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Ayana Elizabeth Johnson: How to use the ocean without using it up

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Published on Nov 21, 2016

Since 1950, humans have killed off 90% of all tunas and sharks, and we’re on track to have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist and policy expert, advocates zoning the ocean as we do land, so we can stop—and in some cases, reverse—the alarming destruction of the ecosystem.


As executive director of the Waitt Institute, Johnson led the Caribbean’s first successful islandwide ocean zoning project, resulting in one third of Barbuda’s coastal waters being protected, and went on to launch similar initiatives on other islands. Now, as an independent strategy consultant, she continues to take a creative, big-picture approach to conservation that incorporates science, policy, economics, communications and culture, and sets a course toward restoring the ocean's abundance.

The TED Residency program is an incubator for breakthrough ideas. It is free and open to all via a semi-annual competitive application. Those chosen as TED Residents spend four months at TED headquarters in New York City, working on their idea. Selection criteria include the strength of their idea, their character, and their ability to bring a fresh perspective and positive contribution to the diverse TED community.

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