Jo Ruxton is an ocean advocate whose career in conservation began back in the 80s. Passionate about all things ocean, Jo campaigns to make crucial changes in sustaining and conserving the environment. She established the first WWF marine programme in Hong Kong in the early stages of her career, becoming a keen advocate for the very first marine protected areas.
After working for the WWF, Jo joined the BBC Natural History Unit. She was part of the diving team, both producing and directing a number of underwater sequences for the award-winning programme Blue Planet. Jo spent 12 years with the BBC, a time in which she was part of some of the biggest underwater filming for the channel. Jo was fortunate to experience some awe-inspiring environments, from the beautiful reefs of the Carribean and the Pacific Ocean to the cold depths of Antarctica.
The time that Jo spent with the BBC was eye-opening, allowing her to see that something needed to be done in order to conserve the stunning planet that we live on. Jo was particularly disappointed by the lack of conservation messages within the BBC programmes she had previously worked on. After deciding to leave the BBC Jo went on to pursue her passion for the environment independently. Jo was especially concerned with the rising levels of plastic finding its way into oceans worldwide and wanted to tell the story first hand.
With such a burning passion, Jo began to fundraise in order to create her own documentary. After two years of fundraising Jo accumulated enough to begin her dream of filming. During filming Jo continued to research into the topic of plastic in the oceans, and as time went on it became even more apparent that this was a colossal issue facing oceans worldwide. After eight years of hard work and determination, Jo’s documentary titled A Plastic Ocean was released. The documentary soon achieved award-winning status, hitting 70 countries in 15 different languages.
To further her advocacy for ocean conservation, Jo co-founded the charity Plastic Oceans Foundation. This charity helped during the fundraising of the documentary, and today helps to continue delivering the documentary to new audiences. They also aim to provide educational programmes for schools helping to raise awareness of the importance of ocean conservation. Jo herself is also keen to push the message of ocean conservation into the national school curriculum, building the next generation of budding ocean conservationists.
Alongside her charity work, Jo is also a confident public speaker. She is experienced in engaging a wide range of audiences, having addressed audiences from school children right the way to parliament and government members. Most recently Jo has addressed 250 people at the House of Commons, with Sir David Attenborough claiming that she is responsible for the plastic movement.