Taylor Finderup is a girl on a mission. At just 15 years of age she has lead a number of campaigns that are making real cultural and environmental change, received multiple awards for her work and inspired an immeasurable number of people along the way. Having worked alongside the SPCA, Sea Shepherd, Hectors Dolphin Defense, Sustainable Coastlines and the Green Party to name just a few, Taylor has the experience that would rival many, much older individuals and the potential to make a huge difference within our country and our world.
What’s happening in the world of Taylor Finderup for 2014?
Well 2014 has so far been the craziest year of my life. In terms of personal life, I've decided to go vegan, learning Hawaiian and spend lots of time in the surf! But for my campaign, we've have had some major victories such as the shark fin ban, but also some pretty nasty upsets like whats happening with the last 55 Maui dolphins. I guess it's all about perseverance though, and campaigning isn't about trying, being told no and giving up – it’s all about having that goal and using your passion to fight for it. If you’re successful you'll win the battle, or you'll die trying.
Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you?
It's hard to name just one, but the most generous, would have to be Guy Ryan. He holds an annual film competition aimed at young people and with the help of a mate of mine (who I have to give some cred to for his amazing work so mahalo Mason Packer), we managed to grab a few prizes and lots of recognition. It instantly grew my campaign and then this year I spoke at Festival for the Future which Guy also organises. I mean here's a man who dedicates his entire life to helping young people like me achieve their goals and make their dreams a reality, which is not only inspiring, but in my case it was truly life changing, and without his generosity, I have no idea if I could have reached out to so many people.
Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated?
Spreading the aloha sprit. I could go into great detail, but to put it simply it's all about being kind, happy, forgiving and spreading love. It seems super simple but when friends and even strangers smile at you, you realise there are some pretty rad people in this world, and it can honestly brighten up someone's day!
Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why?
Surfing. For me surfing isn't just fun, and it isn't just a sport but being a surfer is a way of life. You’re out in the sea and you feel the energy of the ocean buzzing below you, the waves are pumping, everyone around you is smiling, and I guess you feel at one with nature. You feel clean and fresh and generally peaceful.
Animals. One of my favourite quotes is from a documentary about orcas in captivity called 'Blackfish' which goes "you look into their eyes and you know someone's home". Animals are here WITH us, NOT for us, and I think it's so inspiring to think about the fact that we exist on this earth with so many unique life forces.
Jack Johnson. He's probably my biggest inspiration for so many reasons. First off he's Hawaiian which is where my soul comes from, he's a rad musician who got me into guitar, and he shreds on the waves like nobody else. But the fact he directs the attention he gets from his fame to oceanic causes is simply amazing. Jack donated a significant amount of money to Sustainable Coastlines NZ, and I'm a big youth advocate there, and I know that the team are incredibly thankful. He's just an all-round man full of stoke!
Learn more at www.facebook.com/stopwithfinning