Friday, August 19, 2011

Article in Comox Valley Record

Hello everyone,

I am often astounded by the generosity that comes out of the community in which Ryan and I live. We moved across Canada to reside in the Comox Valley because we desired a change of scene. The two of us wanted to live in an area where people valued the environment over corporate interest. Upon arrival in the Valley we knew we had in a sense; come home. Not only is this pristine valley surrounded by majestic mountains and the beautiful ocean, there also exists here a level of consciousness that I have not witnessed elsewhere.

Not only this, but many have supported our fundraising efforts here in the Comox Valley. Many people, businesses and organizations have assisted Ryan and I in times of need, and for that we are very grateful. We would like to thank Zen Zero, Pat Newson, Lindsay Chung, all of our wonderful friends, and the many anonymous and public supporters of our endeavours. Each and every one of you are essential in making the work we do possible.

Today Lindsay Chung released a story about our current fundraising. I have been collecting empty bottles, cans and cartons for one week at this time and I have encountered many generous individuals willing to donate their recyclables to our cause. I have also been selling watermelon slices by donation in down town Courtenay to raise funds. Both of these methods have been very successful. The start of my career as a full time activist seems not only possible, but now probable. A ray of hope has been shining down. I can't possibly explain the relief I feel knowing now that I can dedicate my life to my passions.

Here is the wonderful story written by Lindsay:

Activist funding her participation in causes — one can or bottle at a time

By Lindsay Chung - Comox Valley Record
Published: August 18, 2011 5:00 PM

Are you hosting an event or a family gathering?
If so, Courtenay activist Tarah Millen would be more than happy to come pick up your returnable cans and bottles.
Millen, who has been to Taiji, Japan, twice to document the dolphin drive hunt with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is hosting a Bottlenose Dolphin Drive to raise money to take part in two Sea Shepherd campaigns.
Last fall, Millen and her partner, Ryan Hughes, travelled to Taiji as Cove Guardians to document and raise awareness of the slaughter of thousands of dolphins. They spent a combined three weeks in Taiji documenting the slaughter and placing pressure on the Japanese government to stop issuing hunting permits. They were also able to raise awareness of the destruction caused by the captive dolphin trade.
In March, Millen returned to Japan to document the slaughter of Dalls porpoises.
Millen started her bottle drive about a week ago, and she's been going door to door to people's homes on the weekends and going to different businesses and establishments in the city.
"It's going good so far," she said. "Everyone's been very receptive and very kind."
Millen got the idea for the Bottlenose Dolphin Drive from a friend who is also a Cove Guardian and was with Millen in Taiji in March when they survived a tsunami.
Not too long ago, Millen decided she was going to be a full-time activist, and she's been out there fundraising every day.
Millen is dedicating all of her time to issues surrounding conservation, animal rights, environmental degradation and other issues that she feels passionately about.
Millen and Hughes are going to go to Taiji again, probably in November, as Cove Guardians. They plan to stay there for a month and then go straight to Australia and board a ship with Sea Shepherd to participate in the society's Antarctic anti-whaling campaign to shut down the illegal whalers in Antarctica.
"We have some big plans ahead of us and a lot of work to do before going," said Millen. "We want to go so bad, and we want to dedicate our time to it because people need to be doing it. We just found we can't sit at home anymore. We need to be involved."
Millen is doing her bottle drive in the most sustainable way she can, and she is cycling everywhere with a trailer and a milk crate attached to her bike.
Millen is collecting returnable cans and bottles from anyone who is willing to give them to her, and she is happy to pick them up, clean them and sort them for individuals, businesses, organizations.
"I want to make it as easy as possible for people and have them feel good about providing their bottles," she said.
Millen has also set up an account at the Courtenay Return-It bottle depot on Puntledge Road. Anyone who would like to donate their recycling money to Millen's campaign can say they want the money to go to Account 119, Cove Guardian.
Millen is interested in getting local schools involved in the Bottlenose Dolphin Drive, and she is eager to make presentations to students about her conservation efforts and about following your dreams and doing what you believe in, even if it might be a bit outside the norm.
"I know it's that kind of presentation that brought me to this, and I'm so grateful," she said. "I don't know if I'd be where I am today if it wasn't for that presentation."
Anyone who would like to help Millen can contact her at, through her blog at or through the website, which she and Hughes have created to highlight their dreams and their work and to show what two people can do.
"Everyone thinks 'I'm just one person,' " said Millen. "All it takes is one person to start gaining momentum and putting their passion toward a cause. We're just trying to show people one person can make a difference, and if it's two people, it's doubly inspiring. There are a lot of people who look at situations in the world and feel completely helpless."
People can also donate directly through Millen's blog or through
Millen is selling watermelon in downtown Courtenay around lunch time most days and can be recognized with her bright blue bike trailer and green milk crate, and she is planning a bake sale in the future.
Millen is also wondering if someone who has experience co-ordinating fundraisers might have any suggestions.
Millen is extremely grateful to Zen Zero for supporting her and Hughes in everything they have done so far.
"They have helped us out exponentially," she said. "Without them, we wouldn't have done half the things we've done. They're wonderful people, and we're very thankful to them."

Thank you again to all of our supporters!

For the Oceans,

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Bottle at a Time

Hey Everyone,

It's been a little while since I've posted here, as there have not been any updates. In light of the dolphin killing season resuming in Japan and some much needed action on my part, I have new and exciting news to post here.

I have decided to work as a full time activist, dedicating all of my time to issues surrounding conservation, animal rights, environmental degradation, and other issues that I feel passionately about. You may be wondering "how can one work as an activist full time?" There isn't any particular occupation for activists. Many environmental and animal rights crusaders struggle to get by with odd jobs.

I've created a video that outlines what I am currently doing in terms of raising funds and my hope for my continued work in the future.

I've realized that I need to put my passion and desires into action. Through collecting bottles with my bicycle trailer and recycling them for money I will be able to fund the majority of my endeavors, and all it takes is some inspired action. I spent this past weekend visiting my community door to door and received an enormous amount of support, collecting over 2000 cans and bottles in only 4 hours. I will continue to do the same so that I am able to return to Taiji and head to Antarctica this upcoming winter. 

There are many actions that anyone can partake in with a little brainstorming. The idea for bottle drives came from fellow Cove Guardians who had experienced success with this type of fundraising. I've come to the conclusion through much trial and error that this is the work I'm meant to do, living each day with inspired action while spreading the message. I will be contacting events, schools, restaurants, and many other establishments to collect their bottles, and have also opened up an account at the Courtenay bottle return centre so that anyone who would like to can donate their bottles to account 119, Cove Guardian. 

Here are some photos of some small loads from my first bottle drives. 

Anyone can choose to pursue activism as a full time passion. There is no need for wasting your passion and energy working a job that you do not enjoy. Start to think of ways in which you can use your skills to fuel your dreams. The possibilities are endless.

For the Oceans,