“This is what the ocean can do for you; this is what the ocean is good for; these are the cognitive and emotional benefits of being in, on, and under the water.’”.




“We don’t have to invent an emotional connection to the ocean.” ~ Wallace J. Nichols

wallace j. nichols, Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols is a scientist, ocean activist, community organizer, ocean author and dad who works to inspire a deeper connection with nature.

For the last decade, Nichols says, the public have been presented with statistics about the importance of the world’s oceans to make them care—data that often has no meaning for them. “We have taken something that is so big and inspiring, provocative and emotionally rich and it is reduced to a few talking points with stats that are far from inspiring. The good news is that we’ve got the answers to all kinds of problems; we’ve just got to activate them. It’s not about listening to a marine biologist tell you what to do. It is about listening to yourself and following through.”

Working with psychologists and neuroscientists to study our water planet

Using new technologies and collaborations with psychologists and neuroscientists to study our water planet is helping us to better understand ourselves and our need for healthy waters beyond extractive and consumptive uses. Expanding Blue Mind research and communication will significantly increase the perceived value of healthy oceans and waterways, enhancing personal and political motivation to protect and restore.

Wallace says “When we tap into the feel-good limbic brain, we calm our customers, and assure them how they can be a part of the solution. When we go into too many details (pre-frontal cortex) or use fear to encourage action (the Amygdala) we overwhelm and turn customers and potential ocean activists away from doing good”.


“Neuro-marketing for nature, for the ocean; I call it neuro-conservation.”


Nichols adds that some neuroscientists study nostalgia and their research is often used by marketers to sell products. “Why don’t we use that knowledge to sell what we do need, that has the potential for fixing what is broken in nature? Neuro-marketing for nature, for the ocean; I call it neuro-conservation.”

Nichols is a research associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of OceanRevolution.org, an international network of young ocean change-makers who strive to save the ocean; SEEtheWILD.org, a conservation and sustainable travel network; GrupoTortuguero.org, an international sea turtle marine conservation network; and LiVBLUE.org, a global campaign to reconnect people to our water planet, among other international organizations and initiatives. Nichols is the author or co-author of more than 50 scientific papers, reports and books, including Blue Mind, and his work has been featured widely in print and broadcast media.

Nichols has degrees in biology and Spanish, a master’s in environmental economics, and a doctorate in wildlife ecology. He is a recipient of both a Marshall Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship and in 2014 received The University of Arizona’s Global Achievement Award.


Learn more about Ocean Revolution, See the Wild and Go Deeper.


To learn more about how we interact on a personal and emotional level with the sea hear Dr. Nichol’s entire interview at Blue Ocean Summit 2014: Wallace Nichols. Visit Dr. Nichols and for the organizations that he is involved with like Ocean Revolution and See the Wild, or learn about international sea turtle conservation. To read reviews on Wallace Nichol’s books Blue Mind and A Worldwide Guide to Sea Turtles drop into the Blue Ocean Store and to see all of our Underwater books And Films.

Another of our Blue Ocean Summit 2014 speakers will introduce you to new business models for running a sustainable business and why this is important for both your business and for the underwater world that we all depend on. To see Brian’s article “Sustainable Business: What is it and why should I care?” go to Ocean Profiles: Dr. Brian Garrod.