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Joanna Ruxton

Steering Committee & Key Opinion Ambassador

Jo was born in 1956 in Great Britain’s North Yorkshire. She and her family moved regularly due to her father working as a Royal Air Force pilot. Languid days spent on sunny deserted beaches in Singapore and Malaysia, followed by Malta and Cyprus, inspired this young Piscean’s abiding love of water. With a biology degree from London University, she relocated to Hong Kong where she worked for WWF in Asia for seven years. Returning to Bristol in the UK in 1997, she joined the BBC Natural History Unit as part of the celebrated Blue Planet team, working on numerous underwater filming projects. Jo founded the Plastic Oceans Foundation in 2009 to help fund the documentary feature film A Plastic Ocean, with Sir David Attenborough endorsing it as ‘one of the most important films of our time’. Plastic focusing on the growing issue of plastic pollution. The film was released in 2017 to critical acclaim Oceans UK has since joined forces with Ocean Generation, a youth collective, to focus on building an inclusive global movement and restoring a healthy relationship between humanity and the ocean. Jo now lives in Newquay, UK, close to her two daughters and four granddaughters.

Jo is the founder of Ocean Generation with a bold vision of the world where the ocean is free of human threats within a generation and where young people can be the catalyst for change. “We are changing the narrative around plastic, climate change, and other man-made ocean issues,” says Jo. “We break down the problem. No more scaremongering, science jargon, or big data, and no more over-simplifications like ‘plastic-free’ or ‘zero waste’. We know that plastic has a role to play in our everyday lives, but we believe we can shift the perceptions and behaviours around plastic waste that create ocean threats and enable all of us to live more sustainably. Ocean Generation develops understandable, affordable, and practical tools and solutions. Our unique ‘Ocean Intelligence’ and ‘Plastic Intelligence’ toolsets help bridge the gap between people-led ocean action and institutional system change. We harness the power of science and storytelling to share information people can trust, that’s relevant to their daily lives, and can help them understand their role in safeguarding the ocean and motivate them to take action.”