Dr. Sylvia Earle, Council Chair
Dr. Sylvia A. Earle is Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, Founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.) / Mission Blue, Founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), Chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. Author of more than 200 publications and leader of more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater, Dr. Earle is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and PhD. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy® Award Winning Netflix documentary, Mission Blue, and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards including being named Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, 2014 UNEP Champion of the Earth, Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year, member of the
Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, and winner of the 2009 TED Prize, the Walter Cronkite Award, the 1996 Explorers Club Medal, the Royal Geographic Society 2011 Patron’s Medal, and the National Geographic 2013 Hubbard Medal. She has led more than 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, participating in ten saturation dives, most recently in July 2012, and setting a record for solo diving in 1,000 meters depth. Her research concerns marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration, conservation and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments. Her special focus is on developing a global network of marine protected areas, “Hope Spots,” to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.
Liz Taylor has been involved with DOER Marine from its inception and became President and CEO in 1994. The company designs and builds subsea robotic and manned systems for a variety of applications ranging from deep ocean exploration to critical infrastructure inspection. Through her work at DOER, she has been involved in numerous projects relating to coastal restoration and public access in the Bay Area including water & waste water management, capture of marine plastics, and the Wild Oyster Project – a program focused on restoring native oysters to the San Francisco Bay to improve water quality and shoreline integrity. as well as further afield. This includes serving on the Deep Water Horizon Study Group at Cal Berkeley, which she continues to collaborate on today. Taylor was selected as a representative for a US Department of Interior trade mission to Guam, Saipan and the Marianas Islands. In addition, she served as President of the Perry Foundation’s Caribbean Marine Research Center, one the only US undersea research centers to utilize
manned submersibles and ROVs together on a year-round basis. She has participated in more than 50 scientific and educational ocean exploration projects including working with the California Academy of Sciences, National Geographic Society, Ocean Conservancy, BBC, Discovery Channel and the Explorer’s Club. She is a member of the Marine Technology Society, The Association of Diving Contractors and the Explorer’s Club. Liz Taylor has authored a number of technical and natural history articles and papers. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
Emory is an explorer and an inspiring hero of the seas; Emory's extraordinary pursuits include the successful hunt of the Titanic, locating deep sea volcanoes and gigantic squids; and laying to rest the truth of the cryptic Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. After more than 40 years of traveling the world, covering mostly scientific, high-tech and deep underwater exploratory expeditions for the National Geographic, Emory's accomplishments scale higher than Mt Everest and deeper than the Mariana Trench. Like with all great explorers, Shackleton, Hilary, Cousteau an inexplicable niggling begins in the gut that eventually blooms into an idea to go beyond and see what no one has ever seen, done or heard before. His ventures are mostly extreme, peculiar and more immense than space exploration. In his early years at the Geographic, observing the reduced quality of deep water imagery, Emory rose to the challenge experimenting with wide angle lenses, and a variation of lighting techniques. Along the way, Kristof has pioneered the use of robotic cameras and remotely
operated vehicles (ROVs). Emory's most illustrious accomplishment must be the 1985 teaming up with Robert Ballard at Woods Hole Institute to find and film the Titanic. This quest actually began in the 1970s, when he invented the designs of the electronic camera system for the ARGO submersible which eventually found the Titanic. In 1991, Emory further produced a Soviet-Canadian collaboration to shoot three-dimensional IMAX (Image Maximum) production of the Titanic The expedition used two Russian submersibles equipped with 10,000 watts of high-intensity HMI lights mounted on arms to light up the mammoth wreck. To date it remains the most powerful set of lights ever set up to work in the deep ocean. The shoot produced the most published images of the Titanic. In fact it was Emory who inspired Oscar-nominated director James Cameron to film the now famed epic. Emory revealed to Cameron the techniques of illuminating and shooting the humongous wreck resting in the dark abyss. Emory also introduced Cameron to the agile MIR submersibles which were featured in the opening scenes of the Hollywood version of the 'Titanic'. According to Joseph MacInnis, executive producer of the IMAX version of the Titanic, Kristof mounted the twin cameras outside the pressure hull of the submersible and spent 50 hours filming the wreck from every conceivable angle. Emory was the person behind the imagery. "We all know the story and most of us have seen the movie but with 3-D film it is now possible to make a virtual visit to the wreck. It's so real you want to touch it." Emory quips, "Deep water represents about 70 percent of the planet, so it gave me a lot of room to roam. I like the challenge of it." With his passion for, exploring the cold, dark, and mysterious depths of our oceans, notwithstanding the honour of working on high-profile projects, Kristof declares that his enthusiasm is still in animal imagery. A prime example is discovering new life forms swirling around hydrothermal vents in the volcanic hot springs of the Galapagos Rift. With his life long friends Ralph White and Mike Cole at National Geographic they created the design for a timer-controlled camera (Ropecam) baited to attract marine life up to 5kms deep. Until 1977, we didn't know anything about the science of the deep sea. Emory's Galapagos shoot revealed for the first time, a whole new ecosystem that exists in the deep ocean. It was to be the greatest biological discovery of the century documented in an Emmy award winning feature titled, -Dive to the Edge of Creation. Emory is at the forefront with his vision of exploring and sampling the deep sea of the heart of the coral triangle. In September 2007 after four years of planning, negotiations and false starts, surviving both political and security red tape he lead a 30-man team of scientists, ROV pilots, film crew, Navy Seals into the Southern Philippines, dodging pirates and terrorists to explore the deep water of the Celebes Sea.
Emory is first a photographer; his work has uncovered the un-explored worlds of the deep sea. Kristof and Bill Curtsinger's article "Testing the Waters of Rongelap," published in National Geographic magazine in April 1998, records oceanic life in the nuclear weapons-contaminated waters surrounding the Marshall Islands. In August 1998 Kristof's pictures of the Titanic were presented in the National Geographic magazine article, "Tragedy in Three Dimensions." The pictures, taken in 1991 using high-intensity lighting systems, achieved unprecedented detail due to advances in 3-D computer video-editing. He has produced over 40 articles for National Geographic magazine. Kristof's accomplishments have earned many awards for both writing and photography, including the NOGI Award for Arts from the Underwater Society of America in 1988 and an Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award for Underwater Exploration in 1986. That same year Kristof and Robert Ballard received the American Society of Magazine Publishers Innovation in Photography Award for their photographic coverage of the Titanic. Kristof was presented with the 1998 J. Winton Lemen Fellowship Award by the U.S. National Press Photographers Association "for being one of our profession's most imaginative innovators with particular attention to pictures from beneath the ocean brought to the readers of National Geographic magazine."
Howard Shaw was former Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC). Howard graduated from Oxford Brookes University, UK, in 1995, majoring in environmental biology and business administration. Since returning to Singapore he has become actively involved in driving the environmental movement through the numerous projects of the SEC, green groups, as well as on a personal level. As one of the representatives of Singapore’s NGO community Howard has contributed towards shaping Singapore’s environmental policies, strategies, as well as action plans. During his formative days at the SEC he was responsible for development and administration of the Singapore Environmental Achievement Award, which is Singapore’s first award scheme to recognise the efforts of local enterprises, which practice proactive environmental management. As well as this he was also in charge of administration of the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme and development of new environmental labelling standards. Howard represented the NGO community on various national committees and groups including
the Singapore Accreditation Council’s Project Team for Environmental Management Systems Accreditation and a Council Committee member for management systems; Focus Group member for the National Preparatory Process leading up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002; US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement’s Environmental Review Committee; Action Plan Committees for the Singapore Green Plan 2012 (Waste Minimisation, Clean Air, Nature Conservation, Clean Water, and International Environmental Relations); Singapore Manufacturers Federation’s Environment Health & Security Committee; PUB’s Water Network; Governing Board of the Singapore Packaging Agreement; Board member of the Singapore Science Centre; Public Hygiene Council. He is currently still active as Patron of the Kranji Countryside Association (KCA), and Chairman of Social Creatives, a NPO that promotes art in public areas for to support a range of causes. As of April 2011 Howard joined the Halcyon Group and currently is Head of Environment, Health & Safety for Halcyon Agri Corporation Ltd., which is involved in all stages of the natural rubber supply chain, headquartered in Singapore with key assets in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Lars Valentin Jacobsson is an entrepreneur who graduated as a marketing and business economist from IHM Business School in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1990. He is the Chairman and CEO of United Sun Systems, Chairman of The Perfect World Foundation, Chairman of Volunteer Travels, and a member of the board of the World Sustainable Development Forum (WSDF)– Nordic.
At 16 years old, Lars started to work in the oil harbor of Gothenburg; he established his reputation during the 1990s through his entrepreneurship, where he started several storage, trading, and shipping companies. In 2000, Lars met his wife, Ragnhild “Rags” Jacobsson. Together they made many trips around the world becoming more aware of the tragic situation for animals and nature. These insights inspired Lars to sell his companies and become deeply engaged in a number of animal and nature-related philanthropic endeavours. The most important endeavour for him personally was to be able to pursue his vision of a fossil fuel-free future with a focus on solar energy.
Since 2005, Lars has founded two solar energy technology companies, most recently United Sun Systems. The focus of this company is on creating the world’s first viable solar energy technology, including storage, in order to facilitate the transition away from a carbon-based economy to a green economy. During this time, Lars and Rags became private sponsors/donors for a number of conservation projects around the world; in 2010 the husband and wife team officially founded The Perfect World Foundation, a Scandinavian-based independent non-profit organization. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson (Fergie), proudly serves as Global Ambassador to this foundation. The primary mission of The Perfect World Foundation is to support animals and natural areas in crisis and to raise awareness and funding together with other projects around the world in order to create positive action for global conservation initiatives. With the same goal, Volunteer Travels in Scandinavia was bought in 2009 and has grown to encompass over 80 projects in 23 countries. In 2015, Lars was appointed Ambassador of Elephant Family in London, of which Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are the Presidents. In 2016 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Rajendra K. Pachauri, nominated Lars Jacobsson as a member of the board of WSDF-Nordic.
Ragnhild Jacobsson (Rags) is the CEO and Co-founder of The Perfect World Foundation, the CEO for Volunteer Travels, the CSR Manager at United Sun Systems, and a proud Ambassador for Elephant Family in London.
Ragnhild was born in Tromsø, a small island in northern Norway and major cultural hub above the Arctic Circle. Growing up close to the majestic whales, orcas and the Northern Lights made her an environmentalist at an early age. Traveling gave her an opportunity to genuinely appreciate the importance of the diversity of ecosystems across the globe. In fact, the nickname “Rags” was given to her by friends in Botswana who couldn’t pronounce the old Viking name Ragnhild. Rags has achieved many accomplishments in her professional career which began in the 1980s in the music industry. She then went on to work as Head of Marketing and designer for Munsingwear in Scandinavia after completing her studies at Berghs School of Communications. Rags also formed the company Dog & Dino, a company working with
canine accessories distributed through one of Europe’s largest retailers. At this stage she met her husband, Lars Jacobsson, and they started travelling the world together as a team, sharing their passion for conserving the environment. After witnessing firsthand the changes we humans have done to our natural world and the animals dependent upon it, she and her husband decided to become actively involved in creating awareness of the crisis; together they privately funded several conservation projects. Based on their success with these projects, they decided to create a platform, The Perfect World Foundation, where they could expand their influence and continue to spread awareness about the ongoing situation. Today The Perfect World Foundation has a huge network with conservationists, celebrities and politicians, all working together for the same cause. Every year they award The Conservationist of the Year with TPWF’s prize, The Fragile Rhino. The Fragile Rhino has been awarded to great conservationists such as Mark Shand, Jane Goodall, Richard Leakey and Dr. Sylvia Earle.