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Redefine Your Limits
An interview with champion freediver Tanya Streeter.
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Introducing Tanya
• Part 2: Tanya Talks Training
• Part 3: What Is She Afraid Of?
• Part 4: Disciplines & Records
• Part 5: Environmental Projects
• Part 6: What's She Doing Now?
• Part 7: Negative Suggestion & Shallow Water Blackout
• Part 8: Holding Your Breath
• Part 9: Water Temperature
• Part 10: Things to Remember
 Related Resources
• Freediving: The Origins of Scuba
 From Other Guides
• About Free Diving
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Tanya Streeter's Official Website
• The Whaleman Foundation
• The Reefball Foundation
• The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

I also read on your website that you’re involved in some environmental projects.

One of the…rewarding things about having achieved the success that I have freediving is that I can have a little soap box that I can get up and preach from and if I’m lucky I don’t bore people to death. They listen. I’m just like anybody else who loves the ocean and wants to protect everything in it. Now I have an opportunity to give back to it because people do listen and better than that is that I’ve been invited to work with different organizations to help raise the profile of the great work that they do. That, for me, is a huge passion that, as far as I’m concerned, I just don’t get enough time for. But, it’s my way of fulfilling even more childhood dreams-- protecting the ocean and protecting the animals that are in it.

The Reefball Foundation is an organization [that] restores, rebuilds and places new reefs in different areas if they’re needed either for tourism, local fisheries, when reefs are damaged or even to protect the beaches from erosion. Instead of dumping a big old car engine in there, they’ve come up with this very cool design that kind of gives nature a…start. They’ve placed a reefball down there…designed with water flow in mind, with how the coral can stick and grow, how the fish are going to use it, different things like this. I help to promote their work and I go on trips with them.

The Whaleman Foundation does work to raise awareness of the plights of whales and dolphins and marine mammals in our oceans. They’re a small organization, but they do some good work with the bigger guys. They affiliate themselves and they helped stop Mitsubishi [from] nearly wipe out one of the last remaining mating grounds for the [California] gray whale.

The other organization is The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. They are a big organization…based in England. They [are similar to] The Whaleman Foundation. They’re actually very anti-captivity and they work to raise awareness for the dangers and plights that animals face in captivity and the absolute senselessness of keeping any animal in captivity. I think that maybe ten or fifteen years ago the argument could be deemed less valid because you need to keep a certain amount of animals in captivity to educate the populous about the millions of them in the wild. But, with today’s technology-- the way we can see animals in the wild, the way we can simulate animals in the wild on the TV or computer screen, the ease now that you can go on a trip and see them in the wild and appreciate them-- [it] kind of takes away from the necessity to go and see dolphins perform and make circus acts out of them. I do believe captivity is getting to the point where it simply serves no purpose. They [The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society] work really hard, especially to release the 16 Orcas-- killer whales-- that are in captivity around the world. We’re human beings. We’re sensitive people. We should understand what we’re putting these animals through. It’s like taking you and five complete strangers and locking you in a broom closet for the rest of your lives then making you do tricks for dead fish. You wouldn’t do it as a human being and it’s an insult to the intelligence, beauty and awesome power of the animals to take a 40-ton creature and lock it in a swimming pool. A lot of those animals are suitable for release now and we all know that Keiko is being released (Free Willy Keiko). They’re working hard at releasing him up in Iceland. He’s not far from being released, but there’s another fifteen. These animals don’t live for twenty years, they live for…sixty years. They only live for twenty years in captivity because they’re so bloody miserable. They’re not suited to it. They all rave about how this animal stayed with [them] twenty-five years before it died. It was still in it’s infancy at twenty-five years. It’s something I feel is really important, and…I don’t have enough time to work with them. I hope that one of the things that will happen…when I do decide to give up competitive freediving is that I will be able to give more time to organizations like that. But, of course I have to keep my profile up so that they still want me and so people still listen to me.

It’s a little difficult. It’s kind of a juggling act. I’ve been involved in smaller efforts…with the American Oceans Campaign [and] the Great American Fish Count. My participation in things like that is so that a couple extra TV cameras come down and they have a slightly more interesting headline to their story and it does serve a purpose. People read and people learn. Then they support the organization and they ultimately help the aquatic environment. Next page > What's She Doing Now? > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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