I just watched the live stream of Rob Stewart’s funeral. Rob, the producer and star of the documentaries Sharkwater and Revolution, was a greatly respected and beloved member of the animal rights community. We were a community stunned by his death and to many, being able to live stream the funeral was a way to honor him, say good bye and release a bit of the sadness at his loss.
It was a lovely ceremony; heart felt and very sad. The online activist community that was so inspired and in part created by him was there and the constant stream of hearts and sad face emojis told the story of how we are all feeling.
The work that Rob accomplished during his brief life was great, lasting and important. He raised the issue of shark finning and the ocean’s health from a fringe environmental issue to one that is widely known and understood
I watched Sharkwater in 2015, and was shocked, moved and greatly impressed. I wasn’t the only one, and the entire world responded by changing its laws and habits. The world of shark finning still continues, but not as it was, and without condemnation. China, the greatest importer and consumer of shark fin, banned the product after the release of the film, and that act alone probably will save many shark species from extinction.
Shark finning still exists, as does big fish hunting, oceanic pollution, overfishing, illegal fishing, and oceanic oil spills. Climate change is making the situation worse and we are still looking at fish free oceans by 2040. The need to act is still here and clear. I hope that the legacy Rob Stewart created and left behind, the activist community and those who were shocked and moved to act by his films, will continue to fight, act, change so we can win the battle to save and protect the oceans and all its inhabitants. It is sad that he will no longer be with us, leading us and the world, but at least we can still fight, change and act to honor and remember him.
Rob Stewart was obviously a person who lived to love, care, and save animals and the planet. Let’s not forget him, the lessons he and his films taught us and carry on his mission to its victorious end. The world has lost a beautiful spirit and human guide. Let’s not let that loss be in vain.