The situation was dire for the southern resident orca whales (S.R.O.W.) less than two years ago as they lost their pod leader, Granny, a 103 year old orca whale, no new calves had been born in years, other adults were showing signs of malnutrition, and media and environmental outlets were describing them as ‘doomed’ and ‘headed for extinction’.
Despite the ominous outlook, people from all over the world continued to join the fight, using a combination of grassroots movements, legislative pressure, and donations to take on corporate interests and outdated government policies that were slowly starving these magnificent creatures.
One such orca ally emerged in the most unlikely of regions, as GO Active Living, a water bottle company from Chandler, Arizona began to rally people around the cause.
“I grew up in Seattle so marine life, and especially the orca whales, are a big part of the art, culture, and lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest.” said company founder Jason Ruff. “The situation was getting so bad that I did not want to look future generations in the eye and tell them that we, as a company, did nothing to prevent this.”
Earlier this year, the company began writing articles and using Facebook’s advertising platform to target Washington state residents, alerting them to the 4 bills that were up for a vote that would directly improve the living conditions for SROW.
By sharing links that went directly to local city council and legislators that would vote on these bills, these articles made it easy for residents of the state to understand the issues that were on the table, and informing their state and local representatives how they would like them to vote.
“I did not know the company was located in Arizona,” said one Seattle resident “but I sure appreciated how the information was provided and how simple it was to communicate with my local government. I did not realize that there was this method of direct communication with my city council and governor.”
The best part is, it worked!
Just last month, Washington state governor Jay Inslee put Southern Resident orca whale recovery in the forefront, due to increased correspondence from local government officials and state residents, he was supporting the 4 bills under consideration and made the plight of the SROW a focal point of his address to the state.
Two weeks later, all 4 bills passed, and will go into law in April of 2019.
“It is a huge victory for the orca whales and for the activists who work long hours to make people aware of the issue,” said Ruff “It has been a couple years of doom and gloom so people really needed this win to feel like they are making a difference.”
Just last month GO Active Living announced that they would be joining forces with the David Suzuki Foundation to further help bolster the amount of Chinook salmon in the waters where the SROW live and hunt.
Malnutrition is the leading cause of the decline of the population according to most experts so efforts to increase this pod of orca must address their lack of food.
The company launched a line up of orca themed bottles, with orca artwork packaging made from 100% recycled materials, and vibrant colors named after keystone species found in the orca whale environment.
“We feel incredibly optimistic. We have local government on our side, the federal government just ruled to increase protections, previously malnourished adults have been looking much healthier, and “Lucky” the first calf born in nearly a decade is looking healthy.”
To support GO Active or to join their community of Southern Resident orca whale supporters you can join their newsletter, follow them on social media, or purchase one of their new orca themed bottles for yourself or as a gift.
“This is a people victory!” exclaimed Ruff “This is how government should work, business should support the betterment of the globe over pure profits, and we should use social media and technology to gather, organize, and make positive changes.”