Nov 08, 2011 05:18AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photo by Dante Fontana
Not many people would put their lives and careers on hold to stop illegal whaling in Antarctica, but that’s exactly what El Dorado Hills elementary school P.E. teacher Matthew Kimura did.
For three months, he was the bosun (boatswain) on board the Bob Barker, one of a fleet of volunteer ships in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (seashepherd.org). The group appears on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, and their mission is to stop the needless slaughter of hundreds of whales each year under the guise of “research.” During Kimura’s expedition in 2009, the group managed to save more than 500 whales – an achievement that he is very proud of. “We made a huge difference,” he says.
However, the mission was not without risks. “Whalers rammed us and sunk one of our ships,” Kimura recalls. Yet for Kimura, the danger only reinforced the necessity of their mission. “I made a promise on the show to my students, to make sure they grew up in a world where there are whales,” says Kimura. These days, he often speaks at local elementary and high schools, encouraging young people to get involved in a cause. “It’ll make the world a better place,” Kimura says.
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