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Wallace J Nichols
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Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols is a scientist, wild water advocate, movement-maker, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Mind, and dad. He takes a slow, collaborative approach with leaders in businesses, government, non-profits, and academia to inspire a deeper connection with nature and inventive solutions to pressing issues. J knows that inspiration comes sometimes through adventures, or simply by walking and talking. Other times through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves.

His research and expeditions have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe where he continually finds that the emotional connection to waters of all kinds--rather than force of financial gain--is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.

J. is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and, a global campaign to reconnect us to our water planet.

He has authored and co-authored more than 50 scientific papers and reports and his work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet and featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Fast Company, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others.

Nichols earned his Bachelor's degree in Biology and Spanish from DePauw University, an Master's of Environmental Management in Environmental Policy and Economics from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona's School of Renewable Natural Resources where he received both a Marshall Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. In 2010 he delivered the commencement address at DePauw University where he also received an honorary doctorate in science. In May 2014 he will receive the University of Arizona's Global Achievement Award.

He advises a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a stronger, more progressive and connected environmental community.

J. lives with his partner Dana, two daughters and some cats, dogs and chickens on California's SLOWCOAST, a rural stretch of coastal mountains where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and their motto is "In Slow We Trust". The Nichols chose to settle down in this area after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico. "We like it here", Nichols said.

He blogs at

Entries by Wallace J Nichols

The True Value of Clean Water

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 10:56 AM


Science can now explain what we've known instinctively for millennia: water is good for our bodies, minds and souls. Whether you are an entrepreneur, angler or surfer, cutting-edge research shows that the color, texture, experience, sight and sound of water can make a...

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Ocean Wilderness Therapy: 'Ihi Ka Moana

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 4:45 PM

If you do a quick Google search for "ocean wilderness therapy" you'll find... almost nothing.

Despite the fact that one of the best and longest standing ocean wilderness therapy programs in the world is run by Dr. Matthew Claybaugh out of Kailua, Hawaii, the term is not well...

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No Politician Left Inside

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 2:02 PM

When stuck inside, attending endless meetings under low ceilings, bathed in artificial light, sipping from styrofoam cups, our brains and bodies physically change. We become mushy, shadows of our former selves. Forty-five lyrca-bound morning minutes on a treadmill can slightly delay the inevitable. But over time, capacity for...

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The Ocean Isn't Full of Plastic

(28) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 1:41 PM

If you're reading this you likely know that the ocean--the flowing, living, deep, and inspiring thing that covers most of our blue planet--is in some trouble. Big trouble.

You probably know about all that terrible plastic pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification, and oil spillage.

There are times when I read the...

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A Billion Baby Sea Turtles?

(5) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 2:10 PM

If you've watched Animal Planet you know that odds are generally working against sea turtles.

From the moment an egg is deposited in a sandy nest on a tropical beach, to the first time a baby turtle touches the sea, to decades later when she returns as an...

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Mirror Neurons, Empathy and Epinephrine Drive Louisville to Final Four After Kevin Ware Falls Hard

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 8:19 PM

In the first half of the Duke Blue Devils vs. Louisville Cardinals NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Finals, star Cardinal guard Kevin Ware came down hard on his right leg as he jumped high to block a shot, landing awkwardly and falling to the floor.

On impact his right tibia and...

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Confessing My Ocean Sins

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 11:40 AM

Forgive me, Mother Ocean, for I have sinned.

It has been, well, forever since my last ocean confession.

I accuse myself of the following sins:

1. I forgot to ask the waiter for "No plastic straw, please," and he brought my water with two straws.

2. I drove...

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Dignity: You Can't Stop the Tortugueros

(1) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 3:22 PM

Twenty years ago, as a graduate student, I presented a doctoral research proposal to a group of eminent scientists, experts and advisors: build a diverse sea turtle conservation network, fill the vast holes in our existing knowledge, and strategically communicate the solutions to restore sea turtle populations in northwest Mexico.

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The Million Dollar Fish: Calling All Neuroconservationists

(5) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 12:46 PM

Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of the Tokyo-based restaurant chain Sushi Zanmai, recently paid 1.76 million dollars for a very nice looking 488-pound bluefin tuna. That's an average of about $3,600 per pound -- a mere $225 per ounce.

An ounce of raw bluefin tuna is a...

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Ocean Plastic's Impact on Wild Sea Turtles

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 2:21 PM

Two decades ago, I took my first turtle-related job in a village called Tortuguero. As a research assistant, my job was to study green turtles, protect eggs, tag and measure turtles, occasionally guide visitors and learn from fellow biologists from Costa Rica.

Early one morning, I was sitting on the...

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Blue Marble Dreams: 40th Anniversary of Iconic Photograph of Our Home

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 11:52 AM

I remember the mission clearly. I was five years old. We sat in a circle on the floor in our Montessori classroom.

The teacher brought in a small black and white television and we quietly watched it unfold.

On December 7, 1972 the crew of Apollo 17 pointed their...

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Ocean 3.0: Popping the Blue Bubble Wrap

(1) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 3:31 PM

When I was a kid, I loved to pop the little bubbles in my bubble wrap. I'd work the entire sheet until every bubble was popped. Sometimes they were tiny little bubbles. Sometimes they were big fat bubbles.

I felt great satisfaction with each "pop."

These days, when I get...

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In Slow We Trust

(1) Comments | Posted July 17, 2012 | 5:00 PM

You've probably driven right by us. I'll bet you were speeding. Next time, slow down, stop and say hi. Stay a while.

Just a few dozen miles south of San Francisco, west of Silicon Valley or north of Santa Cruz you'll find the SLOWCOAST. It's a 45-mile stretch...

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In Baja, One Turtle Saved

(3) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Fifteen years ago the hawksbill sea turtle in my hands would have been hog-tied, whisked hundreds of miles, slaughtered and carved into trinkets.

Today, it swam free.

On Baja's Pacific coast, an adult male hawksbill sea turtle found its way into a fisherman's net. In the past, for the fisherman...

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Think of the Shark

(1) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 1:24 PM

Afterword for the book Surviving the Shark

Think of the shark.

If you've been paying attention all these years you know that like a conveyor belt a shark can continuously replace lost teeth over and over again. A shark's body is covered with dermal "teeth" that give it...

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Ten Crazy Things You Can Do for the Ocean

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2012 | 3:00 PM


1. Approach that complete stranger with the reusable bag, water bottle or cup, say, "Thank you," and give them a blue marble.

2. Be Paul Watson for Halloween and hip-check anyone who eats endangered ocean wildlife.

3. Walk backwards at...

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Three Places To Help The Ocean

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 8:20 AM

As winter chills much of North America, thoughts may turn to warm blue waters. Looking out on the sea is one of the best way to sooth a frayed attitude and reset one's mind. Here are three of my favorite places to get enjoy the ocean while doing good.


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Neoconsumerism: Blue Is the New Black

(2) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 12:25 PM

A couple of days ago my daughter asked her grandmother, "What's Black Friday?"

When her grandmother told her, my daughter followed with: "Have you ever done it?"

When I pulled on that thread it led to a conversation that is still unraveling. At the same time, news of camp-outs, body...

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Get Your Blue Mind On

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 4:26 AM

Co-authored by Sarah Kornfeld

Our brains have an amazing ability to do something: hide a world of truth from us. We're able to tune out the blinking lights and honking horns, the stress of work, the underwater mortgage, and those inappropriate clothes and music our kids prefer. Meanwhile, people around...

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Steve Jobs, Apple and the Sea Turtles

(1) Comments | Posted October 9, 2011 | 7:06 PM

This will sound like a stretch, but sea turtles owe much to the genius of Steve Jobs.

As a young student of conservation genetics, my first computer was an Apple. At that time, geneticists went with Apple mostly by default as the graphics-rich software for sequencing DNA ran...

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