How can we make a Blue New Deal?

Hear about inspiring Australian conservation measures to restore seagrass, protect vulnerable species and preserve a critical ecosystem in this Inspiring Australia NSW supported National Science Week event, Justice for the Oceans.

Healthy oceans are fundamental to a healthy planet. From phytoplankton, the tiny ocean plants that produce the oxygen we breathe, to the rich diversity of other ocean plants and creatures, we depend on our oceans to survive and thrive.

But our oceans are both under threat and pose a threat. Pollution, overfishing and the destruction of coral reefs are killing them from within, while the impacts of climate change – rising sea levels and storm surges – are transforming the ocean from friend to foe for the many millions who live on the coast.

Globally-renowned ocean defender Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is clear: saving the oceans is key to fighting the climate crisis. Watch a pre-recorded conversation between Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and leading Australian marine scientist Emma Johnston, followed by a live panel discussion with seaweed expert Adriana Vergés and marine resilience researcher Laura Parker hosted by Emma Johnston.

Their insights will focus on how these issues are playing out in Australia and internationally, the future of the oceans in the age of climate change, how to mobilise support for a Blue New Deal and how women leaders are pioneering global climate action.


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, writer and Brooklyn native. She is founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities, and co-creator and co-host of the Spotify/Gimlet podcast How to Save a Planet. With Dr Katherine Wilkinson, she co-edited the climate anthology All We Can Save, and co-founded The All We Can Save Project. Recently, she co-authored the Blue New Deal, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy. Her mission is to build community around solutions to our climate crises. Find he@ayanaeliza.

Emma Johnston AO FTSE FRSN is Dean of Science and Professor of Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology at UNSW Sydney. She studies the impacts of human activities in marine ecosystems and how we can build ecological resilience. A highly awarded scientist, educator and communicator, she is Co-Chief Author of the Australian Government’s State of Environment Report, and a Director on the Board of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Adriana Vergés is a marine ecologist and conservationist at UNSW Sydney. Her research focuses on the ecological impacts of climate change and the conservation of the world’s algal forests and seagrass meadows and much of her research takes place underwater. Adriana is passionate about communicating science to the wider public, especially through films, art and new media.

Laura Parker is a Wiradjuri scientist interested in understanding and overcoming the impacts of climate change and environmental stress on marine organisms. Her research focuses specifically on building resilience in marine molluscs, particularly how to ‘future-proof’ natural oyster populations and the Australian oyster industry, and contribute to the restoration of degraded oyster habitats that are of enormous importance to Indigenous Australians.

Event details

When: 3 to 4.30pm, Saturday 21 August
Where: Powerhouse Theatre, Powerhouse Museum Ultimo
Cost: $16-$20

Purchase tickets via this link 

Feature image shows Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. Justice for the Oceans is presented by the Powerhouse Museum, UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Science with support from Inspiring Australia NSW as part of National Science Week.