceans and supporters all over the world. For this I'm very happy! 
What is Sea Shepherd's biggest achievement so far?

Significantly, I think it is that Sea Shepherd have created a global movement. But results wise, we have prevented the slaughter of thousands of whales, confiscated millions of meters of driftnet, protected countless sea turtle nests, cleaned up beaches in remote areas, and together with governments on the African coast, arrested illegal poachers and helped free people working as slave labour on illegal poaching and fishing vessels. We have also been very passionate about documenting what we do to get the message out there and inspire people to get involved. At the end of the day each and every one of us can be part of changing the world, just find out your passion and go for it.
The most important mission now?
To continue what we do and also work closely with governments in Africa, outside Colombia and Mexico. To assist and help them protect and watch over vulnerable marine areas that are being attacked by illegal poachers and fishing vessels. And continue to act, inform and spread awareness that we need to save our oceans in order to survive climate change.

You work with interventions and actions at the sea, Why a co-lab with Mini Rodini? 

I think there are many synergies with Sea Shepherd and Mini Rodini. Cassandra Rhodin, founder of Mini Rodini, is not afraid to take a stand for things she believes in, and that is very refreshing and inspiring and in line with Sea Shepherd. When I speak about diversity, for me it's about bringing artists, organisations, companies and people together that want to create change. Mini Rodini works with kids products, we love the brand and for us it is an amazing opportunity to get our message out to everyone who loves Mini Rodini. Also Mini Rodini is devoted to creating a product with as small an impact as possible on people and the planet. The only way going forward as a consumer is to buy less, but better. 
Both you and Cassandra are vegan, why did you decide to become one?

If you are going to say things that rock the boat for some people it's important to also be true in action. 65 billion animals every year are killed and it's not credible to say you are a true environmentalist devoting your life to protect nature and the ocean if you eat meat or fish. In 1979 I made the decision that our ship was only serving vegetarian food and in 1999 all Sea Shepherd ships became vegan. You don't have to be a vegan to work and volunteer for Sea Shepherd, but during the time you are onboard our ships you have to in order to set an example. Surprisingly many keep the vegan diet as a part of their lifestyle afterwards. For me, being a vegan is the only option. 
What can people do to save sea turtles and our oceans? First of all it is to think and reflect over your own lifestyle. Think about the source of the food you eat, where your clothes are sourced and how they are produced and educate yourself on what is going on in the oceans and with climate change. Then try to get involved in whatever way you can. Sea Shepherd has many different ways of contributing, you can volunteer for our global campaigns at sea but you can also donate funds for our direct action campaigns or get involved with Sea Shepherd locally. 

Captain Paul Watson. Photo by Yana Watson for Sea Shepherd.

Finally, can you share your best vegan recipe with us?
I picked up these recipes in Catalonia and in Andalusia many years ago.
Catalan Spinach
1/3 cup of golden raisins
1 lb. of organic spinach
2 Tbs organic olive oil
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 cup of white onion finely chopped
4 Tbs of pine nuts
salt and ground pepper as desired.
- Soak the raisins in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
- Add olive oil to pan, add garlic and onions and cook over med. Heat for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, raisins and pine nuts to the pan, season to taste. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Ready to serve!
Andalusian Gazpacho
9 medium sized organic ripe vine tomatoes.
1 organic green bell pepper, roughly chopped without seeds
1 organic cucumber peeled
3 garlic cloves
1 tps of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil.
- Mix ingredients in a blender
- Place in fridge for 2 hours
- Serve with Basil and parsley leaves with black bread

Captain Watson's delicious vegan dishes. Photo by Yana Watson for Sea Shepherd.

Founder and Creative Director Cassandra Rhodin explains why she is driven by her personal engagement on environmental issues and animal welfare, which has led to Mini Rodinis’ charity work.

Why did you start to make charity collections?  

Cassandra Rhodin: Animals can't stand up for themselves so people need to do it! 
70 % of the species are already wiped out in just 50 years. And humans are to blame. The charities we support do such amazing work and I want to use our platform to spread awareness and inform so more people know about it.

How do you decide which charities to support?

The ones that are true to their cause, don’t have big administrative costs but rather work with action. This inspires me! I like charities that aren't afraid to take a stand, are a bit rebellious and don't compromise on their beliefs.

Why a co-lab with Sea Shepherd? 

I love Sea Shepherd and used to watch Whale Wars a lot on Animal Planet many years ago. How can you not want to support an organisation that is so passionate that they are defending animals at the risk of their own lives!

You were in Italy with Sea Shepherd to photograph the campaign, what was it like to meet the crew? 

The Mediterranean is the most overfished sea in the world and basically all species are over exploited. In just a few hours they rescued 2 turtles, one that had mistaken plastic for food and couldn’t swim and one that was an absolute mess, a boat motor had trashed it apart. They were the lucky ones, when animals get stuck in driftnets they have no chance to make it on their own. There were also 5 dead turtles on the same day. I learned that there are an estimated 700 000 km of industrial and abandoned fishing lines in the Mediterranian and countless of unreported drift nets. Sea turtles have lived here for more than 100 million years and now 6 out of 7 species are threatened or endangered. And that is just the turtles.

Mini Rodini is known for brand vales such as unisex clothes, great quality, diversity, and responible production. What can people do to get involved in the big environmental question of climate change?

The food industry is right now the biggest threat to our planet and humanity. People can shift to a plant-based diet and eat less marine life. Do what you can and every little action makes a difference. The clothing industry is also a dirty business, buy less and only support companies that are making a change right now, not the ones that have a future goal to do it.

Are you on a plant based diet? If yes, why?

I eat plant based but occasionally I eat vegetarian. I went vegetarian when I was 9 years old and over the past few years I have gradually shifted to a more plant based diet. I just think it is very disgusting to eat parts of a body and industrial meat is nothing but cruel. Eating fish causes more harm than good, the fish is full of toxic heavy metals, PCBS, dioxins and pesticides, it is a misconception that fish is good for our health. And the source for Omega 3 is in the algaes that the fish eat so people should really leave the fish off the plate and go straight to the source. With that said, parts of my family and best friends eat meat and I love them anyway :-) Just wish they would stop.

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