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Dr. Easkey Britton: Creating connection with the ocean through surf

Named for a famous wave break off the coast of northwest Ireland, Dr. Easkey Britton feels - perhaps unsurprisingly - most at home when surfing. Her family brought the sport to Ireland and she was on her first board at age four. Though she’s competed in - and won - many competitions, including the national championships five times, surfing evolved into something much more emotional for her. After becoming the first woman to surf in Iran, she travelled back many times to help local women...


Dr. Emily Darling: The coding of corals

This is the story of what happens when you combine some of the planet’s oldest living and under threat organisms - corals - with some of the newest inventions of modern day society - coding and open source technology. At the centre of this story is Dr. Emily Darling, a conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). She specializes in coral reefs and, along with some of her peers, is helping shake up the traditional ways (read: publishing papers) that scientific...


The Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson: Looking out for Canada’s lakes, rivers and oceans

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson had a successful career in the private sector for many years before running for office. The catalyst came during lunch with a friend when Wilkinson got a gentle — but firm — nudge from said friend, who had been patiently listening to him for years as he voiced concern about the direction of Canada’s environmental policy. “What are you going to do about it?” the friend asked. And so began a journey to becoming a MP, being named Parliamentary Secretary to the...


Chefs Ned Bell and Barton Seaver: Different coasts, same goal

Ned Bell, Ocean Wise executive chef, takes over the interviewer seat in our first-ever guest-hosted episode. His guest? Barton Seaver, a Maine-based chef and author of eight cookbooks, and one of Ned’s mentors. The topics? Sustainability versus restoration, wild versus farmed, food from land versus sea. And the result? An insightful, philosophical discussion of what our appetite for seafood has done to our oceans and what we as consumers on this planet can do to help turn things around. Dive...


Eddie Donnellan: Bringing the joy of surfing to at-risk routh

Surfing has been part of Eddie Donnellan’s life for decades. Same goes for working in mental health. And a few years ago, Eddie decided to combine the two to create MeWater Foundation. It’s based in San Francisco and introduces at-risk youth from some of the city’s toughest neighbourhoods to the world of surfing. The physical challenge is just one small piece and Eddie’s goal instead is to empower these young people, to give them confidence and to introduce them to something that’s in their...


Dr. Martin Haulena (Part II): A lifelong love of animals

Dr. Martin Haulena has always been fascinated with animal life. He remembers being a young boy and coming across a dead snake while walking with his grandma one day - together, they paid tribute to its life and laid flowers on the animal. The passion for marine mammals, specifically, came a bit later after he touched a dolphin for the first time on a family trip to Florida. Today, the head veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of the world’s leading...


Dr. Martin Haulena (Part I): Trying to save a wild whale

Off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, a dire situation is unfolding. The southern resident killer whales, part of an iconic species integral to the Pacific Northwest ecosystem, are endangered. Only 75 remain and no calf has been born and survived since 2015. Now, a four-year-old in the pod, J50, seems to be on the brink of death. Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at Vancouver Aquarium, along with a team of scientists, government officials and animal care specialists, have been...


Zack Rago: Chasing coral

Zack Rago wasn’t never really supposed to be much more than a credit at the end of Chasing Coral, a documentary on Netflix about the plight of corals around the globe. He was a technician at a company making custom underwater camera equipment and their neighbour happened to be the production company making the film. The goal? Capture a stunning time-lapse of a mass bleaching event to show the world what is happening to our precious reefs, and the marine life that relies on them. The result?...


Laurenne Schiller: Taking stock of fisheries

Tuna be or not tuna be? That is the question. It’s also the name of Laurenne Schiller’s Masters thesis on bycatch in industrial tuna fisheries. She’s a research analyst with Ocean Wise and a passionate scientist studying fisheries around the world and their management. She’s also the lead author on a new paper in Science Advances journal which found that the fish caught in the high seas is not contributing to issues of global food security. While her love of the ocean was born at a young...


Emily Penn: Skipper of an all-women movement

Hitchhiking in a car is one thing, but have you ever heard of hitchhiking on a boat? That’s what sailor Emily Penn did when she was 21 years old while trying to get from England to Australia to pursue a career in architecture. Spoiler alert: she did not become an architect. Instead, she went on to found eXXpedition, a series of all women voyages around the world that raise awareness about ocean pollutants. In particular, they want to get people talking about the unseen, like the toxins in...


Dr. David Ebert: Finding lost sharks

At 10 years old, Dr. David Ebert proclaimed to his parents that he would one day travel the world, get paid to do it and study sharks. Mission: accomplished. Now known as “Lost Shark Guy”, he’s visited more than 30 countries to study sharks that aren’t known or are often overlooked, and along the way has discovered and published over 40 new species of sharks and their relatives - skates, rays and ghost sharks. But his go-to spot for finding new creatures is often not the ocean itself but...


Jasveen Brar: Pushing for polar awareness

After taking a trip to Antarctica four years ago, Jasveen Brar realized her calling: understanding and raising awareness about humans and our polar regions. Namely, how climate change is impacting people, communities, and the ocean in those places. Not many 23-year-olds know exactly what they want to do in life, but Jasveen is paving her own path as a determined advocate and young leader, who hopes to one day specialize in issues around climate change refugees. A top 25 environmentalist...


Orla Doherty: Behind the lens of BBC’s Blue Planet II

Orla Doherty is a producer for Blue Planet II, the groundbreaking series from BBC that takes cameras to parts of the ocean where no human, let alone a TV crew, has ever been before. In one of her episodes, The Deep, she made history by taking a submersible a kilometre below the surface to the Antarctic ocean floor. Things she witnessed while filming this episode: a fish with a transparent head, sixgill sharks feeding on a dead sperm whale, and a methane volcano eruption. In another episode...


Damian Foxall: A round-the-world race against plastic

Damian Foxall has sailed around the world not once, not twice, but six times with the Volvo Ocean Race. He’s a veteran of what’s known as the longest sport in the world and the pinnacle of ocean sailing, a nine-month adventure that visits six continents and crosses four oceans. He’s also a passionate environmentalist, working with the Volvo Ocean Race youth education program to teach students 6-12 about the ocean, sailing and plastic pollution. This year, some boats in the Race are helping...


Captain Liz Clark: Navigating our plastic use

After a chance encounter at a cocktail party in California, Captain Liz Clark was gifted a sailboat by a retired professor. The only catch - if you can call it that - was that he wanted to live vicariously through her as she sailed around the world. She spent more than a decade sailing and surfing her way through Central America and the Pacific Islands and doing her best to live sustainably. In a new memoir, Swell, Liz details her ocean adventures and the life lessons she learned along the...


The Hon. Catherine McKenna: When politics meets passion

Two days into her role as Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, The Honourable Catherine McKenna was in Paris for the UN climate negotiations. She’s continued full-steam ahead since then to make Canada a leader in environmental policy, including changes to tackle ocean pollution. That includes a ban on microbeads, introducing an ambitious zero plastic waste charter for G7 countries and a record federal budget spend of CAD$1.3 billion on conservation (over five years). Clean...


Dr. Claire Simeone: Zoognosis – spread the word

Dr. Claire Simeone is the first-ever veterinarian in the TED Fellows program, a select group of rising stars in various fields from around the world. This year, she presented not only a big idea on the TED stage but also a new word: zoognosis. It refers to sharing knowledge about health between humans and animals. Case in point: Dr. Simeone discovered a gel used on humans during cardiovascular surgery can be mixed with antibiotics to treat eye ulcers in sea lions. Her work as a vet feeds...


Chef Ned Bell: Cooking up a seafood movement

Chef Ned Bell has worked in noteworthy kitchens across Canada and regularly collaborates with other world-renowned culinary stars. Over the last 10 years he’s dedicated himself to one simple cause — sustainable seafood — in an effort to address the issue of overfishing. In 2016, he left a (very) comfortable job at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver to become executive chef of the non-profit Ocean Wise seafood program, and his peers thought he was nuts. He once rode his bike across the...


Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier: Photographers on a mission

When Cristina Mittermeier once searched the term “conservation photography” all she found was info about how to preserve photos for museum display. Today, she and her partner Paul Nicklen are some of the most recognizable names in the field and are regular contributors to National Geographic - the magazine and Instagram feed. Together, they’ve amassed a social media following like few other photographers out there. They co-founded the organization SeaLegacy, whose mission is to create...


David Katz: Paying a price for plastic

One of the reasons plastic is such a popular material is that it’s cheap. It’s also a key reason for why it’s wreaking havoc on our planet and especially our oceans. We simply don’t value plastic as we should, according to David Katz, CEO of The Plastic Bank, and so much of it is single-use. This is more true in the world’s poorer countries than anywhere else, where there isn’t the proper infrastructure to recycle it. So he’s paying residents in those countries to collect it and then selling...