What do you want to be when you grow up?
You probably remember hearing people ask you that when you were maybe five-years-old. Then in high school the question probably got a little more urgent.
Many first year university students I encounter still don’t know, and even some students on the verge of getting their degree are still at a loss as to what they want to do. It’s not always easy to figure it out.
I do get quite a few students who know what they want to do when they grow up, and many of these are seeking a career following their passion to care for the earth.
In fact, that’s my story. When I was nine-years-old I gave a speech in my Grade 4 class about endangered species and I knew I would pursue a career in the environmental field, and I have been fortunate to be able to follow my dream.
I want to introduce you to someone else who has followed her dream.
Elizabeth Zwamborn had a passion for whales and marine biology since she was very young.
And now she is full-blown whale researcher, having studied whales off our coast here, off the Atlantic coast and in the Galapagos Islands.
Elizabeth says that, “I knew from an early age that I was passionate about the conservation of marine life — particularly whales. They are often negatively associated with anthropogenic crises such as pollution, overfishing, and climate change.”
She resonates with poet Frank Stewart who wrote, “If we can destroy such remarkable marine mammals — beasts who do not compete with us for living space, who are not predators on our domestic livestock… and whose complexity and beauty are impressive and enriching — then nothing is safe from our destructive impulse.”
She continues: “My quest to learn more about the secret lives of whales has taken me around the world, from studying the vocalizations of long-finned pilot whales off Nova Scotia to tracking the cultural networking associations of sperm whales in tropical waters.”
You can hear Elizabeth speak as part of a presentation marking the launch of the new Department of Geography and Environment at Trinity Western University.
Saving the Whales in the 21st Century is taking place at 7 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 22 in the Northwest Auditorium at TWU.
For more information contact David Clements at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Clements, Ph.D. is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.