Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a Ph.D. marine biologist, policy expert, and independent consultant currently in residence at TED. Her mission is to build bridges among science, policy, and people, so we can use the ocean without using it up. 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 project, resulting in one third of Barbuda’s coastal waters being protected. She went on to launch similar programs in partnership with the governments and stakeholders of Curaçao and Montserrat. 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, and she has worked on ocean policy at both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Nature magazine. Her op-eds have been published in The Guardianand The New York Times. She blogs on National Geographic and Huffington Post, and tweets as@ayanaeliza.