About

My name is mark and i'm an orcaholic...

And I'm here to ask you to help me do what I can to save the whales by sharing their stories in a new PodCast series.

I've just released The Killer Whale Who Changed the World - a book about Moby Doll, the first ever orca displayed in captivity. 

Everyone knows that the ultimate tale of madness and obsession is Moby Dick. It turns out Captain Ahab was haunted by Moby Dick for less than three years. I've chased Moby Doll for more than twenty. So once the book came out you'd think I'd be done with orcas.

Nope. I'm currently editing a no-budget feature-length documentary about Moby and a low budget short film about one of his relatives, Granny - The Hundred Year Old Whale.
 

More importantly... and the reason I decided to dive into the podcasting pond...


I'm trying to do all I can to help save Moby's family. 

Both Moby and Granny are from J Pod, the most resident of the Southern Resident orcas -- the icons of BC and Washington. And, as I write this, there are only 80 just 79 of these amazing orcas left. 

In Canada, the orcas are facing a terrifying new threat. I've spoken to scientists who believe the recently approved expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline equals extinction for the Southern Residents. 

In my work over the past few years I've met many of the world's top orca experts and I'd like you to meet them too. I'd also like you to meet these whales. 

These orcas have a unique language and a culture that predates our own by hundreds of thousands of years. They are one of only two species on earth besides humans where the females live far beyond their reproductive years. The evolutionary theory behind this is "the grandmother hypothesis" which posits that in this culture - as in our own - reproduction ability isn't as valuable as sharing wisdom.

When I made my movie, The Green Chain, I created and hosted a podcast series featuring some of the world's most fascinating voices on forests and forestry issues. The podcast series ran on The Tyee and on the NFB website and the interviews were collected in the book, The Green Chain: Nothing is Ever Clearcut.

Interview subjects will include oceans warriors like Paul Watson, Rob Stewart, Alexandra Morton and Dr. David Suzuki; orca experts like Erich Hoyt, Kristen Kanes, Paul Spong and Ken Balcomb and maybe even Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. I have interviewed all of these people before.  

My goal is to talk about what we can and should do to save these orcas, our oceans and the other whales swimming in our seven seas. 

I'm looking for conversations that will not only appeal to listeners like you, but make news. And I've written news for magazines like TIME and Maclean's, so when these people do say something newsworthy I'll either write a story myself do what I can to get the word out.

I know how to do this.

And I hope you'll listen, and help me keep funding Skaana: a "Pod" Cast
 

 

More About Mark

Mark Leiren-Young, who has a background in pretty much everything — journalism, television, comedy, theatre and film — is without a doubt one of the most talented, multi-disciplinary voices in Canada
— Vanessa Farquharson, National Post
You can read more about Mark and his projects here. Coolness! 

You can read more about Mark and his projects here. Coolness! 

MARK LEIREN-YOUNG was recently swallowed by a whale named Moby Doll. His new book about Moby Doll: The Killer Whale Who Changed the World is being released by Greystone in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation. His radio documentary for CBC’s Ideas Moby Doll: The Killer Whale that Changed the World received a 2014 Webster Award for “Best Radio Documentary.” He is in post-production on a feature documentary he’s writing and directing about Moby for Middle Child Films and a short documentary he’s writing and directing about Granny The Hundred Year Old Whale for BravoFactual. He was also a finalist for a National Magazine Award for Best Science, Technology & Environmental Writing for his feature on Moby Doll for The Walrus.

Mark is the author of two comic memoirs Free Magic Secrets Revealed(Harbour, 2013) and Never Shoot a Stampede Queen — A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo (Heritage)which won the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Mark is adapting both books for film for Middle Child Productions.A stage version of Stampede Queen (adapted by Mark) premiered at  Western Canada Theatre and starred Ryan Beil.

His other books include The Green Chain: Nothing is Ever Clear Cut (Heritage), a collection of interviews dealing with the future of our forests and This Crazy Time (Knopf) written with/about controversial environmentalist Tzeporah Berman.

Mark has received three Writers Guild of Canada nominations for his work. The third, and most recent, was for the script for his award-winning debut feature film, The Green Chain, which he directed and produced.  He wrote and co-starred in the EarthVision award-winning TV special Greenpieces: The World’s First Eco-Comedy, featuring his comedy duo Local Anxiety.

As a playwright Mark has written comedy, drama, plays for young audiences, musicals, revues and, in 2012, he debuted his first piece as a solo performer– Greener Than Thou, an autobiographical comic monologue about the challenges of going green. His plays have been produced throughout North America and also staged in Europe and Australia. Shylock has been translated into French, Czech and Dutch. Shylock and Articles of Faith are published by Anvil Press.

As a journalist Mark has written for TIME, Maclean’s, The Hollywood Reporter, The Walrus and most of Canada’s daily newspapers. Mark has interviewed hundreds of celebrities ranging from William Shatner to Salman Rushdie.