Nelson Mandela gave strength to Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson
In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death today, many tributes mention how the South African anti-apartheid visionary served as a source of inspiration or as a role model.
In a July 2011 satellite-phone interview with the Straight from the bridge of the Steve Irwin in the Shetland Islands’ Lerwick harbour, Paul Watson, the founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, invoked Mandela when asked how he remained positive in his decades-long struggle against the whaling industry and in his defence of the world’s oceans.
“I’m not pessimistic about anything,” he said just before heading north to take on the annual pilot-whale hunt in the Faroe Islands. “You just have to have enough passion and perseverance. I always point to 1972: the very idea that Nelson Mandela would be president of South Africa was unthinkable, unimaginable, and impossible, yet it happened. So I’m eternally optimistic.”