Allow things to unfold and you will find your purpose in life | Peggy Oki | TEDxQueenstown


Translator: Phuong Cao
Reviewer: Queenie Lee (Video starts) Peggy Oki: Oh my God! (Laughter) Captain Andy: It’s a whale. (Video ends) That was me in the background
saying, “Oh my God!” while I was visiting with some
humpback whale researchers in Alaska. The guy on the deck
shouting, “It’s a whale!” (Laughter) that’s captain Andy, who happens
to be a humpback whale researcher with quite some enthusiasm even after seeing hundreds
of humpback whales. And I’ve had a large number of encounters
with dolphins and whales myself, and I still feel very excited
when I see them. I’m just inspired by the graceful movement
of a 100-to-150-tonne whale, seeming to be moving so effortlessly
through its fluid movement in the ocean. And I’d emulate that style – that’s just graceful,
I love that graceful movement – in the things that I try to do
in my surfing and skateboarding. Over 40 years ago,
I was the only female member of the famous Zephyr skateboard team,
featured in Dogtown and Z-boys. We were known to live a little bit
outside the box, be a bit rebellious. While lots of kids were trying
to figure out how to stay out of school, we were getting into them
to skate the banks, and getting in to skate the pools, which led to our surfing style
that was our trademark: vertical skateboarding, that led
to what you see in today’s X Games. And of course, I still love surfing
that I’ve been doing for over 40 years. The action of surfing waves; but also, I get a lot from just
the thousands of hours I’ve spent sitting on my board waiting for waves
in between that time, of just having the rhythms
of the ocean beneath me, and encounters with sea life
and seabirds coming around. At the time I was on the skateboard team, I was also studying field zoology
and environmental biology. I had a real interest in animal behavior, especially in the social behavior
of dolphins and whales. They are also known as Cetaceans,
and I refer to them as Cetacean Nation. Orcas, the largest member
of the dolphin family, stay together their entire lives. Sperm whales. I’m a sperm whale groupie. (Laughter) They are the world’s
largest toothed mammal. They possess the world’s largest brain. They can dive to depths of 2,000 meters
and hold their breath for up to an hour. But what really touched me
the most about them as I was learning about their behavior is that even in fatal conditions,
where their lives are in danger, they will never abandon
their injured or sick. As I was studying animal behavior, scientists were coming out and saying
that play is a sign of intelligence. And here we are with dolphins surfing. Another connection that I feel
to these beings as a surfer myself and seeing dolphins as I’m surfing
and they are surfing waves too. Whales also surf. Imagine a school bus
dropping in on a wave at Pipeline. (Laughter) It’s happened. (Laughter) If that’s not enough to impress you
about Cetaceans, there are many stories of dolphins
encountering humans. And this is one from Whangarei
in New Zealand 12 years ago, a lifeguard, a father of three, had his three daughters
out swimming for practice off of ocean beach, 100 meters out, when seven dolphins approached them,
slapping their flukes, circling these swimmers,
almost as if they were hurting them. They weren’t afraid of dolphins, so they just kept swimming
and thought, yeah, this is pretty cool. But a lifeguard from the shore
saw what was going on, he thought it was really odd too
and decided to go check it out. He got on his little boat, went to just
outside of where the dolphins were and into the water, and what did he see? A three-meter long shark,
a great white shark. What a great day to have dolphins
swimming around you! (Laughter) In the 20th century alone,
nearly three million whales were killed. Many of them are still endangered. In the early 80s, thanks to
protests and public outcry, the International Whaling Commission
announced that in 1986, they were going to have a moratorium
on commercial whaling. A victory. We saved the whales. I remember that day. I would remember that time
that “Wow, the whaling was going to end.” Despite the millions of whales
that have been killed, there has never been a known attack
of a whale on a human. Imagine a world without war,
revenge, or retaliation, one of forgiveness and compassion. I pondered the wisdom of whales, and I thought, what would it be like
to look into the eyes of a whale. So I created this painting
of a gray whale’s eye. And then, in less than a year, on Christmas morning in 1999 while I was surfing a great spot
down in Southern California, catching really fun waves, I paddled back out and sat on my board
waiting for my next wave, a gray whale, 15 meters away from me,
just 15 meters away, lifted its head up out of the water,
like the periscope of a submarine, looking around and it looked at me, our eyes met, and I was just ecstatic;
I was blown away; I had no fear at all. This whale was so close to me,
but I was just in awe. And then, the whale just
went back underwater, and right next to it,
another gray whale surfaced, raising its huge arching back
out of the water and just going back underneath,
and they disappeared. I knew how rare that experience was. That’s very rare for whale, to come that close to a human
in their own environment. So I felt I needed to look into it. What was going on
with whales at that time? Little did I know that that experience
was actually going to be changing my life. I found out that despite the moratorium when the whales were supposed
to be protected in 1986, that they were still being killed. And numbers of up to over 1,800 whales
were being killed every year. Between Norway’s commercial
whaling activities and the scientific whaling of Japan,
and Iceland recently joining in as well. In 2007, the Japanese government announced that they were going to Antarctica
to kill 50 humpback whales. As an artist, I felt I needed
to do something about it. So I came up with an idea of painting
a portrait series of 50 humpback whales based on photo-identification records of actual humpback whales
sighted off of Antarctica. The markings on humpback
whales are as unique as the fingerprints on a human. These are sentient individual beings
that I wanted to somehow help. So, I did this art series,
which may have seemed a bit obsessive, I was wondering if people would think,
“Oh, she’s really crazy.” But actually, the show
was quite well-received, and I was really glad that I was able
to do something like that. I also tried to raise awareness
and appreciation of Cetaceans by doing large paintings of them;
such as for whales. This is an oil on board that is one and a half meters wide
of a sperm whale fluke, and it is big, but a sperm whale
is actually twice the size of that. This particular painting
caught the attention of the Santa Barbara Whale
Festival organizer, who invited me to come up with
children’s whale art activities at the Santa Barbara Whale Festival. So, I thought of origami whales. What about a goal, something meaningful with this effort, OK. 1,400 origami whales to represent the number of whales
that was going to be killed in that year. It seemed like a huge endeavor,
but the whale festival, we got children coming in,
people of all ages folding origami whales. We got halfway there and working
with animal welfare organizations who posted information
about my campaign on their websites. People from all over the country
of the United States. People from all over the world
started sending me origami whales. And I reached that goal, and then was provided the opportunity
to present these whales to the International Whaling Commissioner
of the United States. How am I going to bring
these whales to Washington DC in the most visually impactful way? I’m not going to show up with two big
plastic bags full of origami whales. How about a plexiglass cylinder
of all these origami whales as if they are kind of
in a display tank or something? Oh. No way! These animals swim 50 miles a day. They are just such beautiful beings
that should never be kept in a tank. So then I thought of
a curtain of origami whales so that each individual whale
would be recognized. When I shared the idea with my friend,
she said, “Let’s do it at my house.” And six other friends came
for an entire weekend, and we hand-stitched
these origami whales into a strand; that’s the first curtain of origami whales
that went to Washington DC. There is the IWC commissioner
of the United States at that time. Since then, I’ve created many curtains
of origami whales and dolphins for different efforts,
through my Origami Whale Project. Which leads me
to a little side-note, I guess. When I went to New Zealand in 1980,
for my first time, following the endless summer,
and I landed into Raglan. Yes. This is my 19th time in Raglan. I learned about the Maui’s dolphin,
the world’s smallest dolphin, which is unique to New Zealand, and it’s also critically in danger. In 2006, learning that there was
only 111 of these dolphins left, I decided to create a curtain
of origami Maui’s dolphins, through Maui’s Dolphin Day. But 111 being such a small number, I wanted to get attention to this issue, so I decided to create a curtain
of 1,111 Maui’s dolphins so that 1,111 Maui’s dolphins
would draw some attention. People would go, “What
is that big thing of paper dolphins?” And then right beside it, this little curtain of 111,
just to show how relatively few are left. This curtain was exhibited at Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand,
for three months, and then it went to the Waikato Museum
in New Zealand for two months. I felt, wow, this wis really great,
working with the children of all ages and having our exhibit
in such fine places. It takes a lot of people,
hundreds of people, folding origami whales,
thousands and lots of volunteers. But I was feeling very frustrated
about the lack of information getting out about whales being killed despite the moratorium
when they are supposed to be protected. So, in 2006, I came up with the idea
to create a curtain to represent the number of whales
that had been killed. That was 25,000 in that year. But I was an ambitious endeavor
that I felt I needed to take on. As 2007 was approaching,
that number grew to 30,000, but I said if I get that many whales,
I’m going to make a curtain, and I’m going to bring it to the International Whaling Commission
meetings in Alaska, which I did. Since then, I’ve exhibited the curtain
three years in a row at Whale Day on Maui. The curtain was exhibited inside of two
massive festival tents joined together, and the numbers keep growing. It went to 32,000, 34,000, 36,000 because each year I update the curtain to represent that number
of these magnificent beings. Each paper whale representing
a real whale that was killed that should have been protected. People of all ages have entered,
thousands of people, into the exhibit, they peek in and they see
the sunlight on the whales and the air flowing through the curtain
with all these colorful whales. They are not quite sure what to expect. As they walk through
this long maze of whales and read messages on them and realize the numbers
that they’ve just walked past … Some people come out feeling
a bit overwhelmed and in tears and thanking me for what I’ve done. I feel really grateful
for that opportunity to work with people, to create art that has meaning, an art that empowers
through participation, art that has purpose. I’ve had the honor of meeting
some of the volunteers of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Here’s one of them. The Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society volunteers, they go out to some dangerous places
in the world, including Antarctica. They get in their ships and, literally,
get between a whaler ship and a whale. Putting their lives on the line
with direct action, which is something that very few people
would be willing to do. In 2007, I invited Captain Paul Watson to view my exhibit
of the origami whales curtain. And he came out to another event, a few months later,
and gave me this medal of honor. I was really thrilled that my work
was being acknowledged by somebody who does some
of the most dangerous work to save whales, while I’m doing something
on the other end of the spectrum, working with kids and people of all ages
to raise awareness for the whales. A few years ago, as I was being inducted
into the Skateboard Hall of Fame, one of my friends referred to me as
“Saving the world, one whale at a time.” I’d like to think that
everybody who has participated by folding origami whales
and helping me stitch these curtains has been a part of that. Lots of people can have passion. You don’t have to be passionate
about seeing whales and dolphins. It’s turning passion into action
that can make a difference in the world. I never imagined that the Berlin Wall
would come tumbling down. But some passionate people did. They took action and it happened. I never imagined
that nations across the world would ban circuses
from using wild animals. Some passionate people did,
and it happened. I never imagined that with one remaining female
New Zealand black robin left, that that species would be brought back
from the brink of extinction. Some passionate people did,
and it happened. What sort of thing do you
feel passionate about that you feel you could
make a difference in the world for? This summer, in Raglan, while I was teaching the Whales
and Dolphins Ambassador Program, one of my students, 12-year-old Ala,
asked me for some advice. I said, “Follow your heart
with vision and actions. Create your own folds and you will connect
with your Porpoise in Life.” (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause) (Cheering)

100 thoughts on “Allow things to unfold and you will find your purpose in life | Peggy Oki | TEDxQueenstown”

  1. Follow your passion with vision and action..I have a passion for the trees …for years I have prayed to God to save the whales from the greedy hands of men… nature is comfort to our eyes and souls…

  2. I'm glad that this TED talk appeared in my recommendation. Such a compassionate, inspiring lady! As an animal lover, I even teared up listening to her stories and now I'm inspired to do something myself to save the animals on our beautiful planet ❤ Thank you a lot for this amazing talk!

  3. 🙏💜🌎 Lovely compassionate human being
    thank u for the work u do on behalf of sentient beings who cannot speak for themselves.

  4. As as a 71-year old ex-surfer myself, I couldn't help but be impressed and moved by your video… I was even a skateboarder, ten years before skateboarding became popular, simply taking piece of 2×4 and nailing my sister's old skates to the bottom of it. I had more fun on that old piece of wood than any expensive high tech skateboard, and more joy on 9'8" long Hobie surfboard than any short, high tech "sports model."

    Your painting of that whale's eye was no "accident." I KNOW that that whale who looked at you actually knew that you were a friend, because of a cousin who swam with the dolphins in Florida recently. The dolphin trainer noticed that all of the dolphins began immediately separating one woman from the rest of the swimmers, as though they were protecting her. Later, they discovered that the woman was pregnant. These wonderful sea creatures know much more than we'll ever know, like that humpback that actually knew the content of your heart. I'm so glad you're trying to protect them. Be well Peggie, and… Surf's Up!!!

  5. Jesus is the reason I live and am able to love, even my enemies ❤️🙏🏼😊📖

    If anyone is interested,
    I make inspirational videos and vlog my adventures.
    Would love if you checked some out!
    God Bless 💗

  6. The thumbnail gave me an impression of her as a bhikkuni (female monk). She might not be ordained as one but she's no less 🙂

  7. Came for a "life coach" type of video.
    Got half of a story I've heard 1000's of versions of.
    Yes, I do believe her story is more than deserving of being told and listened to, but not served like this as an ambush attack.

  8. I was attractive by her natural. To me she is really beautiful naturally. I watch her speaking until final seconds.
    No need deeply make up, nice dress or try to be in good appearance …the natural is the real beauty

  9. It was so beutiful and true! I almost cried! You dont need proves that shes kind, you can joust see it in your face!

  10. She is enriched because she is tapped into something deeper and has found a higher purpose outside of herself. She is not concerned with superficial and trivial matters that a lot of us in the west are concerned about. She is rally rooted and you can feel it.

  11. Just allow and let things unfold in the time they need. Nature doesn’t stress and push, she knows that everything has it time. She knows that things need to fully ground and root themselves before they can shine. From dormant darkness to shining light.

  12. If you haven't seen the Z-Boys documentary it is just amazing! I'm happy to see where this lady's life has taken her.

  13. Such a great speech. Humans exploit and abuse animals so much. All animals deserve respect – from whales and tigers to pigs and cows. They are all sentient, special and their lives matter.

  14. YES! I too am working at Saving The Word, One Trailer Park at a Time. If we all do better, we'd all be doing better.

  15. Turning passion into action..love that saying..follow your heart with vision and action..create your own folds and u will connect with your purpose in life…her heart is speaking..or is it the universe speaking through her soul?

  16. When you're not jinxed or cursed with bad luck it's easy to preach about embracing life and allowing opportunities to happen…Try living a life full of "catch 22's, ironic twists, cruel fate, freak accidents, paradoxical outcomes, damned if you do and damned if you don't, case of mistaken identity, worst case scenarios, being scapegoated, victim blamed and finding yourself in situations that constantly play out in reverse where you end up being wrongfully accused, arrested, blamed and disbelieved despite the fact that you're being completely truthful, while the real perpatrator is quickly believed by everyone despite being an abusive, narcissistic pathological liar.

  17. She begins her talk with tidbits about her studies & encounters with whales & dolphins. The bigger message starts at about 5:40 in the video.

  18. There really is no need What So Ever to be killing whales in this day and age. We have everything that they could possibly provide many times over by what already exists. The only thing we get by killing them now is the death of other sentient life forms on this planet to never be seen again. This would be no different if there were beings coming here to this planet and killing many millions of humans each and everyday. This is the kind of thing that we are doing to other species through our allowing this killing to continue. Why do we have to murder and kill other things on this planet for no other reason than we can find a way of getting away with it.

    I am wondering why some people have not put some kind of weapon inside of whales so when they die it will destroy all the boats in the area that are close by, as this is what it will likely take to stop those people from killing them.

  19. Humanely Kill

    what does that mean
    mummy?
    It was a long time ago
    something humans
    were taught to believe.
    Why Mummy?
    I’d rather not talk about it
    Why Mummy?
    It’s not a good thing
    to have in your head
    now
    up to bed.

  20. Why was Japan going to kill 50 hump back whales? Why? A display of the human condition at its worst. Sacred, beautiful animals such as whales and dolphins should be honored and protected. All animals should, they are a manifestation of the divine. This woman is amazing.

  21. Thanks her and people who work on saving the whales/dolphin/etc. I hope she can bring all these whale arts to those countries still kill whales/dolphins and to teach the children and adults there and change the culture grassroots up.

  22. This message was a breath of fresh air and beautifully communicating throguh making our own folds we connect with our purpose in life; Love and Compassion. =)

  23. Why raising my vibration. It is 35 years life full enjoyable now vibration no need now my job work is differ to do that respect ivly going need it .

  24. I could see the passion in her eyes and feel the care in her voice. Why must humans be so greedy in consuming whale products .. aren't they simply beautiful where they belong? We must question the folks who promtote this trade make them feel guilty. Kudos to your great work in saving the majestic creatures.

  25. She is beautiful and brave! Whales must live so that humans can survive! She understands! So sad that whales are killed for ridiculous human reasons!

  26. Peggy Oki, you are one of the chosen. You just can't teach that! I just wish that I was like you. When I let things unfold, I just end up with the consequences, in hot water, like I didn't believe or try hard enough…like my heart was in the wrong place or something, because I am not one of the chosen.

  27. how can be negative comment to this talk defending life and wonderfull personn, just blow my mind away

  28. russia has right now 100 whales in underwater jails, these are to sell to china for their "marine parks" 14 more to open in the future, 60 parks already open i believe! They get 6 million $ per each whale. some belugas are even pregnant in these underwater cages. This was discovered by a drone flying over the ocean! terrible! please lets fix this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. I've seen this video before some time ago. I remember all the stuff about whales. Does she ever actually get to the point that is in the title? I have skipped around so much and all I'm getting is what I already know about her whale stuff. I wish people would learn how to get to the point, or at least sum up in the end if they don't understand enough to get to their own point without excessively showing off about things like whales (which I wouldn't mind if it were my 1st time watching and I didn't already know). Later you will remember all this stuff about whales, but not what this video is suppose to be about, not the actual life lesson you needed (at least a reminder of – clearly she doesn't teach it in a memorable way, just teaches about whales memorably).

  30. What would it be like if beings from another planet showed up here and started treating us like we treat life here? Now think about this…. what if they justified it as revenge for the all the life every last human on this planet is guilty of extinguishing ?
    What if it was to advance or to sustain their kind? What if they wiped us out for something they could have simply gotten elsewhere, without harming us or any other life form but done it just because they could? How many people would agree with that way of thinking and serve themselves up? Don't believe in aliens? Think we are alone in this universe? Wll then, now i see why SOME people cling to outdated beliefs that no longer serve us. WAKE UP PEOPLE, WE ALL ONE IN THE SAME!!!

  31. An effective ART; Simulations of the Japanese 'fishermen' ankle strung up and pasted, permanently upon all Humanity's doors. Anything, 'nice' is insulting.

  32. Peggy has given a magnificent talk speaking from her heart. But what's with the audience? seemingly no audible response or movement.

  33. As we humans add 100 million new earth people per year. The animals gotta go by default? Humans have killed off not half, but 60% of all living creatures. You cannot have 100 million new residents on earth without killing more animals. Yes, we love all the animals, but yet keep voting for and propagating more humans, why, because businesses want to sell more people more goods, and gubberment politicos want more socialism voters keeping populations skyrocketing for one party domination. You can have great creatures but not more humans. You pick one, more people or more animals? Answer appears to be no animals at all, unless they are in zoos. Wishing for unicorns and happy dreams will end in dystopian nightmares for the animals and humans.

  34. what an amazing woman you are! I am in awe of your passion and productivity!!! You feel it and make it happen..how inspiring! Your words and presence bring peace and intelligence and the evolution I have craved in this world…Beautiful!

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