Sun, Feb

Ocean Conservancy Scientist Honored In Documentary Film 'The 11th Hour'

Leonardo DiCaprio's film explores environmental crises we face on Earth as seen through the eyes of prominent thinkers and activists

WASHINGTON - Ocean Conservancy's Senior Research Scientist, Wallace J. Nichols, appears in Leonardo DiCaprio's environmental documentary film, "The 11th Hour," to inform the film's content on the issues of climate change and the ocean. "The 11th Hour" premiers today in Los Angeles. Mr. Nichols joins an esteemed group of thought leaders, including reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai in the film. "The 11th Hour" documents the grave problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of ocean habitats are all addressed.

"It was an honor to be asked to work with Leo and the producers on 'The 11th Hour' because it offers an intensely honest and thorough look at our planet's most urgent environmental problems and also the real solutions that exist," said Dr. Nichols. "Climate change is the most pressing issue we face because it affects most aspects of our environment, including the ocean and its wildlife."

The ocean's temperature and currents dictate global climate, and climate change, in turn, affects the ocean by altering the chemical composition and temperature of the water. Ocean habitats and wildlife are directly impacted by the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, for instance, which is making ocean water more acidic, turning the water corrosive and resulting in oxygen loss. The ocean is also warming, and ocean life has responded by moving poleward. This change in behavior results in negative economic impacts for communities that lose sources of fishing and other ocean-related income. Warmer water is also exacerbating coral reef bleaching in places where productive ecosystems once thrived around living reefs.

"We must not forget that, even at this time of great challenge, there are solutions that we can apply to solve crises in the ocean. The film presents some important solutions that are beneficial for everyone to learn about," added Dr. Nichols. "The message of the film is made very clear: the hope is us, and the moment for change is now."

Dr. Nichols' daughter Grayce also appears in "The 11th Hour" and he notes that "Grayce will grow up on a planet that is healthier and safer, thanks to the solutions inspired by my colleagues in this film."


"We are pleased that Dr. Nichols had the opportunity to lend his expertise in the development of this history-making documentary that addresses dire environmental concerns," said Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "Climate change is an ocean problem. The ocean is where climate change impacts are first being felt with higher water temperatures, acidification, rising sea levels and shrinking icecaps. The ocean, in fact, is our first line of defense against climate change because it absorbs enormous amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise add to the problem. But sadly, climate change is damaging the ocean environment and its wildlife."

"The 11th Hour" is opening on August 17th in New York and Los Angeles. On August 24th, and in following weeks, it opens in more cities across the country. For more information on the movie and when it will come to a theater near you, visit http://www.oceanconservancy.org/11thhour or http://www.11thhouraction.com/.

Ocean Conservancy is the world's foremost advocate for the ocean. Through science-based advocacy, research, and public education, we inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act for the oceans. Ocean Conservancy is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in New England, Florida, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and California with support from more than half a million members and volunteers.

Source: Ocean Conservancy

CONTACT: Tom McCann of Ocean Conservancy, +1-202-351-0465,

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Web site: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/11thhour