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Vikki Spruill on the New England Aquarium’s new mission: advocating for ocean conservation

Bold Types | Vikki Spruill
Vikki Spruill, chief executive of the New England Aquarium, shares her vision for how she plans to expand the organization. (Produced by Anush Elbakyan/Globe Staff. Edited by Anush Elbakyan/Globe Staff., Camera work by Anush Elbakyan, Caitlin Healy, Mark Gartsbeyn)

Vikki Spruill, chief executive of the New England Aquarium, shares her vision for how she plans to expand the organization from a tourist destination to a leader on ocean conservation advocacy.

In an interview with the Globe’s Bold Types video series, Spruill discusses the aquarium’s new design plans that would connect the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the Harbor. They’d call it the “Blueway,” and it’s intended to be “a manifestation of our conservation message.”

“We are a major urban waterfront city, and yet there are so few places where the residents of Boston can actually interact directly with the water,” she says. “And as the New England Aquarium, there’s never been a time where our mission and these issues more tightly connect.”


As part of its enhanced conservation efforts, Spruill says she supports the Green New Deal — a proposal by liberal Democrats aimed at fighting climate change while creating jobs — but adds that it’s incomplete without examining the environmental impact on the seas.

The word “ocean is mentioned once in the Green New Deal, and so we have to pause and think about that because it assumes a healthy and vibrant ocean,” Spruill says. “All of that carbon that we’re putting up in the atmosphere is ending up in the ocean, and the ocean has its limits too.”

What’s her favorite exhibit at the aquarium? Spruill says it’s the massive, progressive tank at the center, which features a variety of ocean wildlife.

“I love this giant ocean tank experience because I wish we, as a species, could get along with all our differences and coexist in a similar way,” she says.

Producers: Anush Elbakyan, Shira Center/Globe Staff. Video Editor: Anush Elbakyan/Globe Staff. Camera: Anush Elbakyan, Caitlin Healy, Mark Gartsbeyn.

Bold Types is a newsroom series presented by Koch Industries. The advertiser had no editorial role in the content production.