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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols to discuss climate change and life below water at URI fall Honors Colloquium

Water warrior promotes the ‘blue mind’ life

Noted ocean explorer Wallace J. Nichols will take a deep dive into climate change—and life below water—at the 2023 University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium Tuesday, Oct 24.

Nichols has been called a water warrior, one who commits to helping others access their “blue mind state.” 

His book Blue Mind, published in 2014, quickly became a national bestseller. Translated into numerous languages, it’s since inspired a wave of media attention and practical application.

Nichols will speak at 7 p.m. at Edwards Hall on the Kingston Campus, as part of the University’s fall Honors Colloquium, “Not Business As Usual: Business for the Common Good.” The talk will also be streamed live (video links are available the day of each event, at the link above).

Nichol’s visionary ideas related to ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management and plastic pollution inspire others to find a deeper connection with nature and embrace inventive approaches to issues ranging from protection of ocean life to global water supply to the mental health benefits of a life spent on or near the water.

Formerly a senior scientist at Ocean Conservancy, Nichols received a Bradley Fellowship to study the impacts of sea level rise at Duke University Marine Lab, a Marshall Fellowship at the University of Arizona, and a Fulbright Fellowship to the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico marine station in Mazatlán. In 2011 he was inducted as a Fellow National member of the Explorers Club.

Nichols has authored more than 200 publications, lectured in more than 30 countries and nearly all 50 states, and appeared in hundreds of media outlets including NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist.

He is a senior fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy and lives with his family on California’s Slow Coast overlooking the Monterey Bay, an area he chose to settle in after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico.

Nichols is no stranger to URI, having spoken on the topic “An Ocean State of Mind” at the 2021 Honors Colloquium, “Sustaining Our Shores.”

Lauren Poirier, a 2021 graduate and former URI Marketing and Communications intern, also wrote an essay about Nichols’ Blue Mind in the summer 2019 issue of the University of Rhode Island Magazine, in which she says, “Psychologists, biologists, neurologists, researchers, surfers, fishers, swimmers, and beachgoers alike agree that there is just something restorative and peaceful about spending time in or near water.”

The URI Honors Colloquium is free and open to the public. Hosted by URI’s Honors Program, this is the University’s premier lecture series and marks the centennial of the College of Business. Lectures will be held most Tuesday evenings through Dec. 5, and will also be available online. Learn more about the fall colloquium. Register for updates and reminders here or email