Activist funding her participation in causes — one can or bottle at a time

Are you hosting an event or a family gathering?

If so, Courtenay activist Tarah Millen would be more than happy to come pick up your returnable cans and bottles.

TARAH MILLEN is collecting empty cans and bottles to help finance her participation in two Sea Shepherd campaigns.

TARAH MILLEN is collecting empty cans and bottles to help finance her participation in two Sea Shepherd campaigns.

Are you hosting an event or a family gathering?

If so, Courtenay activist Tarah Millen would be more than happy to come pick up your returnable cans and bottles.

Millen, who has been to Taiji, Japan, twice to document the dolphin drive hunt with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is hosting a Bottlenose Dolphin Drive to raise money to take part in two Sea Shepherd campaigns.

Last fall, Millen and her partner, Ryan Hughes, travelled to Taiji as Cove Guardians to document and raise awareness of the slaughter of thousands of dolphins. They spent a combined three weeks in Taiji documenting the slaughter and placing pressure on the Japanese government to stop issuing hunting permits. They were also able to raise awareness of the destruction caused by the captive dolphin trade.

In March, Millen returned to Japan to document the slaughter of Dalls porpoises.

Millen started her bottle drive about a week ago, and she’s been going door to door to people’s homes on the weekends and going to different businesses and establishments in the city.

“It’s going good so far,” she said. “Everyone’s been very receptive and very kind.”

Millen got the idea for the Bottlenose Dolphin Drive from a friend who is also a Cove Guardian and was with Millen in Taiji in March when they survived a tsunami.

Not too long ago, Millen decided she was going to be a full-time activist, and she’s been out there fundraising every day.

Millen is dedicating all of her time to issues surrounding conservation, animal rights, environmental degradation and other issues that she feels passionately about.

Millen and Hughes are going to go to Taiji again, probably in November, as Cove Guardians. They plan to stay there for a month and then go straight to Australia and board a ship with Sea Shepherd to participate in the society’s Antarctic anti-whaling campaign to shut down the illegal whalers in Antarctica.

“We have some big plans ahead of us and a lot of work to do before going,” said Millen. “We want to go so bad, and we want to dedicate our time to it because people need to be doing it. We just found we can’t sit at home anymore. We need to be involved.”

Millen is doing her bottle drive in the most sustainable way she can, and she is cycling everywhere with a trailer and a milk crate attached to her bike.

Millen is collecting returnable cans and bottles from anyone who is willing to give them to her, and she is happy to pick them up, clean them and sort them for individuals, businesses, organizations.

“I want to make it as easy as possible for people and have them feel good about providing their bottles,” she said.

Millen has also set up an account at the Courtenay Return-It bottle depot on Puntledge Road. Anyone who would like to donate their recycling money to Millen’s campaign can say they want the money to go to Account 119, Cove Guardian.

Millen is interested in getting local schools involved in the Bottlenose Dolphin Drive, and she is eager to make presentations to students about her conservation efforts and about following your dreams and doing what you believe in, even if it might be a bit outside the norm.

“I know it’s that kind of presentation that brought me to this, and I’m so grateful,” she said. “I don’t know if I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for that presentation.”

Anyone who would like to help Millen can contact her at tarah.millen@hotmail.com, through her blog at www.dolphinguardian.blogspot.com or through the website www.what2cando.com, which she and Hughes have created to highlight their dreams and their work and to show what two people can do.

“Everyone thinks ‘I’m just one person,’ ” said Millen. “All it takes is one person to start gaining momentum and putting their passion toward a cause. We’re just trying to show people one person can make a difference, and if it’s two people, it’s doubly inspiring. There are a lot of people who look at situations in the world and feel completely helpless.”

People can also donate directly through Millen’s blog or through www.what2cando.com.

Millen is selling watermelon in downtown Courtenay around lunch time most days and can be recognized with her bright blue bike trailer and green milk crate, and she is planning a bake sale in the future.

Millen is also wondering if someone who has experience co-ordinating fundraisers might have any suggestions.

Millen is extremely grateful to Zen Zero for supporting her and Hughes in everything they have done so far.

“They have helped us out exponentially,” she said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have done half the things we’ve done. They’re wonderful people, and we’re very thankful to them.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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