Andy SharplessAndy Sharpless
CEO, Oceana

I am passionate about saving the oceans and feeding the world. At Oceana, the largest ocean conservation organization, we campaign to win policy victories that will restore ocean abundance so fisheries can serve as a sustainable source of protein for people around the world.

We can make our oceans abundant again by implementing science-based fisheries management, which includes setting catch limits, reducing bycatch, and protecting habitats. Studies show that effective fisheries management can significantly increase the amount of wild seafood caught worldwide. This will enable hundreds of millions of people to enjoy a healthy seafood meal each day.

Mehgan Heaney-GrierMehgan Heaney-Grier
Freedive Champion. Adventurer. Marine Conservationist. Biologist Star of Treasure Quest: Snake Island Leader of the Ocean Ambassadors for the Colorado Ocean Coalition

I am passionate about my family, adventure, good wine, nature and the outdoors, sharks, the ocean, and working hard to preserve it all for future generations.
My take on saving the oceans:

1) THINK. LEARN. ACT. The more you know, the better and more educated choices you have the opportunity to make.

2) Understand how all things are interconnected, including you. Then see #1.

3) Never, ever lose hope. We must not lose hope. If, by chance, you find that you are losing hope, tap back into those who inspire you. Then see #2.

Photo: Courtesy of |

Shawn HeinrichsShawn Heinrichs
Photographer/ Filmmaker/ Conservationist, Blue Sphere Media

My love of the ocean fuels me, and I am captivated by its grace and beauty. People only protect what they love, so I am on a mission to capture inspiring and dramatic imagery that connects the global community to the beauty and vulnerability of threatened marine species. Through this connection, I hope the world will share my passion and be inspired to act before it is
too late.

So what can you do? Be the change you wish to see in the world—learn, engage, act, and make sustainable choices in your consumption, energy usage, and waste disposal. |

Amber Jackson & Emily CallahanAmber Jackson & Emily Callahan
Co-founders, Blue Latitudes LLC

There comes a time when the useful life of an oil platform comes to an end, and that’s when we dive in! We are environmental scientists on a mission to
inform the public and policymakers on the ecological and economic benefits associated with repurposing
an offshore oil platform as a reef through the Rigs to Reefs (R2R) program in California.

We believe that repurposing these rigs provides a silver lining to the realities of offshore oil and gas development. We want to empower the public and policymakers with our research so that they can make informed decisions on future management of ocean resources.

Barton SeaverBarton Seaver
Chef. Author. Director, Healthy and Sustainable Food Program, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

I am passionate about exploring the confluence of environmental and human health. I believe that the goals of conservation must constantly revisit a stated purpose. All too often we fail to ask what we are trying to sustain. Ultimately, sustainability must be measured by the endurance of thriving human communities.

For too long we have placed an irrational burden upon our oceans by demanding only a narrow selection of species, which has led to unsustainable fishing and economic practices. If we instead ask the ocean what it is willing to supply, we engage in an inherently more sustainable relationship.

Charlotte VickCharlotte Vick
Strategic Partnership Director and Google Ocean Content Manager, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance

I’m passionate about our ocean! It’s fundamental to all known life systems on our planet, whether land, sea, or atmosphere. It’s the planet’s quintessential life-giving feature, interacting with sun, planetary rotation, and chemical and physical material found in, on, and below our thin Earth crust. Ocean is essential to life here. We are not.

Action based on knowledge achieves results. Don’t know Earth’s water and carbon cycles? Google them. Need inspiration? Observe nature around you. Looking for a starting point? Explore websites like our Google Earth page. THINK! Teach children truths they must know: to learn, love, and respect
the global ocean.

Photo: Tracy Anderson Photography |

Danni WashingtonDanni Washington

Media Personality
Co-founder, the Big Blue & You

My life work focuses on raising awareness within communities of color about the importance of the oceans and what we can do collectively to reconnect with the most important source of life on this planet. I am passionate about empowering youth to become stewards of the natural world through digital media, events, and workshops. I believe that we can save
the oceans by taking individual responsibility for
our daily actions. Actions like bringing your own shopping bag or reducing the demand for other single-use plastics like straws and utensils can help eliminate the stream of pollution in our waters.

Photo: Erica DiGiovanni |

David DoubiletDavid Doubilet
Underwater Photojournalist,
National Geographic

My passion is to open people’s eyes to the sea using the power of photography as a universal language to convince the unconvinced among us that the oceans
are fragile and finite. As the oceans go, so do we.

I have learned that images have the power to educate, honor, humiliate, and illuminate. We can produce imagery to share the beauty of the oceans and what is there to protect. We can also expose the truths about overharvest, climate change, and habitat loss to give oceans a voice.

Photo: Gary Bell

Dan LaffoleyDan Laffoley
Marine Vice Chair, World Commission on Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature

I’m passionate about protecting our ocean. We now know we have depleted the ocean and abused its bounty in the past. We also know it is central to our well-being. So protecting it, allowing it to recover and sustain us, is the key to future health and prosperity.

Lend your voice to safeguarding its special places through projects that establish Marine Protected Areas. Reduce your ocean footprint—safely recycle plastics on land, avoid using cosmetics that harm the seas, and if you eat fish only eat those that come from truly sustainable sources. |

Robbyne KaamilRobbyne Kaamil
Actress. Comedian. Activist

I am passionate about water and the life it gives. The human body can’t survive for more than three to five days without water. Water is crucial to our existence and our Earth can’t survive without our oceans.

We can save the oceans by not using disposable products. Plastic bags, containers, and bottles become ocean trash. We wouldn’t like it if our neighbors used our living rooms as their garbage dumps. But that is exactly what we do to all the sea life when our garbage ends up in the ocean.

Carl SafinaCarl Safina
President, The Safina Center

The creatures of the sea hold special mystery, and they are among the most exciting, graceful, and beautiful on Earth. Just consider the living riot of a coral reef, the beauty of an albatross, the awesome power of a giant turtle, the grace of a dolphin. Now multiply that by the millions of creatures in the sea. Wow!

To save the seas, we can eat sustainably and be conscious of the seafood we eat. Try to cut down drastically on plastic. Recycle. Use less energy and more renewable energy. We can all live
better by doing better for ourselves and the sea! |

Tracey ReadTracey Read
CEO/Founder, Plastic Free Seas

My passion is caring for the oceans! The best part of my job is connecting people to the sea and the myriad life it holds. We want trash-free seas for our children, and
by exposing people to the problems of plastic marine pollution we can inspire
and empower them with solutions.

Ocean cleanup starts on the land; through our purchases and actions we can have a positive or negative impact. It is time to rethink our behavior: the easiest thing we can all do is to say NO to single-use disposable products, buy less, and waste less.

Photo: Wyman / Weekend Weekly Magazine

Judi LoweJudi Lowe
Ph.D. Candidate, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

I’m passionate about the impact of dive tourism on coral reefs and the livelihoods of local fishers in less developed countries. Divers travel to enjoy coral reefs, fish, sharks, whale sharks, manta rays, and turtles. The world’s most beautiful coral reefs lie in the tropics, roughly around the equator. The same locations are home to many of the world’s poorest people, who rely on coral reefs for food security and income. Dive tourism must diversify the livelihoods of local fishers, reducing reliance on coral reefs. My research builds a best practice model of dive tourism for marine conservation and livelihoods. |

Octavio AburtoOctavio Aburto
Assistant Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professional Photographer, International League of Conservation Photographers

I believe that I can make the biggest contribution to conservation and management issues for marine ecosystems in Mexico and worldwide by translating natural history and scientific issues into images that can directly impact and influence public perception, practices by local people, and government policy.

We have four urgent actions to make: 1) complete protection of 20 percent of all oceans, 2) complete
fishing ban of shark species, 3) strict fisheries regulations for sardines and anchovies, and 4) no more trawling fishing. With these four actions, we can recover the oceans’ productivity in just one decade.

Photo: Catalina Lopez |

Joe KistelJoe Kistel
Founder/Director, TISIRI

I am passionate about spreading the awesomeness and importance of ocean environments. As director of TISIRI, I am able to facilitate habitat creation projects as well as underwater reef repair initiatives.
I do my best to visually capture these efforts to create short documentaries that demonstrate the importance and necessity for ocean conservation programs.

The health of our oceans can benefit from a “treat it like we need it” global attitude. Awareness is critical; most do not have an in-depth relationship with our oceans. Increasing the understanding of ocean health will increase appreciation and lead to better care of offshore resources.

Photo: Larry Davis

Sven-Olof LindbladSven-Olof Lindblad
Founder/CEO, Lindblad Expeditions

I’m passionate about trying to find creative ways to engage people with nature and the environment, both from the perspective of finding wonder and inspiration and to recognize the essential value healthy natural systems provide to people.

To make a change, first embrace the fact that we need a healthy ocean in order to survive and thrive. Then become active in whatever way acts on that belief. There is no single answer; it’s complex. I have chosen to focus on supporting National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Program, which is committed to working with governments and other partners to create large marine protected areas.

Leesa CobbLeesa Cobb
Executive Director, Port Orford Ocean Resource Team

I believe it’s critical to connect people on the coast to stewardship of the ocean right out their front door. We need to take responsibility for where we fish, surf, and play on the beach. It’s everyone’s ocean, but we have a special responsibility to protect our place.

What can we do? Engage. The time to speak up and step up to help the ocean is NOW. Join an organization that works to protect the ocean from pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction. Write to your elected representatives and let them know a healthy ocean is critical to life on this planet. |

Courtney MattisonCourtney Mattison
Chef. Author. Director, Healthy and Sustainable Food Program, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

I am passionate about exploring the confluence of environmental and human health. I believe that the goals of conservation must constantly revisit a stated purpose. All too often we fail to ask what we are trying to sustain. Ultimately, sustainability must be measured by the endurance of thriving human communities.

For too long we have placed an irrational burden upon our oceans by demanding only a narrow selection of species, which has led to unsustainable fishing and economic practices. If we instead ask the ocean what it is willing to supply, we engage in an inherently more sustainable relationship.

David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
Founder/President, Ocean Doctor

The oceans naturally inspire passion, and I still feel the same wide-eyed amazement I did as a boy from the profound mystery and incredible beauty the oceans inspire. Today I’m passionate about exploring and protecting the oceans internationally, especially around Cuba, while discovering incredible colleagues and friends who share the passion.

Never stop asking annoying questions. Each of us has a powerful agent of change we carry with us everywhere: our wallet or purse. Ask your grocer or restaurateur about the fish they’re serving. Ask resorts if they’re sustainable. In unison our words will reach the decision makers and change the world!

Photo: J-P Balas

Patty ElkusPatty Elkus
Board Member, Directors Council, Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance. Global Advisory Council, BLUE Ocean Film Festival

My passion is bringing together talented yet disparate ocean leaders—a matchmaker for the oceans. An Antarctic trip with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps was my epiphany on ocean health.

Since then I’ve worked with ocean leaders, including iconic oceanographer Professor Walter Munk, Dr. Margaret Leinen of SIO, and Dr. Sylvia Earle, to disseminate critical science in layman’s terms for the public at large. With knowledge comes power, as well
as the ability to conserve marine life and protect ocean environments.

The key to saving our oceans is public awareness and providing tangible tools to enact real conservation and protection. Ocean Convergence!

Paul ButlerPaul Butler
Senior Vice President, Rare

One-sixth of our global population relies on fish as a primary protein source, yet almost every fishery is under stress with stocks in decline. One of the great challenges in marine conservation is open access for fishing and the “race to fish” mentality as fish stocks decline.

Instead of racing, local fishermen should receive exclusive access to a designated fishery area. Granting exclusive access can then spur a sense of local ownership of the area, and local fishers and community members will have a clear reason to take up conservation measures. Along the way, fishers become better stewards of the ocean.

Ellen K. Pikitch, Ph.D.Ellen K. Pikitch, Ph.D.
Professor/Executive Director, Institute for Ocean Conservation Science, Stony Brook University Board Member, Ocean Sanctuary Alliance

Our use of the ocean is way out of balance. About 99 percent of the ocean is open to fishing, with a small remainder fully protected. New science shows that leaving more fish in the ocean would enhance its worth by increasing tourism revenues, employment, and fisheries production.

The creation of sanctuaries is a trifecta for saving the ocean. Sanctuaries enhance resilience to climate change, provide a safe haven for marine life to flourish, and sustain fisheries outside their boundaries through spillover. This fall, the nations of the world will vote on a commitment to expand sanctuaries globally. |

Debbie KinderDebbie Kinder

CEO/Co-founder, BLUE Ocean Film Festival

I knew I wanted to be involved in ocean conservation, but there are so many issues that I didn’t want to choose just one problem to devote my time to, because they are all so interconnected.

Visual media is the most powerful tool we have for raising awareness and inspiring action. It’s how we can reach a global audience in a short span of time and in such a way to help everyone understand very complicated issues.

Roderic B. MastRoderic B. Mast

President/CEO, Oceanic Society. Co-Chair, IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group

I am passionate about conserving sea turtles and their ocean habitats worldwide. Iconic marine species like turtles, whales, manatees, and sharks can help us capture people’s attention and motivate the public, as well as corporations and governments, to make the behavior changes needed to return the world’s oceans to health.

People are the only threat to the oceans; we put too much in and take too much out of the seas. Oceans will heal when we adopt “Blue Habits” to lower our carbon, plastic, and seafood footprints. Individual commitments are also needed to leverage bigger changes in corporations and governments. |

John Racanelli John Racanelli
President/CEO, National Aquarium

I’m especially passionate about interacting with kids. I love experiencing their wonder, awe, and enthusiasm. My greatest moments come when I know I’ve made a connection with someone who has perhaps never realized just how important the ocean is to their life and livelihood.

The ocean supplies oxygen, modulates climate, and provides sustenance. To let it keep us alive and thriving, we must take fewer resources and add fewer pollutants, plastics, and carbon. We must stop altering its habitats and start designating marine protected areas. Finally, we must recognize the ocean’s relevance to each of us, no matter our lifestyle.

Photo: National Aquarium

Serge Dedina, Ph.D.Serge Dedina, Ph.D.
Executive Director, WILDCOAST/COSTASALVAJE. Mayor of Imperial Beach, California

I am passionate about making sure that we collectively and proactively preserve all of the world’s most iconic coastal and oceanic wild places—those keystone ecosystems that are irreplaceable, breathtakingly beautiful refuges for fish and other marine wildlife.

The most important thing we can do to save our oceans is to dramatically expand our efforts to establish new marine protected areas and make sure that critical fish spawning sites and ecosystems remain undisturbed. Finally, we have to immediately stop using the oceans as a dumping ground for our urban and industrial waste.

Photo: Jeff Wallis

Laurie J. Wilson Laurie J. Wilson
Founder, Blue Ocean Network

I believe that the biggest threat the ocean faces is “business as usual.” But we can do something about that! I’m passionate about helping dive tourism operators embrace a sustainable business model. I watch resorts that do so turn more profit while becoming tools for positive change. We’re unlikely leaders: a bunch ofmom-and-pop businesses using an old business model that peaked in the eighties. But collectively we’re a billion dollar global industry that shares our underwater knowledge with millions of people around the world each year. We are ocean ambassadors perfectly positioned to be catalysts for change.

Photo: Robert Frerck / |

Jim ToomeyJim Toomey
Syndicated Cartoonist, “Sherman’s Lagoon”

I am passionate about informing the world about our ocean—its complexity and beauty, its value to us, and the perils that it faces. Through my newspaper comic strip, public speaking, and filmmaking, I try to tell as many people as possible, of all ages and from all walks of life, that we are destroying the ocean at such an alarming rate that we can’t wait for a systematic solution.
We can’t wait for our political leadership to warm up to the idea, and we can’t wait for the free market to find alternatives. We must act as individuals, now. |

Linda K. GloverLinda K. Glover
Oceanographer, GloverWorks. Co-author, Ocean: An Illustrated AtlasEditor, Defying Ocean’s End

I am passionate about the vast, beautiful, mysterious ocean, with life forms not yet discovered and so much we don’t yet know. We do know it provides half the oxygen we breathe and—through evaporation to clouds to rain—provides most of the fresh water on Earth. We must protect our ocean.

First, we must continue to learn: What’s there? How does everything work? How are we damaging the natural processes? How can each of us reduce carbon emissions, harmful overfishing, and our use of plastics?

Photo: Rob Cannon

Vicki Nichols Goldstein Vicki Nichols Goldstein
Founder/Director, Colorado Ocean Coalition

I’m passionate about helping people understand their connection to the ocean. The power inland states have to make change is often overlooked. In 2011, I founded the Colorado Ocean Coalition to inspire inland people to become committed and united stewards of our ocean. I have always felt that you don’t have to see the ocean to protect it, and now I’m helping to make that happen.

The ocean belongs to all of us. Recognize that our rivers flow to the sea and care for them. Speak out for strong ocean protection and remember that your actions can make a difference.

Photo: Matthew W. King |

Edith Widder, Ph.D.Edith Widder, Ph.D.
CEO/Senior Scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Inc. (ORCA)

Our biggest challenges for the ocean and for the planet are problems of perception. People need to understand that species extinctions, habitat destruction, ocean acidification, and pollution are all chipping away at the resilience of the thin layer of life that sustains us on Spaceship Earth.

Our problems are solvable if they are clearly defined. To do so, we need to monitor our planetary life support systems the way doctors monitor a patient’s vital signs and then use that information to protect ecosystem services as though our lives depend on it, because they do. |

Bonnie MonteleoneBonnie Monteleone
Executive Director, Plastic Ocean Project, Inc.

“A stupid problem,” an elderly woman said to me as she looked at my images of sea life maimed by plastics. Yes, it really is! We can’t see carbon emissions or mercury infiltrating our water, but plastic is visible and should be much easier to manage. I am passionate about stopping a stupid problem.

The trick is to give plastic value so it doesn’t end up in the wrong place. I believe turning plastics into oil, a commodity found in nearly every household item, road, and car, is one thing we can do to save
our ocean. |

Jennifer PateJennifer Pate
Head of Film, Exxpedition

We have the chance to create a healthier future, but we need to act now—starting with behavior changes at home, in our communities, and in our governments and industries. What we need to do is wake up to the fact that we only have one home and that everything is
interconnected. We need to raise awareness that issues like plastics and toxics are not just “out there” in the oceans, but “right here” in our backyards, on our dinner plates, in our bodies. Support large initiatives, push
governments to be accountable, pressure industry to change through your consumer choices.

Photo: Karen McCarthy Woolf |

Joel HarperJoel Harper
Author/Publisher, Freedom Three Publishing

My passion lies in educating and inspiring the next generation of young ocean stewards and their parents via the use of educational picture books. My books focus on the dire need to protect watersheds from the crisis of storm drain pollution, commonly referred to as urban runoff.

I have dedicated ten years of my life, working with relentless passion and urgency, to educate communities on these issues. All the Way to the Ocean has sold forty thousand copies and been translated into Spanish and Mandarin with an animated movie set to be released this summer! My
new book, Sea Change, debuted this year.

Photo: Bernard Masson |

Tom CampbellTom Campbell
Tom Campbell’s Productions

I’ve been on, in, or around our oceans all my adult life, since I was nineteen years old. As a professional military diver, then avid spear fisherman, I began to see the decline in wildlife in many of our oceans, as well as increased pollution. I hung up my spear gun for a camera and later became a professional marine cinematographer. That passion gave me a means to produce documentaries to help protect our Last Frontier,
the world’s oceans.

By watching documentaries about our oceans’ wildlife, and participating in events that create awareness, even one person can make a difference.

Photo: Beth Davidow

Jenna CummingsJenna Cummings
Director of Marine Studies, Canterbury School of Florida

I am passionate about our oceans and educating others. I strive to make students aware of the world around them and to help preserve the wonders of the ocean by creating real world science research and conservation projects where students can immerse themselves in learning about and saving our ocean.

I believe that our children can help us save our oceans. My students bring excitement, energy, and creativity whenever we are, in the lab or in the field. We need to utilize that to empower our community members to work together to restore and protect our local waterways.

Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator for Rhode Island Co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus

For our Ocean State, the oceans are a way of life. We fish; we sail; we have a robust marine economy. Our beaches and bay are famous. But worldwide, our oceans are warming, rising, and becoming dangerously acidic as a result of carbon pollution and climate change—endangering much that we hold dear. Pope Francis asks, “Who turned the wonderworld of the seas into underwater cemeteries bereft of colour and life?” We must now become not just takers from the ocean, but caretakers of it.

Photo: Office of Senator Whitehouse

Susan Shaw, Ph.D.Susan Shaw, Ph.D.
Founder/Executive Director, Marine & Environmental Research Institute

As an environmental health scientist and marine toxicologist, I have dedicated my life to generating science that drives change and inspires solutions to man-made ocean pollution. Today, our oceans are deteriorating faster than we ever imagined. They are literally dying on our watch. Healing our seas is a survival issue for humankind.

As Rachel Carson knew, wildlife serves as our alarm bells for the harmful impacts of toxic chemicals. Today, one-third of marine mammals risk extinction because of ocean pollution. With knowledge, our collective actions can stop the flow of human waste, toxics, and plastics. Ocean conservation is human conservation.

Jacqueline Savitz Jacqueline Savitz
Vice President, United States Oceans, Oceana

We get a tremendous amount of riches from our oceans. They feed hundreds of millions of people (more if we manage them well), they produce oxygen for us to breathe, and they provide us with recreational opportunities and spiritual fulfillment. We literally owe it to ourselves to protect them.

We can benefit from improved fishery abundance if we set and enforce scientifically-based limits and protect habitats that fish need for breeding, spawning, and feeding. We also must cut carbon dioxide emissions drastically, and soon, to prevent ocean acidification and the resulting ecosystem collapse. |

Romain TroubléRomain Troublé
Executive Director, Tara Expeditions

The ocean—to me, to us—is beautiful, immense, and infinite. The ocean makes us dream. It is the source of all life on not only our planet. Not so long ago we discovered that the ocean is our “blue lung.” It produces half of our oxygen, allowing us to breathe anywhere on Earth.

I used to be a professional sailor. For more than ten years now we’ve been organizing environmental and scientific expeditions at sea. I wish to give the ocean a voice during the crucial UN climate conference in Paris later this year. Support the #OceanForClimate!

Photo: V. Hilaire / |

Barbara A. BlockBarbara A. Block
Prothro Professor of Biology, Stanford University

Our research is focused on how large pelagic fish utilize the open ocean. We are trying to learn more about tuna, marlin, and large sharks, and have pioneered the successful development and deployment of electronic tags on pelagic fish.

I want to build a wired ocean that helps us take back the seas from poachers and illegal fishers. To do this, we need the latest technology applied to large pelagic fish and sharks, surveillance technology that helps protect marine protected areas, and tags that help prevent shark finning and illegal fishing. We must use modern sensors to help protect our seas! |

Lawrence Curtis Lawrence Curtis Underwater Cinematographer / Immersive Theater Artist, Aqua Media Lab

Defining my passion can’t be summed up in a single word. I’m passionate about dolphins, whales, conservation, and creating wonder through immersive art. My passion dwells deep inside me. It emerges in bringing ocean conservation and art together. It forms my identity and defines how I live.

How do we save the oceans? Be conscious of yourself and your behavior. Go out into nature. Muse on how you feel. Find your way through expressing yourself. Stand on your integrity and be a voice. Be conscious about yourself, what you consume, and what companies you support. It’s rather simple if you think about it.

Photo: Mila Bridger

Nainoa ThompsonNainoa Thompson
President, Polynesian Voyaging Society

Life on our planet is defined by the health of our ocean. We are a blue planet and an ocean world. As I am from Hawaiʻi, the ocean is part of my culture and who I am. My ancestors were great ocean explorers. Through the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, we seek to learn and encourage all to protect our ocean for the future of our children. In order to take care of our ocean, we need to be knowledgeable. We can’t care for something we don’t understand. This is the purpose of why we explore and why we voyage.

Photo: Polynesian Voyaging Society and ʻŌiwi TV

Dana BeachDana BeachExecutive Director, South Carolina Coastal Conservation League

I am inspired by the beauty and majesty of the ocean and its most charismatic denizens—whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and albatrosses—and by the beauty, complexity, and biological abundance of coral reefs and coastal estuaries.

But the inclination, and even obsession, of humans to destroy the Earth’s most glorious ecosystem is horrifying and unforgivable. This shameful expression of our lack of moral character must not be the legacy we leave future generations. ACT NOW! We can work in our own homes and communities on issues like plastic bag bans, responsible fishing practices, and stopping offshore oil exploration and drilling.

Jenifer AustinJenifer Austin
Manager, Google Ocean Program

There is so much we don’t know about our ocean; I’m inspired to use technology to better understand it. We live in a very exciting time when, for the first time, we can share imagery of the ocean as never before, like with our underwater street view platform in Google Maps.

We need to keep engaging more people to care by showing them the incredible things down there below the surface. When we bring underwater street view to the classroom through Google Expeditions, we’ll ignite the imagination of the next generation. With knowing comes caring, and with caring, there’s hope.

Sam Low, Ph.D.Sam Low, Ph.D.
Author/Documentarian/ Cronkite Award Winner, Hokule’a Polynesian Voyaging Society

Sailing aboard a replica of an ancient Polynesian voyaging canoe has taught me to respect the wisdom of my Hawaiian ancestors who lived in sustainable harmony with the moana (ocean) and the āina (land). Always recycle and resist plastic containers. |

David W. GrundenDavid W. Grunden
Shellfish Constable, Town of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Our coastal salt ponds provide us with a multitude of recreational activities—swimming, shell fishing, and boating, to name a few. When healthy, they support one of the most productive and diverse habitats—estuaries, the nursery of the sea. It is of utmost importance to protect, preserve, and improve these ponds.

It really is as simple as “THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.” All the local efforts have a cumulative effect. Get involved and care for places that are special to you. You can make a difference!

Photo: Mark Alan Lovewell

Cathy DrewCathy Drew
Oceanographer/Founder/ Executive Director, The River Project

I am most passionate about truth and beauty and the ocean. Right now for me that takes the form of progressive ecosystem dynamics in New York Harbor and the Hudson River Estuary. Estuaries are where most people meet the ocean.

One excellent way to help save the oceans is to eat sustainable fish. Ask the restaurant or store: Where does this fish come from? Is it wild or farmed? How was it caught? Educate yourself, talk about it, and let the message that we care ring out loud and clear, all the way up our food chain.

Matthew GianniMatthew Gianni
Co-founder/Political and Policy Advisor, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

I am continually amazed by the extraordinary wealth of species and biodiversity in the oceans, and the many strange and unique oceanscapes, particularly in the deep sea. I am passionate about preventing the senseless destruction of these places.

Get educated about seafood, where it comes from, and how it is caught. Get your grocer, fishmonger, and favorite restaurants to only sell sustainable fish. Recycle plastics; we need to keep them out of the ocean. And demand that your politicians protect the oceans. Don’t take no for an answer!

Mikki McComb-Kobza, Ph.D.Mikki McComb-Kobza, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Ocean First Institute

I am passionate about sharing my love of the ocean, the joy of exploration, and the importance of science. I have been a scuba diver for thirty years and have seen an ocean of change. As a shark researcher, I’ve witnessed shark populations decline—an indicator that our ocean is in deep trouble. I strive to help individuals and businesses alike find more sustainable ways to connect with the ocean in their everyday lives. Sustainability is my cornerstone and I believe that every action and decision, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, can have a positive impact.

Photo: Ilena Zanella / Mision Tiburon

Georgienne Bradley Georgienne Bradley
Director, Sea Save Foundation

I am passionate about protecting our oceans. We depend upon oceans for our oxygen, to regulate climate, and for much of the protein currently consumed by our species. Diving for over twenty years, I have seen huge changes in the health of our coral reefs and a dramatic plunge in the number of fish.

Advanced technology and growing population are applying pressure on our oceans. We are near a tipping point, but I think we still have a chance to reverse these trends. Volunteer for an ocean conservation organization. Whether working virtually or at the beach, collectively we can make a difference.

Anna Cummins & Marcus EriksenAnna Cummins & Marcus Eriksen
Co-founders, 5 Gyres Institute

Marcus and I are passionate about the moment we can engage someone with our story—having seen firsthand across fifty thousand miles that our oceans have become plastic smog—and inspire them to want to get involved in solutions. An informed citizenry can drive big changes.

We can’t save our oceans; oceans will outlive humans and will probably be better off without us. To protect the health of our oceans for the next generation, the best thing we can do is get money out of politics and return stewardship of natural resources back to the public. |

Robert FarrellRobert Farrell
Assistant Chief, Marine Enforcement, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

We need to prioritize global protection of ocean resources through effective enforcement of regulations that promote responsible and sustainable practices.

Communities need to care. We must raise awareness and make sure everyone knows what the rules are and why they are in place. We must ensure the rules make sense for all constituents and that they are enforceable. Finally, we must take appropriate action when the rules are violated.

Photo: Debra Hamilton

Carl Gustaf LundinCarl Gustaf Lundin
Director, Global Marine and Polar Program, International Union for the Conservation
of Nature

Growing up in marine biological laboratories, I desired to understand how the oceans work. My passion for ocean conservation is because we live off the health of the oceans and we have it within our power to take care of the oceans and their inhabitants for future generations.

We all need to consider what we take out of the sea—like food and energy—versus what we put in—plastics, poisons, and carbon—and make sure that we change the balance in favor of ocean health, since our own health depends on it.

Mark J. SpaldingMark J. Spalding
President, The Ocean Foundation

I’m passionate about keeping the coasts and ocean healthy. Plants and animals (including humans) need the ocean’s gifts. Her beauty and rhythms soothe us. She provides oxygen, food, and rain. She filters our pollution and processes our waste. She regulates our climate and temperature.

We need to transform our ocean relationship from abuse to stewardship, from exploitative consumption to valuing the ocean’s gifts. We need to plant seagrass to sequester carbon in the ocean, design our use of the coast to do no harm, and avoid single-use plastics! Support the community of people acting to keep the coasts and ocean healthy. |

Jon BowermasterJon Bowermaster
Writer/Filmmaker, Oceans 8 Films/ One Ocean Media Foundation

My interest has long been the relationship between man and the planet’s one ocean. More than four billion people live within a stone’s throw of the ocean, so what happens to it affects them immediately, daily, whether pollution, more frequent storms, or rising sea levels.

I think the best way to protect the ocean is to encourage people onto it and into it. The more familiar people are with the ecosystem that lives below the surface—invisible until you’re actually in the ocean—the more likely they are to do what they can to protect it. |

Margaret Leinen, Ph.D.Margaret Leinen, Ph.D.
Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, UC San Diego

I am passionate about the capability of science to provide real solutions to the extraordinary challenges that face the oceans.

The most important thing we can do to save the oceans is to know for each of these challenges: what we are facing, how fast it will happen, and how it is caused.

Malin FrickMalin Frick
Environmental Educator/Conservationist, WildAware

I love sharks. Sharks have been around for 450 million years and are the elders of the oceans. They are evolved to perfection and are essential for the ocean’s ecosystem. Humans kill more than one hundred million sharks annually for shark fin soup, as bycatch, and for fish and chips. Without sharks as an apex predator, the ocean’s ecosystems will collapse and die. And if the oceans die, we die. So, aren’t sharks worth saving? Say no to shark fin soup, ask if your fish and chips is flake (shark), and be the voice for the voiceless.

Photo: Jake Lloyd Jones |

Margaret Leinen, Ph.D.Margaret Leinen, Ph.D.
Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, UC San Diego

I am passionate about the capability of science to provide real solutions to the extraordinary challenges that face the oceans.

The most important thing we can do to save the oceans is to know for each of these challenges: what we are facing, how fast it will happen, and how it is caused.

Shari Sant Plummer Shari Sant Plummer
President, Code Blue Foundation

A healthy ocean ecosystem is essential to the health of the entire planet and necessary to human survival. I work with scientists, photographers, and filmmakers to inspire a global ocean conservation movement. We are in a race to educate humans about their own vulnerability and their dependence on something many have never seen.

Choices we make about our consumption will determine the quality of life we have in the future. Wildlife and wild systems that keep the planet functioning are essential for human survival. We need a paradigm shift in the way we relate to the natural world around us, especially the ocean.

Photo: Sylvia Earle

Mariasole BiancoMariasole Bianco
President, Worldrise

I am a passionate change-maker for the ocean. I am committed to providing my passion and expertise to implement inspiring solutions for marine conservation and facilitate involvement and professional empowerment for young marine conservationists. My passion is the heart of my enthusiasm and dedication.

To save the ocean we need to fully acknowledge the role that the ocean plays as our life supporting system, establish and effectively manage areas where it can recover, and invest in the professional empowerment of the future conservation leaders. We can save the ocean, we just need to act.

Martha ShawMartha Shaw
CEO/Founder, Earth Advertising

While working at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I realized that the Earth needed representation. So we started an ad agency and took on the biggest client in the world. This meant working with businesses to reduce their impact on the ocean, water, air, and soil. I like coming up with new ways to communicate that create win-win scenarios.

Inspire the public with stories, music, poems, books, photos, films, art, cartoons, theater, and magazine articles like this one that showcase the magnificent intelligence of the ocean and its inhabitants. Everyone can be an ocean hero, and that’s how many people it’s going to take!

Photo: Martha Shaw

Nancy KnowltonNancy Knowlton
Sant Chair Marine Science, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian

I watched the coral reefs that I studied as a student vanish in the blink of an eye, and for decades I wrote and spoke of ocean obituaries. But big scary problems without solutions lead to apathy, not action. Today I scour the world for stories of Ocean Optimism.

Most of the damage suffered by the ocean up until now has been caused by local insults—overfishing, pollution, and destruction of habitats. If we tackle these problems now, we buy ourselves time to work on climate change. Small steps taken by many people in their backyards add up.

Photo: Robin Weiner

Michelle PughMichelle Pugh
Founder/Owner, Dive Experience

Thirty-eight years ago, I came to St. Croix to teach diving for a few months and never left. Diving is a way to show people that reefs are worth protecting and the ocean needs our help. When you dive up to three times every day, you have a unique perspective. From that springs responsibility. I like to inspire divers to help protect what they have traveled so far to see.

If we start locally to preserve our underwater resources, we can spread it worldwide. My next step is to have plastics banned from the island. Can you imagine a world without plastic pollution?

Richard VeversRichard Vevers
Founder, Underwater Earth. Executive Director, XL Catlin Seaview Survey

My passion is developing disruptive ideas that can tackle the biggest environmental issue we have ever faced: the issue of Ocean Change, which few people are even aware of. Our team invented technology that allows people to explore the oceans virtually for the first time ever. This technology is making Ocean Change plainly visible for all to see and understand.

To save the oceans, we need to embrace technology and work with big business to find the hidden opportunity that comes with every big issue. Creative thinking can solve any issue, even one of this magnitude.

Photo: Jayne Jenkins |

Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D.Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D.
President/CEO, New England Aquarium

My appreciation of the ocean through art has been a lifelong love. When I was a child in Ireland, my family vacationed on the coast. My fascination with sea life grew as I explored the rich tide pools and painted shore scenes with my mother. Those two activities in concert forever wed science and art together for me.

The oceans need more champions who will promote the creation of more marine protected areas (MPAs) around the globe. We must establish more strongly linked networks of MPAs and nations working together to build a life-sustaining system of sanctuaries across the seas.

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