x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Sea Change

This event occurred on
April 13, 2012
10:00am - 4:30pm PDT
(UTC -7hrs)
Monterey, CA
United States

A natural fit for Monterey—a widely recognized epicenter of marine policy and science, "Sea Change" taps into the creative, collaborative, multidisciplinary and solution-seeking platform of TEDx to better understand how and why our oceans are changing. TEDxMonterey "Sea Change" offers an exploration of the connections between humans, the land and the sea in order to inspire innovative conservation measures, dynamic discussions, and heightened awareness. Participants from all ages and locales are creating deep dialogue about how humans relate to the other 70% of the planet: the oceans.

Irvine Auditorium
499 Pierce Street
Monterey, CA, 93940
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Elin Kelsey

Relentless “doom and gloom” fuels a culture of hopelessness among marine scientists, little kids, environmental activists and the rest of us. Elin champions a radical rethink of the ways we connect with the planet, drawing inspiration from studies on hope, resiliency, sustainable happiness, and the power to co-create in the post normal age.

Lynne Cox

Lynne is an inspirational/motivational speaker, New York Times Best Selling Author, and World Record Breaking Athlete. She was the Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year, awarded Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the year, honored with the UCSB Award for Courage, and inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame. Breaking all world records for open-water swimming she was the first person to swim across the Bering Strait (and she swims without a wetsuit!). Lynne also broke the men’s and women’s English Channel records twice when she was fifteen and sixteen years old. With support from her South African special forces crew, she swam around the Cape of Good Hope, encountering twenty foot waves, sharks, and sea snakes. She was the first person to swim across the Straits of Magellan in forty-two degree water, and in 2002 she was the first to swim 1.22 miles in thirty-two degree water from the ship the Orlova to the shores of Antarctica.

Dan Brayton

Dan teaches literature and environmental studies at Middlebury College in Vermont. His book, Shakespeare’s Ocean: An Ecocritical Exploration, is due out this spring from the University of Virginia Press. He has published articles in English Literary History, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Shakespeare Quarterly, Scribners’ British Writers series, and WoodenBoat Magazine and recently co-edited a book collection called Ecocritical Shakespeare. Brayton is also Literature, Art, and Music section editor of the academic journal, Coriolis: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies. When he is not doing research in rare-book libraries he can be found searching for sea life and fair winds somewhere on the global ocean.

Whitney Anderson

Some of my earliest memories involve the ocean. Once when I was six or seven I watched a documentary on the giant squid. It said something to the effect that no one had ever seen one alive, but they knew that they existed because their remains had been found in the bellies of Sperm Whales. I decided that I was going to be the first person to see one alive. So on a family camping trip in Baja California, I searched every tide pool, inlet, and beach in the area and was upset to find not much more than anemones and sea crabs. My passion for the ocean has continued to intensify throughout my life and today I am a scuba dive master studying international marine policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

John Bates

John is a consultant in the arena of online computer games and virtual goods. Since 2006 he has been a consultant for MindArk, creators of, and he is currently also working with WEMO Media, a next generation digital studio from Venice, Calif. WEMO Media is pioneering an art and entertainment project inspired by the ocean,, in collaboration with Academy Award winning animators, universities, artists, and developers from around the world. Bates was formerly online services director for Virtual Vegas (since sold to Vivendi), co-founder of, and global market developer for, where he was also the first employee and manager of venue relations. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences, business schools and other venues all over the world, including speaking at TEDActive during the 2011 and 2012 TED Conferences.

Wallace J. Nichols

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols (aka “J”) is currently a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences, founder/co-director of, an international network of young ocean advocates, and founder of LiVEBLUE, a campaign to better understand and deepen our emotional connection to the sea. He is particularly active in Pacific Sea Turtle research, conservation efforts and sustainable fisheries. Nichols advises a group of creative graduate students, has helped start many conservation nonprofits and projects and is a frequent contributor to mainstream magazines and websites. He lives on California’s SLOWCOAST with his family and a lot of animals, both wild and domestic.

Colleen Flanigan

Colleen is a visual, performing, and environmental artist, exhibiting internationally. She’s a TED Senior Fellow with a BA in Design from UCLA , and a post-baccalaureate degree in Metals from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. With 20 years of arts background, she moves from jewelry to steel sculptures, mixed-media interactive works to conceptual and collaborative projects. An armaturist for puppet fabrication, Colleen makes ball-and-socket skeletons for stop-motion animated puppets; she worked on the stop-motion animated feature, “Coraline,” (Feb. 2009). Her current creative focus is the ocean as she is developing Living Sea Sculptures using the Biorock mineral accretion process to help corals and biodiversity revive through art, science, and community. Her socio-ecological alter egos, Miss Snail Pail, a snail abatement specialist, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, engage environmental topics through conversation, films, and public interactivism, such as coral restoration re-enactments.

Melissa Garren

Melissa is interested in the many ways that microscopic organisms support the health and vitality of our oceans. Although invisible to the naked eye, there are five million bacteria and fifty million viruses in an average teaspoon of clean seawater. These unseen communities are the masterminds behind the beautiful blue, vibrant, productive oceans we can see with our naked eyes. Much of her work to date has focused on the ways in which coastal pollution disturbs these healthy microbial processes, particularly on coral reefs, with the aim of finding more sustainable solutions for land and coastal water use practices. She is currently delving deeper into coral-microbe interactions by studying the ways humans can influence individual pathogen behavior. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she is applying cutting edge microfluidic technologies to understand how and why microbial diseases are infecting so many corals around the globe. By combining tools from engineering and biophysics, she is able to study coral disease at the scale on which it actually occurs: the microscale. She ultimately hopes to work at the interface of research and policy by facilitating the integration of microbial processes into conservation planning. Melissa holds a B.S. in molecular biology from Yale University and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego.

Kyra Schlning

Kyra has worked in the video lab of the non-profit research center Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) since 1996. MBARI currently archives and manages a video collection of over 17,000 hours of deep-sea video footage from remotely operated vehicle research dives in Monterey Canyon, the northeastern Pacific, Hawaii, and the Gulf of California. Kyra reviews the underwater footage and describes all observed biological organisms and geologic features to help scientists access and utilize this valuable resource for ocean research. She is an expert in identifying deep-sea marine organisms, with a focus on the midwater animals such as jellies, cephalopods, fish and crustaceans. Kyra participates in several research cruises each year and recently returned from a 10-day cruise exploring the midwaters of the southern Gulf of California, Mexico. From 2007-2011 Kyra served on the Board of Directors for SpectorDance in Marina, California, and for the past two years she has collaborated with artistic director and choreographer Fran Spector Atkins on Ocean, a dance media piece designed to engage audiences of all ages on ocean issues. Part of the mission of MBARI is to develop innovative ways to educate the public about ocean science; this creative collaboration with SpectorDance merges fact and feeling to inform and inspire conservation of the ocean.

Spector Dance

Fran Spector Atkins, choreographer, artistic director and founder of SpectorDance, brings a lifetime of dance experience to Monterey County. She is recognized as a master teacher, award-winning choreographer, and international guest artist. Since 1996, Spector Atkins has collaborated with media specialist William Roden to create original dance media works utilizing a signature style of blending music, spoken word, and visual media with dance. Current efforts are focused on creating and performing Ocean, a new dance media project exploring human impacts on our world ocean. SpectorDance is collaborating with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) to create an innovative live performance integrating interviews with leading ocean scientists, high definition underwater film, original music and contemporary dance.

Ann Wasser

Ann’s love for the ocean runs deep. She knew from a young age that she would do something that involved the ocean. This desire was fueled by many trips to the coast with her family and the many days spent sailing with her grandfather. Ann received her B.S. in Earth Systems Science and Policy with a concentration in Marine and Coastal Ecology at CSU Monterey Bay and her M.Ed in Science Education from the University of Washington. After several years teaching at aquariums, aboard tall ships and at outdoor schools, Ann has landed at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History coordinating LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) for groups from Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

Larry Crowder

Larry is the Science Director at the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS). He is also a Professor of Biology at Hopkins Marine Station and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, both part of Stanford University. Previously, he was the Stephen Toth Professor of Marine Biology at Duke University. Dr. Crowder’s research centers on predation and food web interactions, mechanisms underlying recruitment variation in fishes, population and food web modeling in conservation biology, and interdisciplinary approaches to marine conservation. He has studied food web processes in both freshwater and marine ecosystems, and has used observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to understand these interactions in an effort to improve management. He was Principal Investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary research projects including the South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment (SABRE), OBIS SEAMAP (Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Animal Populations), and Project GLOBAL (Global Bycatch Assessment of Long-Lived Species). He has also directed and participated in a number of research, analysis, and synthesis groups at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and for the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board. His recent research has focused on marine conservation, including research on bycatch, spatial ecological analysis, nutrients and low oxygen, sustainable seafood, ecosystem-based management, marine spatial planning, and governance. He is a AAAS Fellow and was awarded Duke University’s Scholar/Teacher of the year award in 2008-2009.

Tim Bentley

A founding member of Sustainable Now Technologies, Inc., Tim has made a career of identifying and solving problems. Tim started his engineering career as a sophomore at USC, working with Honeywell Turbocharging Systems as a development and test engineer in the advanced projects group. Here he worked on the fast-paced development of the air-bearing turbocharger project. The only test engineer on a 5-person team, Tim was tasked with developing a test rig for daily tests of the new design, and responsible for coordinating and executing design changes. After honing his software and theoretical analysis skills at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Tim graduated from USC in 2002 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering. At this time he started a position as a test engineer at the Boeing Company’s Satellite Development Center, further honing his testing and troubleshooting skills. While working towards his Master’s at USC, Tim took a focus in Alternative Energies. Early investigations involved home-based hydrogen production and fueling system. As Chief Technology Officer since the company’s inception, he has guided the product development of SNT’s Energy Conversion Machines. Tim currently serves as Space Vehicle Test Director for the Boeing Company’s Satellite Development Center.

Eric Woolery-Grimm

A founding member of Sustainable Now Technologies, Inc., Eric has pioneered the use of organic oils for industry solutions for numerous eco-friendly products. Beginning in 2002, Eric has been an advocate for the use of D-Limonene, a byproduct of the orange and juicing industry, as an organic alternative pesticide with superior local treatment capabilities. Graduate of USC Fine Arts 2003 (illustration/cinema/theater) Eric has managed diverse projects including wetland conservation with Robbie Conal & artBURN, California primary fundraising and design for the Obama California Campaign (Green By Design Ltd.), and digital documentary and video art installation with Bohemian Lifestyle Entertainment. In 2005, Eric toured the nation with an award winning documentary he co-directed and co-edited. Returning to L.A. he settled in downtown and became active locally, joining the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council in 2006 focusing on park space, parking issues, and the revitalization of neglected industrial buildings. In 2009, Eric completed patent imaging for the working prototype Helix Bioreactor as well as helped build the first 10 and 200 Gallon indoor industrial algae growth environments for Origin Oil Inc. Eric currently represents the family business as a Branch 3 Structural Inspector, in Signal Hill, CA.

Mike Sutton

Mike is Vice President of the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he directs the Center for the Future of the Oceans. He received a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Utah State University in 1978 and pursued graduate studies in marine biology at the University of Sydney, Australia. In 1992, he received a law degree in international and natural resources law from George Washington University’s National Law Center in Washington, D.C. In 2007, and again in 2009, he was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as a Member of the California Fish and Game Commission. Sutton also serves as summer faculty at the Vermont Law School, where he teaches ocean & coastal law. He recently co-authored a book, “Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy,” published by the American Bar Association, and has lectured at graduate seminars on ocean conservation at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Tufts, George Washington University, and the University of Rhode Island. Previously, Sutton helped establish ocean conservation programs at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, where he founded the Marine Stewardship Council. He currently serves as Chairman of the Wild Salmon Center and a Board member of LightHawk, Ocean Champions, and the Sea Change Investment Fund.

Gary Cline

Gary is a life-long Alaskan resident, commercial fishermen, and subsistence harvester. He was raised in the remote region of Bristol Bay where his moral beliefs were shaped around the Yupik culture. Living off the land – the subsistence way of life – was the foundation of his family’s traditions that was passed on for generations with a focus on taking only what you need, respecting the environment, and sharing with others. His Yupik name is Yassicuar, which means “little box”. He was named after a respected elder from the village of Koliganek who was responsible for the little box of treasure used for tithes and offerings for the Russian Orthodox Church. At a young age, his parents and elders taught him traditional knowledge of the ecology and the importance of their renewable resources. As a result, respect for the environment became instilled in his daily routines. Gary is the Permanent Protection Coordinator for Nunamta Aulukestai (Caretakers of Our Lands); a non-profit organization made up of nine village corporations and their respective Tribes in Bristol Bay that got together to develop, promote, and implement land use management policies to provide a sustainable base for community development and to sustain their cultural beliefs. Bristol Bay hosts the largest salmon runs on the planet and is arguably one of the best managed fisheries. He received a bachelor’s degree in International Business from Fort Lewis College and works to protect the fisheries of Bristol Bay from unsustainable development.

Max Marty

Max is CEO of Blueseed, the visa-free startup community to be located on a cruise ship 30 minutes from the coast of Silicon Valley, in international waters. Max is the son of two Cuban immigrants, and has been passionate about entrepreneurship and technology from a young age. He received his undergraduate degrees in Global Political Economy & Philosophy from Muhlenberg College in PA, and his MBA from the University of Miami. Before joining Blueseed, he was Director of Business Strategy at the Peter Thiel funded Seasteading Institute.

Jason Scorse

Jason completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 and subsequently joined the faculty of the Monterey Institute. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. In 2009 he was promoted to the Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program and as of 2011 is also the Director of the new Center for the Blue Economy. Professor Scorse has consulted for major environmental organizations, and in 2010 his book, “What Environmentalists Need to Know About Economics,” was published by Palgrave Macmillan. Dr. Scorse is also the Chair of the Board of The Otter Project and sits on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Activities Panel.

Alan Lovewell

Alan grew up on the small island of Martha’s Vineyard. Surrounded by water he quickly learned to swim, dive, sail and fish for fun and for work. Stories of the wild and expansive Pacific brought Alan to Santa Cruz in 2000 to pursue an undergraduate degree at UCSC. After graduating, he headed south to teach sailing on the Sea of Cortez with the National Outdoor Leadership School. He returned a couple years later to study Marine Policy at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Alan has spent time with The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International in Indonesia. Currently he is a Sea Grant Fellow with NOAA’s Northwest Fishery Science Center. He is a cofounder of Local Catch Monterey Bay, a community supported fishery that connects people with local fishermen for sustainable seafood. For Alan, the ocean sustains, inspires, and defines his way of life.

Selin Jessa

Selin Jessa is an insatiably curious high school student from the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, who is passionate about social and environmental justice. Selin likes exploring ways to engage people and solve problems through projects at the intersection of science, art and technology. She is involved in a food security project at her high school, the effort to make Antarctica the first carbon neutral continent, and the organization of TEDxKids@BC, and was selected as a 2012 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leader. Selin recently returned from an environmental expedition to Antarctica with Students on Ice and is working on capturing her experience there and sharing it with the world.

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States


Carmel, CA, United States
  • Bob Cole
    Technical Wizard
  • Colleen Beye