Peder Hill is originally from Santa Cruz, California, but one day met a very charming Austrian girl while learning salsa dancing. Which is why he now lives with that girl (his wife), along with their son, daughter and cat, Suri, in Vienna, Austria.
He has taught art and biology for the last 19 years, and currently teaches at Draschestrasse Vienna Bilingual School. He began the Kids Save Ocean in 2016 by helping his 12-year-old art students build a 5-meter-long humpback whale out of trash to bring attention to the problem of ocean pollution; the “Last Whale” sculpture currently hangs as the centrepiece of a multi-year exhibition at Austria’s largest aquarium, the Haus des Meeres.
After building the whale, unsatisfied with their sculpture’s impact, and with the blessing of the children, Peder wrote a proposal to the United Nations Vienna to have the world’s first Children’s Clean Ocean Summit – titled The Last Whale as well. The UN embraced the project, and the Summit was held on June 22nd in the UN’s largest space. The project has been personally recognised by 20 world leaders.
Peder built a team of volunteers from around the world that’s quickly swelled to over 50, all of whom are drawn to the vision of giving children a powerful voice about the environment. Kids Save Ocean projects include Fatechanger, a hipster mobile app for both iOS and android that will teach kids about ocean pollution, climate change, biodiversity and sustainability and give them a voice to influence environmental policy.
Peder graduated with honors in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received an MA in Conservation Biology from San Francisco State University. He is an award-winning artist and teaches oil painting, drawing, sculpture, and filmmaking, but also has a background in technology, having worked as a writer and project manager for Broadi, a videoconferencing startup in the Silicon Valley. His writing has been published by companies (e.g. Red Bull) and print magazines (e.g. about theater and child development). He plays washboard and a bit of ukulele and is a passionate surfer.