Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

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Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, and conservation strategist.


  • Each of us can contribute, though. With our votes, our voices, our food choices, our skills and our dollars. We must overhaul both corporate practices and government policies. We must transform culture. Building community around solutions is the most important thing. I am never going to give up working to protect and restore this magnificent planet. Every bit of habitat we preserve, every tenth of a degree of warming we prevent, really does matter. Thankfully, I'm not motivated by hope, but rather a desire to be useful.

  • I don’t have a lot of hope per se. This is a question I get asked a lot, and I’m always like, Why do you think I’m hopeful? I know way too much about the science, that’d be a little bit irrational. But I do think that what I have is a deep understanding of the fact that we still have a range of possible futures. Every scientific report, every graph, there’s a range: We could have two degrees [Celsius] of warming, or we could have four degrees of warming. We could have a little bit of coral reefs left, or we could have none. We could have 20 hurricanes a year, or we could have 10. And that really makes a difference. So basically what gets me out of bed every day is fighting for the best possible future, knowing that climate has changed and will continue to change even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases now, just because we’ve set all of these things in motion.

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