Janelle is a marine biologist and activist from California. We interviewed this Thessalonike Girl about her recent adventures in Egypt and plans for her future dive brand, Dive Cipactli.
T: If you could honestly choose to live permanently underwater, would you?
JVR: Of course, 100%, most definitely yes!
T: What are the top three places you're dying to visit?
JVR: Ohh thats hard. I have so many, but top the three currently would be Maldives, Norway, and Tahiti.
PHOTO: KYLER BADTEN
T: How did the environmental issues in Egypt affect you?
JTR: The environmental issues in Egypt really put things into perspective for me. You can’t blame the people either, they literally have nothing and there is a lack of infrastructure, and a lot of corruption. In the cities we went to, anywhere is a dump for trash. Your house, the road, the desert, the rivers, everything. There’s just garbage waste and plastic everywhere. These are issues we need a solution to but it seems like the only way to end this is going straight to the source which is the manufacturing of plastic itself.
T: If you could change one perception the public has about wildlife and the planet, what would it be?
JTR: This is a good question, I think about it a lot.. I think to change someone perspective, I would want to create a better connection between humans and nature. In this case I would want to get to peoples emotions, and have them feel more conscious about how their actions affect the world around them. I think a lack of connection to the natural world is our biggest threat, so thats what I would want to change.
T: What are your three favorite Thessalonike items?
JTR: My favorite Thessa items would most definitely be the tiger shark Pareo because it is so versatile, it can be used for soooo many things making it a travel necessity. Also the Nikita Necklace because its the perfect dainty piece that I can wear always with any outfit, even diving! Im obsessed with rings so I have to say the nikki ring & manta ring as well because tiger sharks and mantas are in my top three favorite animals!
T: Tell us about Dive Cipactli!
JVR: Our dream for Cipactli is to create an authentic eco friendly dive brand. Cipactli will support conservationists that are dedicating their lives to exposing the state of our oceans. I’ve been inspired by so many organizations and individuals that we want to be able to give back, while also doing the least amount of harm to the ocean and environment by producing sustainable quality products. We want to inspire people to help restore our planet.
T: What's your main advice to others interested in making their day to day lives more eco-friendly and safer for the ocean?
JTR: My main advice about making more eco-friendly decisions is to remember that everything we use, make or discard of has an environmental impact of some kind, but we have the decision to make it a small or a large one. As Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia says, “If we want to save nature we need to be more conscious of our lifestyle We need to protect these areas of unaltered wildness and diversity to have a baseline, so we never forget what the real world is like—in perfect balance, the way nature intended the earth to be. This is the model we need to keep in mind on our way toward sustainability.”
T: I heard that you were having such good luck seeing rarer species of sharks in the Red Sea that your Egyptian dive guides gave you a nickname. What is it?
JVR: I was given the nickname Malika by the crew, it stuck very quickly. Malika means Queen in Egyptian Arabic. Towards the end of the trip they started calling me Malika alqurush which means Queen of the Sharks.
T: Where do you hope you'll be in ten years?
JTR: In ten years, I hope to be living on the Big Island with all my friends in our own little sustainable community. Where we rescue animals, eat from the land, and dive EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
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