Special Report

30 Heroes Fighting to Save Our Oceans

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

16. Ted Danson
> Occupation: Actor

Television viewers may remember Ted Danson as the amiable skirt-chasing bartender Sam Malone in the sit-com “Cheers.” Off-camera, Danson is a serious advocate for the oceans. He became involved in oceanic conservation in the 1980s and helped found the American Oceans Campaign that evolved into Oceana. Danson has appeared at many governmental hearings about ocean conservation, and he and his wife, actor Mary Steenburgen, sit on the Oceana board of directors. Danson also has authored a book on the oceans titled “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them.”

Source: Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

17. Richard Branson
> Occupation: Entrepreneur

British business magnate Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, will do just about anything to support marine conservation projects — witness his willingness to dress as a mermaid on World Oceans Day. His nonprofit Oceans Unite raises money, funds research projects, and hosts events and initiatives to educate and generate public interest in what’s going on offshore.

Source: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

18. Diane Lane
> Occupation: Actor

Sharks may not have many friends, but actress Diane Lane has their backs. The Academy Award-nominated actor has been lobbying for the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which was introduced to Congress in January of this year. The measure would outlaw the buying, selling, and transport of shark fins in the U.S. The practice of shark finning, in which the fin is cut off and the body is discarded at sea, is illegal in the U.S., but fins are still imported and exported in America.

Source: tedxmonterey / Flickr

19. Asha de Vos
> Occupation: Biologist

If you use oxygen, you should thank a whale, according to marine biologist Asha de Vos, founder of the Sri Lankan Blue Whale project. De Vos notes that whales play a role in creating more than half the planet’s oxygen, spelling it out in her TED Talk “Why you should care about whale poo,” which has garnered more than 1.3 million views. The scientist, who charts the habits and movements of these marine leviathans, describes them as “ecosystem engineers. Take them away and the system can fall apart.”

Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

20. James Cameron
> Occupation: Film director

“Titanic” director James Cameron is fascinated with underwater exploration, which included exploring the wreck of the doomed ocean liner. He also teamed up with National Geographic, Rolex, and Microsoft’s Paul Allen to construct a submersible vessel that piloted to the bottom of Challenger Deep in 2012, only the second manned dive to the deepest known place on Earth. Cameron filmed a documentary of his dive and donated the $8 million sub to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. He also said he would donate a portion of the gross receipts from “Avatar” sequels to environmental causes.

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