Marine Rewilder, Martina Sasso
A former advertising executive, Martina Sasso now channels her creativity and storytelling skills into protecting one of the last wild places on Earth: Argentina’s Península Mitre.
Martina Sasso, 2022 Tide Turner
As the coordinator of Fundación Rewilding Argentina’s marine program, Sin Azul No Hay Verde (No Blue No Green), Martina Sasso heads up a multidisciplinary team focused on adding more protected areas to Argentina’s ocean and coastline and restoring marine ecosystems when possible.
While working as an advertising executive and film director, Martina saw deluges of plastic washing up on Argentina’s beaches and ocean health falling into decline. Feeling she had to help, she left her job to study conservation and dedicate herself to protecting the wild ecosystems of her country.
Since co-founding Fundción Rewilding Argentina’s marine program, Martina has used her infectious passion to oversee the creation of vital marine national parks. She also advanced the campaign to ban open-net salmon farming in the Tierra del Fuego province, which led Argentina to become the first country to halt this environmentally damaging practice.
Martina is an activist who puts creativity at the heart of her ocean conservation work, grounded in the knowledge that telling powerful stories about the natural world makes a difference; she has seen how they can cause people to prioritize the genuine wellbeing of themselves, their communities, and the planet.
Now, Martina wants to protect Península Mitre—a pristine area at the southernmost tip of Argentina with half of Argentina’s kelp forests and the largest concentration of peat bogs in the country. Both these ecosystems play an irreplaceable role in soaking up carbon dioxide, helping in the fight against climate change. If they deteriorate or are destroyed, however, vast amounts of the greenhouse gas will be released into the atmosphere.
Legally protecting Península Mitre’s marine ecosystems would be a hopeful step in the right direction in the face of climate change and the global extinction of species. With funds from Only One, Martina will be running awareness and advocacy campaigns to highlight the importance of Península Mitre’s kelp forests, as well as preparing to pilot a regenerative small-scale kelp farm designed to restore original kelp canopies.
Martina is born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her early years are infused with nature, thanks to her mother and grandparents’ appreciation of the natural world.
Martina embarks on a career as a creative in the advertising sector, developing her storytelling skills in subsequent years.
Realizing the extent to which the ocean and species across the globe are threatened by human activities, Martina decides to leave her job to study conservation and channel her creativity into protecting Argentina’s ocean and coastline.
Martina becomes the co-founder and coordinator of Fundación Rewilding Argentina’s marine program.
After the development of a bill by Martina’s team, two vital marine national parks are created in Argentina, 80 percent of which are no-take zones preventing fishing and other extractive activities.
Martina turns her full attention to protecting Península Mitre, an area in Argentina with rich biodiversity that has been waiting 30 years for adequate protection. The peninsula is home to kelp forests and peat bogs that are powerful absorbers of carbon dioxide, curbing climate change and keeping harmful elements out of the air we breathe.
After three years of hard work by Martina, her team, and others, Argentina succeeds in becoming the first country in the world to make open-net salmon farming illegal. Martina becomes the convener of Global Salmon Farming Resistance, a coalition representing 14 countries campaigning to ban open-net salmon farming around the world. It also educates people about the risks of low-cost ocean-farmed salmon to human and ocean health and works with chefs to help them use the “right” salmon in their dishes.
Martina becomes a Tide Turner.