Marco Ferraz: ´The optimism of the action is much more valuable than the pessimism of the thought´

17 September 2009

For Marco Ferraz, being a crew member of the Esperanza is a dream come true. He had always wanted to work for Greenpeace and by a stroke of good luck, he was able to join the ship in Cairns just in time for the first leg of Defending our Pacific Tour. The 29-year old Brazilian took to work on deck like fish to water. And as you can see on his profile pic, even after a dirty tiring day of deck work, his enthusiasm for the job still shines through!
Read on as Marco shares with us how his passion for the environment began and continues to this day.

I used to think that I was passionate for animals, forests, all the beauty we can see and feel in nature. Until I discovered that we are all just one; nature, humanity, planet Earth, are parts of a single thing.

Today, I know that I am passionate about life.

Therefore, I’ve always kept contact with the environment, ecology and the way our consumption and behaviour affect the global ecosystem. The oceans are especially fascinating because water demands from animals distinct adaptations compared with what we are used to seeing in terrestrial animals.

Very early on I decided to be a diver. When I was eighteen years old, I did my first dive course and I didn’t stop; courses, diving, new places, new animals. I wanted to become a professional quickly because recreational diving is still relatively expensive. Soon I became a divemaster and worked in fantastic places of the Southeastern Brazilian coast, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Bela. I was certain that I would spend the rest of my life at sea when I saw one of the sweet marine giants, the Manta Ray, in the Laje de Santos. Two enormous creatures played with the bubbles of our dive tanks while we delighted ourselves with their grace and size (around six meters of wing span). The study of Marine Biology complemented my passion and affinity. I moved to Santos, and studied in the University of Santa Cecília. I learned research methods and the functioning of the marine ecosystem. As the water is much denser than air, its biotic and abiotic components become more integrated and interdependent. That is, any local modification affects it all, making the marine environment more sensitive in relation to the terrestrial environment.

Like anyone who seeks information about the global discussions on ecology, I’ve been familiar with the work of Greenpeace for a long time, and always wanted to work with these people who always are where the problem is. People who not just think, discuss or write, but act. Because the optimism of the action is much more valuable than the pessimism of the thought.

To improve my qualifications after my degree, I went to the east coast of Australia to learn English and to explore the biggest colony of animals in the world: the Great Barrier Reef. I was working and studying in Cairns, when I read in the local newspaper that two activists had been arrested by the police, and that they came from a Greenpeace ship that was in town for a few days, the Esperanza. I didn’t waste time and, with my resume in hand, much will to work and a terrible English, went there. I offered to sail with them whenever and wherever they want. Their team was complete at that moment. But while they were in the city, I was around, helping with whatever I could, getting to know these really special people. One day before the Esperanza weighing anchor, the Captain calls me to say that someone left the ship and that I could go with them. Where? International waters of the Central Pacific. It was a dream coming true (literally)…

More than thirty people on board. More than fifteen distinct nationalities. People with very different cultures, but with the same will to fight against the great enemies of our oceans, the world-wide fishing industry that does not respect laws, agreements, and mainly, the capacity for renewal of the marine species.

The work on board, as in any big vessel, is not easy, but it is compensated with good food, excellent people, and unforgettable landscapes. This campaign aims to alert the world about the overfishing of oceanic species, mainly of tunas, in an area of great ecological importance that must be protected by law.

It is necessary to make people understand that on its rhythm, this industry is not sustainable. In a few years our stocks of oceanic fish will possibly collapse. The rhythm of human consumption is sped up, and our global resources will not support it for long. We need to give time to nature to renew itself, leaving it to make its work.