Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson in conversation with John Dankosky

Ideas Summit: Environmental Voices

Can science save us? Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of Urban Ocean Lab and John Dankosky from Science Friday, discussing Dr. Johnson's latest book, "What If We Get It Right?" Explore the bold notion of envisioning a future where we act out of love for what's to come, navigating through the complexities of climate change with optimism and determination. This transformative dialogue offers a roadmap for embracing solutions at the intersection of science, policy, culture, and justice, inviting everyone to play a role in shaping a thriving world.

John Dankosky

John Dankosky is the Director of News and Audio, and a frequent guest host of the popular public radio program Science Friday.

Dankosky came to science journalism through his coverage of climate change and environmental issues with Connecticut Public Radio and the New England News Collaborative.

He's also covered national, state and local news as co-host of the national talk program America Amplified, and founding host of the regional magazine show NEXT, along with statewide programs Where We Live and The Wheelhouse. He was there at the start as a "founding friend" of the Connecticut Mirror, where he hosts live events and podcasts, including Untold with Mercy Quaye.

A regular contributor to NPR, Dankosky has worked with the network to build journalism collaborations, and is now heading up Science Friday's State of Science Reporting Network, bringing together great science reporting from across the country.

Dankosky has produced and edited national award-winning long-form documentaries on mental health and care for the elderly, and has also reported hundreds of short segments for NPR and public radio stations, ranging from gun policy to basketball to virtual reality.

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and Brooklyn native. She is co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for the future of coastal cities. She co-edited the bestselling climate anthology All We Can Save, co-founded The All We Can Save Project, and co-created the Spotify/Gimlet climate solutions podcast How to Save a Planet.

Recently, Dr. Johnson co-authored the Blue New Deal, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy. Previously, as executive director of the Waitt Institute, she co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. She also developed U.S. federal ocean policy at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Dr. Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in environmental science and public policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology, with a dissertation on the ecology, socio-economics, and policy of sustainably managing coral reefs. The fish trap she invented to reduce bycatch won the first Rare/National Geographic Solution Search. 

Dr. Johnson serves on the board of directors for Patagonia and GreenWave, on the advisory boards of Environmental Voter Project and Scientific American, and on the steering committee for the Ocean Justice Forum. Recent recognitions include, the Schneider Award for climate communication, the Time 100 Next List, and appointment to the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

Her writing has been published widely, including in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Scientific American. Dr. Johnson’s forthcoming book has the working title What If We Get It Right?: Visions of Climate Futures

She is the proud daughter of a teacher/farmer and an architect/potter. She is in love with climate solutions. Find her@ayanaeliza.

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