Honoring Dr. Wallace J Nichols, Longtime Friend and Advisor to Plastic Pollution Coalition

With very heavy hearts, we mark the passing of our longtime friend and advisor, Dr. Wallace J Nichols. Simply put, Plastic Pollution Coalition would not exist without J. He has been with us since the beginning: advising, connecting, inspiring.

J was an ocean and wild water lover, marine biologist, and passionate sea turtle advocate who made it his mission to connect every human with their Blue Mind, a water-induced state of calm, unity, and inspired will to protect and restore nature, and the antidote to the “red mind” stress many of us experience today.

It is true that oceans give us life, but our planet’s wild places also make life worth living, and help heal us when we are broken.

– J Nichols

His heart-centered work has become a global movement; influenced countless environmental organizations, businesses, and educational institutions; and inspired people around the world to protect and restore the oceans and other natural areas, using awe and connection rather than guilt and fear to inspire action. As he explained, “Blue Mind turned turtle poachers into turtle protectors.” For his expansive and brilliant work, we nominated him for The Earthshot Prize in 2023 and The Aloha Award in 2024. Now, Blue Mind is reaching a whole new generation.

J created the simple act of gifting a blue marble as a gesture of gratitude and in celebration of our beautiful, fragile, tiny blue planet, and through this global art project reached over 1 billion people, including Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Jane Goodall, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

J had a massive impact on how we do our work at Plastic Pollution Coalition, and many of us considered him a personal friend and mentor. We extend heartfelt condolences to J’s lovely wife, Dana, daughters Grayce and Julia, to his mother Sheila and their entire family, and to so many people in our network who knew and loved him. J will continue to inspire our work. We will always find him on the warm ocean breeze, amongst the waves, and in every moment we pause to feel awe and appreciation for our beautiful, blue, water planet. 

TAKE ACTION

You can honor Dr. Wallace J Nichols by contributing to the Dr Wallace J Nichols Memorial Fund (approved by his family) and by spreading the word about Blue Mind to help fulfill his mission of letting every human being on the planet know about the emotional, cognitive, and spiritual values that water brings. 

Our goal is that every single human being understands their Blue Mind. I want every person on the planet to know, to learn, what we know about the beneficial aspects of water, for physical and mental health.

 – J Nichols

Read more about his work, hear him speak on our June 2023 webinar, read the blog he wrote about beach walks with his daughters, watch his TEDx Great Pacific Garbage Patch talk, and love the ocean by helping to complete his 11th Annual 100 Days of Blue Mind Challenge (#5)

And most importantly, as J would say, “Get in the water.”

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11 responses to “Honoring Dr. Wallace J Nichols, Longtime Friend and Advisor to Plastic Pollution Coalition”

  1. Ray Horwath says:

    What an amazing life.
    May his life work continue to inspire, carry on and continue to reconnect humans to water. To play, protect and preserve water is our collective calling.
    Water is life.
    Thank you for dedicating yours to it.
    RIP.

  2. Micaela says:

    💔 Immensamente GRAZIE per avermi ispirato🙏

  3. hannah lopez says:

    He changed my life with his insights and compassion. just can’t believe it.
    love from mallorca

  4. Milena Regos says:

    I’m devastated by this news. I connected with Wallace years back and he sent me the blue marble. We were just talking about sharing his wisdom on the Unhustle podcast. Such a big loss. My heart goes out to his family and community. We will continue to dedicate 1% to protect the oceans. RIP.

  5. Abby says:

    I am shocked to hear of his passing. Such a loss.

  6. Memphis Holland says:

    He inspired me almost 20 years ago to follow my passion for the sea and water conservation. He spoke at Rachel’s Network event many years ago now. I fondly watched how he created next generations of scientists who are contributing to our future. I will continue to honor J and his work.

  7. Lauren Stack says:

    We at Watershape University, too, loved J. He was to give a BlueMind Workshop at our upcoming international show in November.

    Thank you for this post. It is all so true and so faithful to his being and his influence

  8. Christina Horvat says:

    I got it. The blue mind. Grateful for his work and book. What a lovely man

  9. Melissa Jenkins says:

    I save spaces in my heart for people like J. It’s sad to hear of his passing. J means a lot to me because he was a mentor. He taught me to think about impact, to think about the un-quantifiable. It’s hard to put it in words. I always wanted to be a scientist, educator and artist. J said, Of course. All those things are possible and are connected. I was grateful to be part of the Ocean Revolution and Grupo Tortugero and selling his sea turtle book. I feel like J saw the world differently. He saw the interconnectedness of life and we are all just human.
    Blessings and thank you.

  10. Vikkee Hiddleson says:

    So very sad to hear this news . I met him prior to 2020 and because of our common surname had the most interesting conversation . I purchased the book because it was what I have always believed . The water connection . Such a loss

  11. Maryann Matteson says:

    Years ago my daughter went on an Earthwatch turtle saving expedition with J. (Back in the day when J was pursuing his own advanced degree). J’s crew lived in palapas on the beach. They scrubbed the shells of turtles, fed and medicated them, took small boats out to look for injured turtles or those stuck in plastic refuse, helped them regain their health so they could be returned to their ocean habitat. Robyn was still in high school when she went on this Earthwatch voyage with J. He had such an impact on her as she went off to college, majoring in biology and later pursuing a doctorate in marine biology.
    J’s treks and the marine bio “cruises” that followed were not what many teens might dream of. . .a broken down van heading to Mexico with Tracy Chapman playing. . .boats or ships heading to sea later, always with severe water restrictions for those coming aboard to do their studies, even a National Geographic movie on whales produced along the way. Way back, long ago, J planted a seed that was to remain a huge part of my daughter’s psyche. I am sure that J had the same influence on many individuals over the years. I want to express my gratitude for the lifelong effect J had on young adults, informing awareness, appreciation and environmental concerns which undoubtedly led many to be a part of the answer rather than contributing to the problem. So sad that J had to leave at such a young age. I hope it might give close family members some comfort to realize what an impact he had on many for the short time he was here.

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