Ocean optimism in a sea of plastic

Discarded plastics pose a major threat to marine biodiversity but Heather Koldewey explains how she’s protecting the ocean from plastic pollution.

Want to hear more from Heather? She joined us for a Q&A where we answered your questions about how we can innovate for conservation.

Heather Koldewey

Heather Koldewey started working for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in 1995, as a postdoctoral research scientist, curator of London Zoo Aquarium, Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation and now as Senior Technical Advisor. Heather is Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter. She was appointed a National Geographic Fellow in 2019 with a focus on solving ocean plastic pollution and was science co-lead for their 2019 Sea to Source: Ganges expedition. Heather co-founded Project Seahorse in 1996, the world’s leading authority on seahorses and early pioneer of community-based marine conservation; set up Net-Works, a multi-award winning project that has developed a novel community-based supply chain for discarded fishing nets that are recycled into carpet (recently spun out as social enterprise COAST-4C); and #OneLess, a systems change approach to building a more ocean-friendly society through working to make London the first capital city to stop using single-use plastic water bottles. She has been involved in science and conservation in the Chagos Archipelago since 2008, now running the Bertarelli Foundation’s Marine Science Programme, an interdisciplinary research and conservation programme for marine science and conservation in the Indian Ocean, involving over 80 researchers from 24 institutions and seven countries. Her reason for optimism is: ‘Wherever I have been in the world, there are amazing people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds who are doing incredible things to protect and restore the ocean and the incredible wildlife that lives there’.

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