Keynote: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

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Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and Brooklyn native. She is co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities, and co-creator and co-host of the Spotify/Gimlet podcast How to Save a Planet, on climate solutions. She co-edited the anthology All We Can Save and co-founded The All We Can Save Project.

Recently, Dr. Johnson co-authored the Blue New Deal, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy. Previously, as executive director of the Waitt Institute, she co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. She also developed ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was a leader of the March for Science. 

Dr. Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in environmental science and public policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology, with a dissertation on the ecology, socio-economics, and policy of sustainably managing coral reefs. The fish trap she invented to reduce bycatch won the first Rare/National Geographic Solution Search.

She publishes widely, including in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Scientific American. She is on the 2021 Time 100 Next List and was named one of Elle’s 27 Women Leading on Climate. Outside magazine called her “the climate leader we need.”

Dr. Johnson serves on the board of directors for GreenWave, Patagonia, and World Surf League's PURE, on the advisory boards of Environmental Voter Project, Azul, and Scientific American, and as a fellow at The Explorers Club. She is the proud daughter of a teacher/farmer and an architect/potter. Find her @ayanaeliza.