Each June, we celebrate World Oceans Week and World Oceans Day, which is an opportunity for us to raise awareness about ocean plastic pollution and praise our favourite ocean heroes! So we're keeping the ocean celebrations going by putting the spotlight on some inspirational ocean conservationists and the incredible work they’re doing.
But before we get this eco-party started, let’s chat about why our oceans matter.
We rely on our oceans more than you think – it’s where we get around 50-70% of our oxygen. They also absorb our carbon dioxide emissions and provide food for almost two billion people every day. And that’s just the tip of the (melting) iceberg.
Here are a few of our fave eco heroes
Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
Marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and all-round powerhouse, Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is the co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab – a think tank for the future of local cities. Her climate initiative, the All We Can Save project, focuses on how the climate crisis is a leadership crisis.
Dr Johnson is also the co-creator of the podcast How to Save a Planet – a group of climate nerds sharing stories about the mess we’re in and, our favourite part, how we can get ourselves out of it.
You’ll find Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson at the nexus of science, policy, and communication focused on climate solutions, and on Instagram.
Dr Sylvia Earle & Mission Blue
Dr Sylvia Earle is a name you hear a lot in our office for the incredible work she does with one of Ethique Foundation's partners, Mission Blue, who inspire action to explore and protect our ocean. So far, Mission Blue have helped to protect over 57 million km2 of ocean through 142 Hope Spots around the globe.
Dr Earle is an American marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She’s been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998.
Today you’ll find Dr Sylvia Earle leading the Mission Blue team through communications campaigns and helping to elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media, and more.
Asha De Vos
Asha de Vos is the founding executive director of Oceanswells – Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation.
The marine biologist and ocean educator is well-known for her Blue Whale Project and is featured regularly on BBC, the New York Times, TED, and National Geographic.
Asha’s mission is to change the current marine conservation model, protect the unique population of blue whales in Sri Lankan waters, and inspire the next generation of ocean heroes.
Oceanswell posts (good) regular content on their socials – definitely worth checking out!
Dr Tiara Moore
Marine Biologist Dr Tiara Moore is making some waves in ocean conservation and making sure she brings the next generation of women along for the ride.
Currently, Dr Moore is the Black in Marine Science program lead at the Nature Conservancy. She hopes her research in biodiversity will translate to increasing the overall diversity in science.
Dedicating her time to mentoring minority women in the lab and in after-school programs, Dr Moore (founder of A WOC Space) aspires to make a safe and inclusive workplace for women of colour (WOC) through WOCShops, individual personal trainings, and community outreach.
You can follow Dr Moore’s journey through her social channels and her website.
Tiza Mafira, a lawyer and director of the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement, has long campaigned to ban single-use plastic bags in her country. Her organisation pushed considerable policy change in Indonesia, leading to a 55% reduction in the use of plastic bags.
Tiza leads the Climate Policy Initiative's Indonesia program, focusing on supporting climate goals while maintaining strong economic growth and alleviating poverty.
The world needs more people like Tiza. Definitely a good eco hero and Instagram account follow.
Kristal Ambrose is a youth educator, marine plastic pollution researcher, and dive-master.
She founded the youth-led initiative, Bahamas Plastic Movement (BPM), to raise awareness around the concentration of plastic on the beaches and seas of her home, The Bahamas.
BMP is an independent non-profit organisation funded solely through donations, subsidies, and grants. By supporting Kristal and her team, you’re bringing The Bahamas one step closer to a plastic-free nation.
How to help protect our oceans
Pumped and ready to do your part? That’s what we like to hear!
By altering your diet, reducing waste, and voting, you’ll make a decent splash. Check out these ten ways to protect our oceans.
30 by 30
Studies show that by protecting 30% of our oceans, we will preserve habitats, save fish stocks, and ensure our ocean is around to sequester more carbon for the future – without causing food shortages in the short term.
It’s not all doom and gloom. We can change this. We can do something about it if we stop talking and start doing! Being carbon neutral by 2050 or aiming for packaging to be recyclable by 2030 is too little too late. Be the change you want to see and get involved today!