Big whale painting / drawing - Brenda de Groot

Big Whaleon the intrinsic value and power of nature

Turn on a random nature documentary, and nine out of ten times it ends with the notion: save the planet because she’s going down. Man is a monster that robs the seas from their fish, strips entire mountains from their forests and turns rainforests to barren deserts. We wreck ecosystems and are committing a mass genocide on all life on Earth. We are on the verge of a disaster and we need to stop it, but honestly we are already to late.

The documentary is finished.

There we are, on the couch, staring crestfallen at the closing credits. Our wonder for nature and the animals we’ve just seen took a complete U-turn and left us with a paralyzing feeling of guilt. Nature is being destroyed and it is our fault.

Nature is being destroyed and it is our fault.

While it is the inconvenient truth, I wonder whether this the image we want to focus on to save the remaining natural habitats. Forests wasting away like a fragile saplings that needs our hands to ‘save’ it, and animals as pitiful victims of our greed.

I don’t think this image is going to save the planet.

Nature is so much more than our backyard, and animals are so much more than victims. Millions of years of evolution shaped the Earth to the breathtaking collection of ecosystems it currently is. With

forests that are still packed with animals and plants, oceans fizzling with life, and mountainranges that own all beauty contests together. Nature is astonishing, complex, unpredictable, sublime, frightning, perfect and imperfect all at the same time. Thát is the image we should pass to our children. So that they develop a passion for life on Earth, and are not conditioned to feel guilt whenever they see a forest or a deer.

Practice what you preach, is what they say. And since pictures say more than a thousand words, I thought, let’s put that onto paper.

Big whale painting - Brenda de Groot
Big whale painting - Brenda de Groot

This work was auctioned at the Dinner Lecture of Sea The Future. The proceeds from the painting went to the cause that puts the mission you just read about in practice: Sea First. With the money, Sea First is able to print education material for schools, so that our children – the change-makers of the future – learn how incredibly beautiful and important the oceans are, how vital it is that we protect them, and how they can do so.


Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.

– Nelson Mandela

Big whale painting - Brenda de Groot