Wallace J. Nichols
Blue Mind Thinker. Marine Biologist. Turtle Nerd.
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols (J) has been called a water warrior, one who commits to helping others access their “blue mind state.” His visionary ideas related to ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management and plastic pollution inspire others to find a deeper connection with nature and embrace inventive approaches to issues ranging from protection of ocean life to global water supply to the mental health benefits of a life spent on or near the water.
Formerly a senior scientist at Ocean Conservancy, J holds a M.E.M. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University and a Ph.D. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He received a Bradley Fellowship to study the impacts of sea level rise at Duke University Marine Lab, a Marshall Fellowship to study at the University of Arizona, and a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico marine station in Mazatlán. In 2011 he was inducted as a Fellow National member of the Explorers Club. In 2014 he received the University of Arizona's Global Achievement Award.
J has authored more than 200 publications, lectured in more than 30 countries and nearly all 50 states, and appeared in hundreds of media outlets including NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist. His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller. It has been translated into numerous languages, most recently Mandarin, and inspired a wave of media and practical application.
J’s home on California's Slow Coast—a rural stretch of coastal mountains overlooking the Monterey Bay where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and their motto is "In Slow We Trust"—had become a storied gathering spot for deep thinkers, conservationists, moguls and artists. Among the many structures and wild spaces that the CZU Lightning Complex fires of 2020 claimed, was this home. J communicated the news to his oldest daughter, who had days earlier left for college, in this letter (published by Outside Magazine).
Among the things J teaches us, is that everything is fluid. What he gets jazzed about the most is helping to change the conversation about, well, you name it: adoption, architecture, the Arts, business, community organizing, design, education, fishing, fundraising, health care, hospice, leadership, neuro conservation, non-profits, oceans, parenting, plastic pollution, real estate, recreation, sea turtles, slow food, surfing, technology, travel, urban planning, water, and well-being. Contact us to discuss how J can help reframe your conversation.
J knows that inspiration can come through adventure. It can come simply by walking and talking, through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But J also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. At every turn, he encourages people to disconnect from the grid and reconnect with themselves, those they love, and the special places they care about.
J’s research, expeditions, and work as a guide 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 or financial gain—is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.
His current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water. In this narrative, society embraces all of the physical, ecological, economic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, physical, and social benefits of healthy oceans and waterways. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists to ask and answer exciting new questions, J shows how blue mind positively impacts all facets of life, including health and wellness, education, parenting, the arts, architecture and design, urban planning, sports, recreation, and travel.
Photos: courtesy Wallace J. Nichols