“Sustainability is something that rich people have the privilege of thinking about,” Katherine Terrell punctuates with an awkward raise of the eyebrow.
She’s not wrong. And she is sitting in a unique position to take on that perspective. As a child, Katherine’s earliest memory of the ocean was ducking underwater with her father to dodge gunfire. She was leaving Saigon, a five-year-old-refugee.
Today she has a son who is the same age but being raised in an entirely different world and with an entirely different lifestyle, living in Costa Rica by choice and with worries that are nothing like escaping to a refugee camp. Instead, Katherine questions things like whether or not polar bears will be something her son can even read about to his own children when he’s 30.
Her story in Of the Sea shares both sides of the spectrum, from refugee to now ex-pat entrepreneur with an eye on sustainability. She recognizes life has positioned her as one of the privileged people she’s referring to, so her work falls in line with just that. The film itself was crafted by filmmaker Jordyn Romero and has been in more than a dozen festivals in recent months and won awards in different corners of the globe, articulating a need to think about the planet we’re either leaving behind for future generations or building for them. Terrell works locally to combat waste management problems near her home in Nosara while the business she’s built aims at lessening our plastic pollution footprint.
“Now that there’s so much political strife and so many groups of people becoming displaced and becoming refugees, I feel that it’s important to just own my story,” she says.