Lamya Essemlali (cold open) No, I didn’t think this was not a good idea. I signed up for this. We signed up to stop it. When we found it we weren’t going away. But the Nissan Miru would stop, it was coming straight at us. We have 30 seconds in the water and that’s it, we’re dead.

I’m J.R. Biersmith and on this episode how Lamb- yah Essemlali moved from the suburbs of Paris to high stakes campaigns to save the oceans as the leader of Sea Shephard France.

In 2004, Lamya enrolled in a masters of science  program at the University of Sorbonne. She was 24.

As the daughter of a cleaning lady, her mother’s wishes extended no further than the stability and security that comes with a secretary job.

But this was also the same Moroccan mother who took her daughter to her native Casablanca every summer where she would fall in love with the Atlantic Ocean waves that crashed into the shore.

A year into her masters program, a friend told her about a notable conservation activist named Paul Watson who was coming to town to speak about direct action marine-conservation campaigns.

It was a Sunday. A Sunday she’ll never forget because that’s the day she told a man many had dubbed a modern day pirate for his tactics on the high seas, that she wanted to joined the fight.

I first caught up with Lamya in San Diego. She was in town for a global sea Shephard Board meeting. We met just before dusk on the bow of a Sea Shephard boat- you’ll hear the wind and harbor noises from time to time as they pass by us though the cabin and back out to sea.

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