Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Marine Biologist;
Co-founder, The All We Can Save Project

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and Brooklyn native. She is founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions grounded in social justice, and founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for the future of coastal cities. With Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, she co-edited the anthology All We Can Save, and co-founded The All We Can Save Project.

Previously, as executive director of the Waitt Institute, Johnson co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort, resulting in the protection of one-third of Barbuda’s coastal waters. Prior, Johnson was Director of Science and Solutions at the Waitt Foundation, managing a diverse portfolio of ocean grants. She has also held policy positions in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Johnson was co-director of partnerships for the March for Science, creating a coalition of over 300 organizations that inspired over 1 million people around the world to take to the streets to support the role of science in policymaking. Johnson earned a B.A. 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. She is a passionate advocate for coastal communities, and builds solutions for ocean justice and our climate crisis.

Live Event Appearances

Podcast Guest Appearances

A Feminist Climate Renaissance

Can a feminist renaissance save the climate? 

A feminist approach to the climate conversation begins over a hundred and fifty years ago. That’s when a scientist named Eunice Newton Foote first recognized the heating effect of C0-2. 

“And she made this discovery by using, you know, glass bells and tubes with gas in her backyard in 1856,” marvels author Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. “She was the first person to connect the dots between carbon dioxide and planetary warming, and history basically forgot her.”

Stefan Rahmstorf: 2022 Schneider Award Winner

Every year, we grant an award in memory of pioneering climate scientist Steve Schneider, a who fiercely took on the denial machine from the 1970s until his death in 2010. This year's recipient is German physicist and ocean expert Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf. Dr. Rahmstorf says we’re running toward a cliff in a fog. What can science tell us where that cliff is – and how to avoid it?