“I hate the thought of a child from another generation not experiencing the ocean for years to come, and that’s what drives me to continue this work. The connection my father has to the ocean, the connection of my country to the ocean, I am viscerally tied to the ocean”
Kristal Ambrose also known as ‘Kristal Ocean’ is an environmental scientist studying marine debris and plastic pollution in The Bahamas. After sailing across the Pacific Ocean in 2012 to study the Western Garbage Patch, Kristal was inspired to return home to The Bahamas to spark a plastic pollution revolution. Her career in the environmental field spans over a decade and for the past six years she has been working diligently on plastic pollution research and education in her country. In 2013, she began The Plastic Beach Project; a citizen science based initiative that studied plastic concentrations on beaches in The Bahamas. Her passion for the issue led her to develop and launch Bahamas Plastic Movement (BPM), a non-profit organization geared towards raising awareness and finding solutions to plastic pollution. Since embarking on her journey to change with Bahamas Plastic Movement, she has brought awareness of the issue to thousands locally and globally through educational lectures, summer camp programs and citizen science projects. She was awarded the 2014 Environmental Youth Leader Award from The Government of The Bahamas for her efforts in the field of plastic pollution research and education. Most recently she was featured in both the Sierra Club Magazine and Coastal Living Magazine where in the latter she was named an Ocean Hero by musician Jack Johnson for her efforts. She is a graduate of Gannon University in Erie, PA with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (focus on Environmental Science, Biology and Education). Most recently, she completed her graduate studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, attaining her Master’s degree in Marine Management, focusing on plastic pollution research.
Over the years, Kristal has devoted her time and energy to youth development in the marine sciences, with a focus on plastic pollution. She fuses her love for the oceans and youth activism each year during the Algalita Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions Youth Summit, where she has served as event moderator and workshop facilitator since 2014. A fundamental program ran by her organization BPM is the Plastic Pollution Education and Ocean Conservation Summer Camp. This tuition free intensive program is geared toward transforming the attitudes of Bahamian students to the marine environment by helping them understand their role in protecting it from plastic pollution. She has truly devoted her life’s work to this issue and has been invited to share her work across The Bahamas, United States, Canada and Europe. In December 2017, she moderated an event at the United Nations Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on international governance for marine litter and received the 2017 Unsung Hero Award for her work from Professional Services Bahamas. In 2018, Kristal and her youth delegation successfully engaged the government of The Bahamas in banning single use plastics, styrofoam and balloon releases in the entire country by the year 2020. During her 2018 summer internship with GRID-Arendal in Arendal, Norway, she worked to understand the spatial and temporal differences of marine plastic debris on Bahamian shorelines and delivered the keynote address to nearly 300 persons during Arendalsuka, Norway’s largest political and environmental meeting place.