A conservationist and former diplomat, Susan Ruffo is the senior advisor for Ocean and Climate at United Nations Foundation.

Why you should listen

Susan Ruffo is drawn to anything that involves the still mysterious but critical life support system we call the ocean. She began her career as a United States diplomat, working in Nigeria, Argentina, China and at home in the US with Tribal Nations. This experience taught her to approach the world with an open and inquisitive mind, and to seek common ground rather than exploit differences. She later worked as a conservationist and ocean advocate, first at The Nature Conservancy and then at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ocean Conservancy and the United Nations Foundation.

Ruffo's work aims to bring people together to protect the ocean. This has included fighting climate change, helping to make coastal communities more resilient to climate impacts and other shocks, and making life a little better for informal waste workers who are on the front lines of keeping plastic out of the ocean. The critical common thread is bringing diverse communities together, to understand their needs and build solutions that address them and make the most of their experience and knowledge. Ruffo believes in a world that values the diversity of human life and the diversity and richness of the natural world -- and that each is needed to support the other.

Susan Ruffo’s TED talk

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