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Oceanic Society Awarded First-ever Booking Cares Fund Grant

By Brian Hutchinson

We are honored to announce that Oceanic Society has been awarded one of Booking.com’s first-ever Booking Cares Fund grants in support of phase 2 of our Blue Habits program in partnership with Stanford University.

The inaugural Booking Cares Fund recipients with their Booking.com mentors in Amsterdam.

The Booking Cares Fund, launched in 2018, seeks to support innovative projects that can disrupt the sustainable travel industry and create meaningful impact. Oceanic Society is one of five “changemakers” to receive support through the inaugural Booking Cares Fund.

Booking.com’s support to Oceanic Society will be used to launch phase 2 of our Blue Habits program, which aims to transform the nature-based tourism industry into an even greater force for good through a systematic focus on motivating pro-environmental behaviors among travelers.

Beyond funding, Booking Cares Fund recipients receive advice and support from Booking.com’s diverse staff to aid in the development and execution of their project. In early May, Oceanic Society CEO Roderic Mast participated in a 2 day kickoff program in Amsterdam for grantees that included mentoring sessions, lightning talks, and much more.

Oceanic Society CEO Roderic Mast presents at the Booking Cares Fund kickoff program.

We look forward to sharing more information about this program as it progresses. Join our mailing list to stay informed.

About Oceanic Society’s Blue Habits Program

Oceanic Society recognizes that declining ocean health is a global problem with a single cause: human behavior. In partnership with Stanford University, our innovative Blue Habits program aims to develop and test tools and approaches that deliver measurable pro-ocean behavioral outcomes to a variety of audiences, and make those tools and approaches widely available. Blue Habits is grounded in the behavioral sciences, and draws on social science research, design, and technology to create systems that can change individual human behaviors.

Our initial audience is the nature-based tourism industry, a powerful and yet vastly underused platform for motivating pro-ocean behavior change. Our goal is to innovate, test, and refine a scalable approach to pro-ocean behavior change among nature-based tourists and to promote its adoption by travel operators worldwide, thereby reaching and engaging millions of people. In the future, we will work to adapt this methodology to target consumers in a wider variety of contexts, and to scale Blue Habits through strategic partnerships.

Stanford University completed a research phase of Blue Habits in 2016 that evaluated the potential of Oceanic Society’s whale watching cruises as a venue for motivating lasting pro-ocean behavior. During Blue Habits Phase 2, launched in 2018 with initial support from Booking.com, we will not only deepen our partnership with Stanford, but also engage a technology partner to build a platform that will allow us to more effectively engage individuals in tackling the critical, global challenge of ocean conservation through tourism, one of the world’s biggest industries.

Click here for more information about Blue Habits Phase 2.

Booking.com staff and grantees celebrate at the fund's kickoff program in Amsterdam

Author

Brian Hutchinson is Oceanic Society's vice president of outreach, co-founder of the State of the World's Sea Turtles Program, and program officer of the IUCN-SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group. Brian holds a B.A. in zoology from Connecticut College, and has been working to advance global marine conservation for more than a decade.