Dr Alasdair Harris is the founder and executive director of Blue Ventures, leading an interdisciplinary team of scientists and health practitioners in international marine conservation projects. He’s also a technical advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme, an honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh School of Geosciences and is widely published in both peer reviewed literature and the wider media.
After studying for his MSc at Oxford and chairing the university’s Exploration Club, Harris set up Blue Ventures to deliver and pioneer scalable solutions to marine conservation problems around the world. Promoting sustainable approaches, the organisation works with coastal communities to not only protect marine biodiversity but to sustain local cultures and economies, working to alleviate poverty. This has seen the charity work everywhere from the mangrove forests of Madagascar to the fisheries of Belize. In each country, the organisation works at the grassroots to educate local communities on the importance of marine conversation, ensuring that they understand its role in improving food security, combating climate change and reversing worrying trends in biodiversity.
In his time outside Blue Ventures, Harris gained his doctorate in Marine Ecology from the University of Warwick. He’s also worked as an expert consultant for and been published by BBC news, the Guardian, the TED blog and the Telegraph. Along with his work as a TED fellow and Ashoka fellow, Harris has received a number of awards:
- Winner of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship
- WWF Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Award
- Highly commended by the HRH the Duke of Cambridge in the 2013 Tusk Conservation Awards
- Twice recognised by the UK Chancellor in the Enterprising Young Brits awards
- IUCN World Conservation Union’s Young Conservationist Award
- Condé Nast Environment Award