Wietse van der Werf – A social enterprise based in Europe is rocking the boat with a new approach that could greatly increase the level of real-time ocean protection. Starting it hasn’t been without its challenges, but the effort is now gathering momentum in some of the most unlikely quarters.
After becoming a youth wildlife ranger at the age of nine, Wietse van der Werf was involved in various conservation campaigns from the late 1990s and ultimately crewing on multiple Antarctic expeditions before being awarded the Future for Nature Award in 2016 for his work in citizen-led conservation. Wietse was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2018 and has run conservation initiatives in nine countries across Europe.
Emily Penn – The last time I was in a plastic accumulation zone – one of the ocean’s five gyres where the world’s waste collects – I was met by clear blue waters.
Emily is a skipper, ocean advocate and artist dedicated to studying environmental challenges in the most remote parts of our planet.
Fiona Llewellyn—Whether you’re commuting, shopping or sightseeing, touring any city can be a thirsty business.
Fiona is an ocean conservationist with over 12 years’ experience working for environmental NGOs on marine scientific research, policy, practical conservation and campaigns.
In 2016, Fiona and colleagues set up the #OneLess campaign; working to tackle the evident and growing issue of marine plastic pollution by using an iconic item – the single-use plastic water bottle – to challenge our throwaway culture and connect people to the ocean.
Maria Damanaki – What comes to mind when you think of the ocean? Maybe you see the planet’s last great wilderness, the wonders of which are still more of a mystery than the surface of the Moon?
Maria Damanaki is the Global Managing Director for the Ocean at The Nature Conservancy. Previously, she served as the European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Under her leadership, the Commission brought fish populations back to healthier levels—from as few as five sustainable stocks in 2010 to up to 27 today.