An Interview With Dr. Wallace J Nichols, Blue Marbles Project Founder

Author: Steve Woods
Published: February 07, 2012 at 10:13 pm

It was a warm evening during the summer of 1976. Nine-year-old Wallace Nichols sat in front of his home with his friend Mike, staring up at the night skies. Wallace had spent his summer just as many kids his age had: playing marbles, riding bikes, going on hikes and hanging with friends. Little did Nichols know, that on this evening, a thought he was about to have, on that porch in New Jersey almost four decades ago, would shape the man he would become...

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, now 45, has a Masters in Environmental Science and Economics from Indiana's DePauw University, as well as a Ph. D. in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona.

In 1998, Nichols founded Grupo Tortuguero, a grassroots movement that has helped restore Pacific sea turtle populations, and has taught mindful, sustainable practices to those operating local fisheries. His work has influenced a variety of writers, including Carl Safina, author of Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur, who cites Nichol’s work with fishermen in Baja, Mexico. Gary Paul Nabhan, who wrote Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods, also cites Nichol’s sea turtle conservation efforts.

Nichols is an author in his own right, co-authoring the children’s book Chelonia: Return of the Sea Turtle. Some would say he’s not too hard on the eye either, raising money for his ocean conservation efforts, in part, through modeling for companies such as The Gap.

While being lauded for his local efforts in the Baja area, Dr. Nichols realized he wanted to spread a message of conservation awareness globally. How to do this, in a simple yet scalable manner, using something simple, memorable, and meaningful?

In 2009 Dr. Nichols returned, once again, to his boyhood roots, launching The Blue Marbles Project, while speaking at an event in Boston. Nichols chose to hand attendees a single blue marble, in what became a global effort to remind everyone of the fragility of our planet. According to Nichols, if you hold one of the marbles at arm’s length, you can envision the size of the Earth, from a million miles away in space.

The Project’s idea is to have one of their unique blue marbles pass through the hands of every living Soul on Earth. Take the marble you receive, ponder on who to provide it to in turn, and share, coupled with a message of gratitude.

Nichols estimates that there are currently a million of the Project’s marbles in circulation around the Globe.

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Article Author: Steve Woods

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