Julie Andersen walked away from a successful marketing career to start three conservation nonprofits in the past five years. For her work with Shark Angels (sharkangels.org) -- a grass-roots movement that teaches techniques from direct action to using social media to raise awareness about global threats to sharks -- she's our August SEA Hero.
Q: Why sharks?
A: These fascinating creatures exemplify all that is beautiful and perfect on this planet -- such as the extraordinary power of nature, and a vital reminder of what we must respect and protect.
Q: How can ordinary divers become shark guardians?
A: We can help people understand what is going on. Every time we go diving with sharks, we prove they are worth more alive than dead. We can serve as a positive voice for an animal that most despise.
Q: Favorite Shark Angels success story?
A: The day we made Toronto fin-free. All of our hard work over the past three years was worth it: We can and did change the world -- not just for sharks or for the oceans but for our shared futures.
Q: Any regrets?
A: That I didn't have the nerve to get started on my new career sooner -- the past decade had been incredibly devastating for sharks and our oceans.
Q: Who are your sea heroes?
A: Capt. Paul Watson for doing what no one else will; Sylvia Earle for going where no one else has; and my 10-year-old goddaughter (and certified diver) Ella Addison for reminding me why I can't stop fighting for sharks. She's a constant inspiration who knows no limits and believes anything is possible -- not to mention she's been diving with and speaking out for sharks since age 3.
Each Sea Hero featured in Scuba Diving will receive an Oris Diver’s Date watch (worth $1,595). At the end of the year, a panel of judges will select one overall winner, who will receive a $5,000 cash award from oris to further his/her work.
The Sea Heroes Award is sponsored by Scuba Diving magazine and Oris Watches. Nominate a Sea Hero here.