My name is Laura Hope Johnson. I am 20 years old, and I intend to change the world.
I started this blog because I felt like it was time for me to begin a new chapter of my life. I believe everyone has a voice, and everyone has a story. This is me using my voice to tell my story, and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Some describers: female, 5’11, ocean conservationist, pretty bad at math, florida transplant, artist, youth activist, target shopper, feminist, INFJ, scuba certified, science educator, anxious & depressed put keeping positive, gemini, bagel enthusiast, resister, black belt, makeup attempter, nerd, body positive, music listener, internet browser, protestor, good friend.
I’ve been in a long distance relationship for two and a half years. It sucks. He doesn’t. I have a 16 year old brother, and I’m glad I don’t live in the same state as him because he’s learning how to drive right now. I do live in the same house my dad grew up in, though, and my grandma is my roommate. We have a dog named Bear, and I have a gecko named Leaf. This summer I found out my great-great-grandfather on my mom’s side wrote Finland’s Declaration of Independence from Russia.
Once when I was little I saw Maroon 5 at a Good Morning America concert, Adam Levine came off the stage and offered me his guitar pick, and I said, “No thanks, I don’t play the guitar.”
Currently: Boca Raton, FL
Previously: San Antonio, TX – Atlanta, GA – Los Angeles, CA – Ridgewood, NJ
Distantly: Los Angeles, CA
Spain – France – Italy – Greece – Croatia – Canada – British Virgin Islands – England -Finland – Sweden – Estonia
- I met Steve Irwin when I was six years old. When he died, I promised myself I would continue his work. Growing up, I would have lemonade stands whenever I could in order to donate money to conservation organizations.
- When I was in seventh grade, I attended a career camp at SeaWorld, in Orlando, Florida. At the time I was unaware of the issues surrounding captivity, but I do credit my time at the camp as a major factor in me wanting to focus on ocean conservation.
- My Girl Scout Gold Award was called Operation JAWS: Justice And Wellbeing of the Seas. As a junior in high school, I presented to about 700 people in my community about the importance of ocean conservation.
- I have been the head intern at 501(c)(3) nonprofit Big Blue & You (BBY) since 2013. During my time here, I have created three programs to give young people a platform to express their ideas on global environmental issues within their communities.
- When I was a senior in high school, I attended the Blue Mind 5 & BlueVision 5 Summits and the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards in Washington, DC, and participated in Healthy Oceans Hill Day 2015. That day set the record for the largest lobby on Capitol Hill for ocean conservation in United States History.
- My freshman year of college I attended the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit (YOCS) in Sarasota, Florida. I am still close with people I met here, and now they have satellite summits around the country. This was my first real taste of youth involvement in conservation.
- For World Oceans Day 2016, I was one of seven student delegates in the inaugural class of Sea Youth Rise Up, a program created by the founders of BBY & YOCS in partnership with The Ocean Project. We visited the United Nations Headquarters and held a livestream at the New York Aquarium in New York City, then traveled to Washington, DC. We met with the White House Council on Environmental Quality on the creation of the Coral Canyons & Seamounts marine protected area in the Atlantic. President Barack Obama ratified the MPA two months later. You can watch the short documentary created about the program here.
- The South Carolina Aquarium hosted the first ever Breaking Down Plastic Summit in Charleston during my sophomore year of high school. There was a large youth component that I was lucky to participate in.
- I attended the BlueVision Summit 6 again in Washington, DC. This time, Healthy Oceans Hill Day broke the record set in 2015. BVS5 did not include a youth component, but I am thrilled to say that BVS6 did.
- This past summer I interned for five weeks at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences with the Shark Research and Conservation Team. It was truly one of the most outstanding experiences of my life.
- I’ve attended multiple talks by Sylvia Earle, I’ve met photographers like Brian Skerry, I’ve gone shark diving with One Ocean Diving, been to dozens of marches and protests, and have been incredibly lucky to have these experiences. I am endlessly grateful to the people who have supported me from day one. I couldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my amazing support system. Thank you.
- I have recently been selected as one of 100 millennials from around the world to attend the Our Oceans Youth Conference cohosted by the Sustainable Oceans Alliance and the European Union in MALTA. MALTA. It’s still setting in that this is on an international scale. This is the same conference that Obama announced the MPA that my peers and I worked on last year. This is one full circle for me, and I am deeply humbled.