Photo of California Coast, on USA Student Tour
Photo by Ocean First on YouTube

David Helvarg

Executive Director

Blue Frontier


Executive Director


Blue Frontier









What makes David Helvarg a Global Shaker?

Surf-loving David Helvarg is Executive Director of Blue Frontier, an organisation that builds solution-oriented engagement from citizens to protect the ocean, coasts and communities — “both human and wild.” He’s also a well-respected journalist and author who has produced more than 40 documentaries for sites including PBS and The Discovery Channel, and has written for The New York Times, LA Times, National Geographic and Parade.

Blue Frontier links 1,400 ocean organisations of various sizes at the grassroots, or “seaweed” level, trying to “scale up the solutions faster than the problems.” It helps organisations and activists with media training, national activism, and lobbying of stakeholders and “conscientious corporate and commercial entities” in Washington DC and California.

The organisation also runs respected ocean awards and has hosted 5 biennial policy summits with hundreds of ocean leaders.

Helvarg has written five ocean and conservation books, including the critically acclaimed ‘Blue Frontier’, from which the organisation later drew its name. He also wrote 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, which was designed as a response to people who felt like protecting marine wildlife was out of their control. “We’re all having an impact on the ocean in the choices we make every day, and [the answer] is just to become conscious of choices and to make the right ones,” he said at one event.

“Not surprisingly, when you help the ocean, you find that it tends to help yourself — your health, your pocket book.”

Helvarg is part of Seaweed Rebellion, an informal environmental group in the US. He’s been remarkably consistent in his writing about the intersection between activism and policy, and highlighting positive people and initiatives fighting to save the ocean. This is summed up in his comments in one interview, in which he quoted a colleague that said “you don’t save the oceans — you’re continually saving them.”

Tags: Blue Frontier, California, Surfing, USA

Last updated: March 3, 2020