September 18, 2018

Announcing the 23rd Heinz Awards Honorees

News Source: Heinz Family Foundation

Established by Teresa Heinz to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards celebrates his accomplishments and spirit by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him.

This year’s recipients include an interdisciplinary artist – choreographer, writer, visual artist and curator – whose richly moving body of work interweaves movement, media, visual arts and language; an environmental psychologist whose research on the impact of urban green space on physical and mental health is changing forest and landscape design policy; an education reformer whose bold new models for preparing, equipping and training teachers and school leaders is effecting dramatic, positive change in public school classrooms and increasing teacher diversity; a global expert on freshwater microplastic pollution whose research is raising awareness of microplastics, microfibers and other contaminants in our freshwater systems, leading to worldwide policy change; a marine ecologist working at the intersection of science and policy to protect the world’s last pristine marine environments; and a social entrepreneur whose global nonprofit is opening doors of economic opportunity for high impact companies in developing countries and in the U.S.

Collectively, they represent the vision, creativity and determination that produce achievements of lasting good and meaningful impact, which the Heinz Awards hopes to inspire.

Dr. Enric Sala, a marine ecologist, is recognized for his worldwide efforts to survey, research and protect the Earth’s remaining pristine ocean places. A National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Sala’s career is dedicated to restoring the health and productivity of the Earth’s oceans, and his more than 120 scientific publications are widely recognized and implemented in conservation efforts.

Dr. Sala is the founder and leader of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, a project that draws on exploration, research, economic and policy analysis, together with effective media outreach, to inspire country leaders to protect the last truly wild places in the world’s oceans while ensuring that they will be effectively managed for years to come. Pristine Seas works in partnership with heads of state, local governments and communities, non-governmental organizations and business leaders to implement change. Since its creation, Pristine Seas has undertaken 26 expeditions and helped establish 19 marine protected areas (MPAs) to help safeguard more than five million square kilometers of the ocean. Two additional MPAs are expected to be established this year.

“Studies suggest that we need at least 30 percent of the ocean under protection, not only to save marine life, but to save us as well…Humans need a healthy ocean to survive.”

The 19 marine reserves inspired by the exploration and research conducted by Dr. Sala and his team include a broad representation of marine ecosystems, from shallow coral reefs to deep seamounts, from the Russian Arctic to Cape Horn in Chile, through tropical archipelagos and temperate seas harboring underwater forests of giant kelp. The best-known of these areas is probably in Ecuador, where Dr. Sala worked with the government to create a new marine sanctuary around the Galápagos Islands of Darwin and Wolf.

Dr. Sala dreams of a day where fishing boats are nowhere to be found in the open ocean. His long-term vision is to eliminate fishing on the high seas—those areas of open ocean beyond the 200 miles from any country’s shoreline—and to end the $4 billion being used to subsidize high seas fishing, which often involves the use of massive nets that pull up everything in their path, leaving behind entire swaths of the ocean devoid of marine life.