Normal. That was the impression that Peter Hammarstedt, Captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) ship Bob Barker, gave as he entered Clarksville’s Great Sage restaurant for the night’s fundraising event. Tall, skinny, and dressed quite casually for the upscale locale, Hammarstedt looked as uncomfortable being addressed individually by his fans as any normal young person might.
Yet, at 27, the “Whale Wars” celebrity has led anything but a normal life.
Hammarstedt, a native Swede, joined the SSCS when he was 18 years old. Since then he has been to Antarctica 7 times. Each time, he has placed his life on the line to save the whales there. As a result, some accuse him and his organization of terrorism – while others laud him and the SSCS as heroes of the environmental movement.
Part of Hammarstedt’s role in the group is public relations, and Google’s YouTube video service is replete with examples of him speaking clearly and consistently on the Sea Shepherd’s points in front of a wide variety of individuals. His English is perfect. His poise admirable. His message always on point. While the majority of his fans and detractors stand on the sidelines discussing the validity of his actions, Hammarstedt soldiers on with calm and gravity that totally belie his age.
He does this while undertaking studies toward a degree in media at Stockholm University.
Normal? Perhaps not.
Yet throughout his interview, he never failed to underline that his was the role of a normal person, doing something that anyone could do. Furthermore, he assured his audience, even if you are unable to do what he can, the needs of the movement are so multifaceted as to accept all comers with all abilities.
For more information on Peter Hammarstedt and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, visit http://www.seashepherd.org.