Gershon Cohen has been protecting public waters from the discharge of toxic pollutants for more than 30 years and is currently executive director of Alaska Clean Water Advocacy. He is also the co-founder of the Great Whale Conservancy and Ultimate Civics. In 2006, Gershon received River Network’s River Hero award and in 2013 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Clean Water Network. He has a master’s degree in Molecular Biology and a doctorate in Environmental Policy. Areas of expertise include water pollution, Clean Water Act, state water quality standards, discharge issues re: cruise ships, mining, etc.
Riki Ott is a marine toxicologist and former Alaska commercial fisher-ma’am who shares her first-hand experience with the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, oil-spill cleanup, including the use of toxic chemical dispersants and their health impacts on the public, and various regulatory programs, such as the Clean Water Act. Her work is featured in the documentary film The Cost of Silence.
Mark J. Palmer is the associate director of the International Marine Mammal Project, which works to protect dolphins and whales and their ocean habitat. He has a degree in zoology from University of California, Berkeley, and has worked for more than 40 years on the protection of marine mammals and wildlife and their habitats.
Dianna Cohen is co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition and a passionate advocate against plastic pollution. A Los Angeles-based visual artist, Dianna has shown her work internationally at galleries, foundations, and museums. She uses plastic in her artwork to make a visual and social impact, as shared in her 2010 TED talk “Tough Truths About Plastic Pollution.” Dianna is a frequent speaker and media expert, and she has presented at the United Nations in addition to other international conferences and symposia. She is the recipient of the Global Green Environment Award, the Snow Angel Award, and the Environmentalist of the Year by SIMA, among others. Dianna studied Biology, Art, and Film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and holds a BA in Fine Arts.
Jackie Nuñez is advocacy program manager for Plastic Pollution Coalition and founder of the Last Plastic Straw. The Last Plastic Straw has been a project of Plastic Pollution Coalition since 2016. Jackie is a part-time kayak guide and full-time activist who teaches people of all ages how to speak truth to plastic and be an agent for change in their communities. She has advised on more than 20 local ordinances limiting single-use foodware, including plastic straws. Jackie is a frequent speaker at international conferences and in the press, and she was featured in the award-winning documentary Straws (2017). Jackie has a BS in Health and an AS in Horticulture, and she has a passion for travel, ocean sports, design, gardening, the environment, and community service.
David McGuire is the founder and director of the shark and marine conservation nonprofit Shark Stewards. A marine biologist, David is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, where he teaches marine policy, and, as a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, he conducts shark research studies in the San Francisco Bay and in Southeast Asia. Shark Stewards introduced the California shark fin trade ban and has led several states and international campaigns to limit the overfishing of sharks and to ban the shark fin trade. Shark Stewards also works to protect critical marine habitat, in coordination with NOAA in the national marine sanctuaries, and in the California marine protected areas, where David is co-chair of the Golden Gate MPA collaborative. David is also a documentarian, having written two books and several articles on sharks and ocean adventure, and having produced documentaries on shark conservation, including Shark Stewards of the Reef, and the Emmy Award–winning Reefs to Rainforests. He is an ocean expeditioner and a National Geographic Explorer.