Dr. Enric Sala Pristine Seas
2021 Finalist
Revive Our
Oceans

Pristine Seas

Country: USA

Human impact is pushing the ocean towards a devastating tipping point. Pristine Seas, an ocean conservation program, is leading the charge to avert catastrophe.

Their Story

The project was founded by Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence. A former university professor, Sala grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, where he saw the destruction wrought on the marine world first-hand.

In 2008, Sala founded Pristine Seas, bringing together an expert team of scientists, filmmakers and policy experts, with the aim to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030. It has already produced over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 30 documentary films to inspire others to action.

So far, Pristine Seas has worked with local communities, Indigenous Peoples, governments and partners to establish 26 marine reserves worldwide, across an area over twice the size of India. Pristine Seas is working with partners to help protect 30% of our ocean by 2030.

Since becoming an Earthshot Prize Finalist, Pristine Seas has been profiled in major media outlets including People magazine and National Geographic, and has embarked on expeditions to Colombia in partnership with the Government, and to the Canadian Arctic in partnership with Inuit communities and First Nations. 

Since the first Earthshot Prize, Pristine Seas received a $20 million grant from the Bezos Earth Fund to help establish new marine reserves in the central and western Pacific Ocean, and additional funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Don Quixote Foundation, Brandon Green, Inclusive Capital Partners Foundation, Lindblad Expeditions, The Campbell Foundation, The Philip Stephenson Foundation, LGT-Venture Philanthropy and the Dutch Postcode Lottery.  

Earlier research by Pristine Seas and the Oceano Azul Foundation led to the government of Portugal expanding a protected area around the Selvagens Islands to create the largest fully protected marine reserve in Europe in November 2021. 

Their work with local partners led the government of Costa Rica to expand their Cocos Island National Park 27 times in size in December 2021, protecting vital areas for endangered species such as sharks and sea turtles. In addition, their research informed the expansion of Colombia’s Malpelo Sanctuary of Flora and Fauna, and the creation of the Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla marine reserves, in June 2022.

Other Finalists in Revive Our Oceans

Learn About the Earthshots

Protect
and Restore
Nature
2021 PRIORITIES

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announced the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.

  • Paying environmental stewards and improving land rights
  • Using agricultural commodity markets as a lever to reduce harm
  • Increase yields in biodiverse, regenerative agriculture
Learn more about this earthshot

Clean Our
Air
2021 PRIORITIES

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announced the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.

  • Paying environmental stewards and improving land rights
  • Using agricultural commodity markets as a lever to reduce harm
  • Increase yields in biodiverse, regenerative agriculture
Learn more about this earthshot

Revive Our
Oceans
2021 PRIORITIES

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announced the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.

  • Paying environmental stewards and improving land rights
  • Using agricultural commodity markets as a lever to reduce harm
  • Increase yields in biodiverse, regenerative agriculture
Learn more about this earthshot

Build a
Waste-free
World
2021 PRIORITIES

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announced the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.

  • Paying environmental stewards and improving land rights
  • Using agricultural commodity markets as a lever to reduce harm
  • Increase yields in biodiverse, regenerative agriculture
Learn more about this earthshot

Fix Our
Climate
2021 PRIORITIES

Over the last ten years, the evidence that we face urgent challenges to protect the environment has become indisputable, and it’s clear that the time to act is now. Drawing inspiration from the concept of moonshots, which since the moon landing in 1969 has become shorthand to talk about the most ambitious and ground-breaking goals, Prince William announced the Earthshot Prize: an ambitious set of challenges to inspire a decade of action to repair the planet.

  • Paying environmental stewards and improving land rights
  • Using agricultural commodity markets as a lever to reduce harm
  • Increase yields in biodiverse, regenerative agriculture
Learn more about this earthshot
The Earthshot Prize