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Co-hosting our episode this week is Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a lifelong ocean conservationist who creates solutions with social justice in mind. Ayana, Mary & Maeve take a wade through the work our oceans have been doing while we’ve been sleeping. As sea levels rise and overfishing destroys our marine life, is this the inevitable truth, or are there still big solutions to come?


Episode 3 Notes:

The ocean has absorbed 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases, and 40% of our carbon dioxide. We take a trip to Male in the The Maldives to meet former president Mohamed Nasheed and discover what he sees in the future of the archipelago nation as it battles with threatening sea level rises. Ayana introduces us to Jill Pegnataro from Greenwave, a 3D seaweed farming model making bold changes off the coast of Connecticut in the United States.




Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Marine Biologist and Founder of Ocean Collectiv

Brooklyn, NY

Ayana is a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist and teacher. She is the founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, who advise on conservation solutions grounded in social justice.


Ayana was born and raised in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. Despite growing up surrounded by water, she’d never seen anything quite like the Florida Keys while on her first family vacation at 5 years old.


She took her new love of sea urchins to heart, and went on to design policy for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In her role as executive director of the Waitt Institute, Ayana co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative, the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort, resulting in the protection of one-third of Barbuda’s coastal waters. She replicated this initiative on Curaçao and Montserrat in collaboration with their local governments and stakeholders.


Ayana serves on the boards of the Billion Oyster Project and World Surf League's PURE and teaches Urban Ocean Conservation at New York University.

Support Ayana:

- By reading and sharing this article - co-authored with her mother. 

- Checking out her personal website containing lectures here.

- Reading her writing on her ocean conservation work in Barbuda here.

Follow Ayana & Ocean Collective:








Jill Pegnataro

Farm Manager and Hatchery Technician at Greenwave

New Haven, CT

Jill is the Farm Manager and Hatchery Technician at GreenWave on Thimble Island Ocean Farm in the Long Island Sound.


Her team at GreenWave have developed a vertical farming model of shellfish and seaweed, which if used in 5% of U.S. waters, can produce the protein equivalent of 3 trillion cheeseburgers, sequester 135 million tons of carbon and 10 million tons of nitrogen from the atmosphere, and create 50 million new jobs.


Jill began her path to GreenWave early, at The Sound School, an aquaculture high school where she studied biotechnology and ocean engineering with focus on the ecology of Long Island Sound. After graduating with a degree in biology, she discovered marine research and conservation while in the field caring for endangered sea turtles in Texas and Costa Rica.


Today, she teaches the working fishing community how to yield sustainable food sources after the fishing season ends, and helps new farmers create their own shellfish and seaweed farms.

Support Jill:

- By learning more about GreenWave by watching this YouTube video.

- Reading about what she’s up to here.

- Or even get on a path to starting your own farm by attending her Farmer-in-Training program.


Follow GreenWave:








Mohamed Nasheed

Politician, former President of the Maldives

The Maldives

Mohamed Nasheed was appointed the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Maldives in 2008, serving until 2012. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are an large archipelago-state of 1,192 coral islands spanning more than 90,000 square kilometres of ocean. According to the World Bank, "future sea levels [are] projected to increase in the range of 10 to 100 centimeters by the year 2100, the entire country could be submerged".


In his pursuit for democracy, human rights and climate justice, former President Nasheed began his career as a journalist and an activist. He was imprisoned twenty times for criticising the government, where he was frequently tortured or left in solitary confinement. He gained status as an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience in 1991.


On release, he won a seat as Member of Parliament for Male, but was quickly forced into self-exile in Sri Lanka and the UK. He returned with his newly-established Maldivian Democratic Party to win the general election as president. During his presidency, he held the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting, and signed a document asking all countries to reduce their emissions ahead of the COP 15 in Copenhagen 2009.

Ousted in 2012 and sentenced to prison for 13 years on unsubstantiated terrorism charges, he was permitted exile in the U.K.. He used this as an opportunity to campaign for climate justice on the global stage, where he was appointed UN’s Champion of the Earth and one of Newsweek’s World's 10 Best Leaders.

Follow Mohamed:





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