About Biosphere Foundation

Biosphere Foundation’s goal is to inspire intelligent use of the earth’s natural resources and empower individuals to become leaders in biosphere stewardship. Biosphere Foundation (BF) achieves this objective by (1) implementing conservation programs which are community-based and sustainable; (2) restoring coral reef, mangrove and forest ecosystems, (3) creating educational programs that inspire people to care for the biosphere and get involved to make a difference; and (4) providing an unbiased, “trusted source” of data about the biosphere to users around the world.

Mark Van Thillo and Abigail Alling with Director James Cameron at fundraising event.

Mark Van Thillo and Abigail Alling with Director James Cameron at fundraising event.

“These are the people who are the next Cousteau.  It may seem that their work is insignificant – one small boat, one small team in the middle of the ocean – but it is not. It is the most important thing anyone can do to make a difference.” — James Cameron Filmmaker, screenwriter, deep-sea explorer


What Makes Biosphere Foundation’s Vision Unique?


Our Health is Synonymous With the Health of the Biosphere

September 26, 2016 marked 25 years since three of us (Abigail, Mark and Sierra) entered the airlock door of the Biosphere 2 Project and remained inside the 3.15-acre domed structure for two years. Biosphere 2 (BIO2) profoundly changed our lives because we experienced daily that our actions were interconnected with the health of our biosphere.

Because we lived within the confines of this miniature world sealed apart from earth’s biosphere, we called ourselves “biospherians.” It was a word that referred to the team of eight who lived inside BIO2 and became synonymous with the idea that human well-being is a mirror of the health of our biosphere: if our biosphere is healthy then we are healthy. This fundamental idea is true of all people on earth (‘Biosphere 1’) – in fact, we are all biospherians and interacting with our biosphere with each passing moment.

Everyone Can Make a Difference

BF believes that hands-on involvement is key to stewarding the biosphere. It is wondrous to realize that no action is ‘insignificant.’ Everyone can make a difference and be part of the solution.

Ocean-Going Sailing Ship “Mir”

BF is unique in having a sailing ship to voyage the seas and remote islands of Asia working in support of coral reef, sea turtle and marine mammal research and conservation. Mir’s homeport is located at Raffles Marina, Singapore and Banyuwedang Bay, NW Bali.

Community-Based Conservation

BF’s pioneering educational program provides knowledge and skill-based tools to teach people, young and old, to understand their bioregion in context of the larger biosphere. It is our belief that without looking at the total system with an appreciation of the inter-connectedness of all life, including human health & well-being, a solution will not be effective. Thus, our educational programs address both traditional science-based learning as well as personal wilderness exploration. It is our belief that sound stewardship requires an emotional connection with the environment as well as the community that can only be achieved by working with others while experiencing both beauty and challenges in nature. 

Climate Change

Our purpose directly relates to climate change because it is the most significant threat impacting the health of our biosphere today. We focus on crisis points: areas where indigenous people experience the day-to-day impact of environmental devastation caused by excessive energy and resource exploitation. Our aim is to provide information, know-how and skills to make a difference to these communities while initiating low-cost programs to restore the health of the environment.

Healthy ecosystems can withstand change and adapt while those that are dead or dying will only accelerate harmful global trends. It is through such community-based conservation programs that we have joined a growing planetary network of caring individuals who have the know-how to steward our biosphere towards a healthy future.

Biosphere Foundation’s Organizational Values

BF’s prime organizational value is sharing information. BF embodies the idea that information about our biosphere belongs to everyone on the planet. Providing a trusted source of free data online is central to promoting information sharing amongst governments, scientific institutions, organizations, communities and individuals.

As an example, please see our online data and reports for 49 coral reefs studied around the world and our extreme finding of remote reefs in the Phoenix Islands that died due to global warming.

BF’s collaborative approach provides new inspiration for the conservation movement: volunteers and stakeholders understand that they can make a difference and identify the contribution they make in stewarding the biosphere. Naturally, professionals find and use BF’s data and information, but our scope reaches beyond academia and into remote areas where local people are so moved by our work that they join us in the field.

As an example, please view the ‘Canary is Dead’ at Studio of the Sea, which inspired former Vice President Al Gore use the information in An Inconvenient Truth to highlight that coral reefs are an early warning sign of change.

BF turns inspiration into action by demonstrating hands-on ways to protect resources and restore ecosystems. The organization reflects its values by providing online ways to make a difference; ensuring its place as a trusted source of data for scientists and conservationists; creating educational programs that are accessible to the students who will become tomorrow’s activists; and through a culturally rich, hands-on collaboration with island peoples.

As an example, please view our coral reef conservation in NW Bali at Menjangan Island. 

At the heart of Biosphere Foundation is the value that everyone can play a part in the solution.  Hence our motto: “Care for the biosphere, it’s ours to love.”

To download a pdf about Biosphere Foundation and its current and past programs, please click here.  


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead