My Ocean: A Podcast
My Ocean takes listeners on an adventure into the minds of some of the world’s true ocean champions and dives in to the remarkable ways they are protecting our blue planet. Each episode profiles a new personality, someone who has thrown convention to the wind and instead followed their own path to making a difference for the world’s oceans. Hosted by Alexis Brown.
October 11, 2018
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 backyard but in a way is still so far away – the ocean. MeWater is entirely run by volunteers and while it was founded in 2015 its benevolent roots can be traced back to lessons from Eddie’s mom, a single mother with a love for helping others.
Dive deeper: Check out Eddie in the documentary Fish People on Netflix.
September 28, 2018
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 specialists on marine mammal care and his work includes rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals as well as caring for those at the Aquarium, all while helping researchers along the way. The passion never wavers, but the one thing that has changed over the years? How his work increasingly fits into a bigger, growing conversation about how our actions impact all the species around us.
Dive deeper: Learn more about the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and how you can help.
September 13, 2018
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 monitoring the animal and devising a plan to help. Recently, Dr. Haulena successfully delivered antibiotics to the whale via dart gun. To the average person, it was an impressive feat. And same goes for the work he’s done with sea lions, disentangling injured animals who have packing straps wrapped around their neck – a death sentence without his help. But for the vet, it’s another step in his lifelong effort to protect the animals he loves so much and to remedy the impact that humans have had on them.
August 30, 2018
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? Well, you get the time-lapse, but it doesn’t come easily. You also get to ride along for Zack’s incredible journey as a young coral nerd from Colorado, a journey that he’s continuing post-film by educating fellow young people about his beloved ocean. Select music in this episode by Edward Cook.
August 16, 2018
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 age, it wasn’t until she was doing her undergraduate degree when she came across a certain book that her eyes were opened to the impacts of and overfishing on our ocean.
Dive deeper: read the paper in Science Advances here.
August 2, 2018
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 plastic that’s entering the food chain. She’s especially curious about how it will impact female health in particular, and is collaborating with scientists from a variety of organization to study the water samples they’ve collected along the way.
Dive deeper: read up on eXXpedition and all their voyages here.
July 19, 2018
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 rather fish markets in foreign countries. What he expected to see in these markets was a potentially long list of lost sharks (check)! But what he didn’t expect, and what has been the most enriching part of it all, is the enduring relationships he’s built with fishermen around the world.
Check out our video with David and learn more about the 40 species he’s discovered.
July 5, 2018
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 under 25 in Canada, Jasveen was also selected as one of 40 youth to participate in the first year of Ocean Bridge, a youth service program focused on oceans and created by Ocean Wise. Her main message to the older generation of climate decision and policy makers? Don’t underestimate the power of young people.
Dive deeper: read more about all 40 Ocean Bridge youth here.
June 21, 2018
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 she explores the dire impact humans are having on our blue planet. Ultimately, it was a dive she did at age 30 that led her here. After seeing coral for the first time, her life was forever altered and her desire to protect the ocean forever ingrained.
Dig deeper: Watch the Blue Planet II prequel here.
June 07, 2018
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 to collect important data and sample of microplastics in the far-flung places they sail. It’s part of an ongoing effort by Damian and Volvo Ocean Race to reduce their plastic and carbon footprint while encouraging the cities and communities they visit to do the same.
Dive deeper: Learn more about the Volvo Ocean Race sustainability education program here.
May 25, 2018
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 way. Through platforms like her book tour and her role as a Patagonia ambassador, she’s sharing not just the challenges she has seen from plastic pollution around the world but innovative ways to address it too.
May 10, 2018
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 waters are near and dear to her – as a mom and a lifelong swimmer who has been known to take a dip in the Arctic, she wants to ensure her children inherit a healthier planet.
Got an idea on how to tackle the plastic problem? Visit this link to share it
April 26, 2018
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 into her desire to leave the world a better place for her son. She had a health scare right after he was born and it clarified for her that life is too short to not do work that really matters for our planet.
April 12, 2018
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 country to raise awareness about sustainable seafood and says he wants to do it again. He’s a risk-taker and he knows it. Ultimately, though, he wants the real payoff to be healthier oceans.
Check out Chef Ned’s cookbook on Amazon.
March 29, 2018
Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier: In focus: 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 healthy and abundant oceans and they’re using their photographic prowess to tell critical stories about ocean life. Select music by Keian Sanjari.
Check out the polar bear photos and video we talked about here.
March 15, 2018
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 it to large companies that want to be more socially responsible with their plastic use. It’s an innovative business model – one that’s making not only an environmental impact but an economic one too.
March 1, 2018
Simon Watt: The curse of cuteness
The blobfish has been described in a variety of ways, from ugly to depressed-looking to an “anthropomorphised piece of colon.” Biologist and comedian Simon Watt founded the Ugly Animal Preservation Society to lobby for the “blobby” – as he affectionately calls it – and other aesthetically challenged animals that are facing various threats. Our love for all things cute mean the more homely creatures are overlooked, even though the very thing that makes them so ugly is also often what makes them remarkable.
Check out Simon’s podcast, Level Up Human, here.
February 15, 2018
Jessica Schultz: Serving the oceans
How do you get from serving in Afghanistan to observing sea stars as they lose their limbs in B.C.’s Howe Sound? Just ask Jess Schultz. She’s a marine ecologist with Ocean Wise and has helped keep tabs on species old and new in North America’s southernmost fjord. Much of its wildlife disappeared after a copper mine fed waste into it for decades, and Jess is part of the team that’s helping revive this vital ecosystem. It’s all part of her drive to serve a purpose greater than herself, whether it’s her country or the ocean.
Click here to take a look at the Ocean Watch report on Howe Sound.
Karina Oliani: Diving in style
Our attention spans are shorter than ever so in order to get noticed, sometimes you have to do something that really makes a splash. Enter Karina Oliani, a Brazilian TV personality whose diving photos are the definition of “wow” factor. A doctor with a specialization in wilderness medicine, she has a thirst for adrenaline that has taken her up Everest (twice!) She’s also put on designer dresses and done a four-hour underwater photoshoot surrounded by sharks to raise awareness about humans illegally killing them. Next up: a photoshoot to take on plastic.
To see more of Karina’s incredible photos and videos, visit her website.
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols: Brain on water
What is it about being near water that makes us so happy? Why do crashing waves have such a calming and meditative effect on our minds? Dr. Wallace J. Nichols is a marine biologist based in California. He’s a pioneer in studying the therapeutic effects of being on, above, under or near water and risked his reputation along the way because his ideas were so unconventional. J envisions a world where we might treat mental health not just with medicine but maybe a surf lesson too.
Check out J’s Indiegogo campaign for a documentary here.