WMU PhD Candidate Ambrose Wins Goldman Environmental Prize
Kristal Ambrose, a PD candidate at the World Maritime University, is the recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize 2020. The award is the world’s foremost environmental prize and honors outstanding environmental activism through community and citizen participation on critical sustainability issues facing the planet.
Ambrose founded the Bahamas Plastic Movement in 2013 to develop solutions to plastic pollution and to educate young people on the importance of a clean and healthy ocean. The international jury selected Ambrose for her extraordinary leadership, operating outside of the traditional power structures and marshaling science, advocacy and youth empowerment to get The Bahamas focused on plastics, including convincing the government to enact a nation-wide single-use plastic ban. The nationwide ban went into effect in January 2020 and can be considered a model for Islands and Island States worldwide.
Ambrose joined WMU in September 2020 to undertake a PhD focused on plastic pollution as part of the WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute’s Closing the Circle capacity development and research program on marine debris, Sargassum and marine spatial planning in the Eastern Caribbean. The program is underpinned by generous funding from The Nippon Foundation of Japan and supports six PhD students undertaking advanced academic research on overcoming the challenges associated with marine debris in the Caribbean.
On receipt of the award, Ambrose shared her joy saying, ‘Receiving both the Goldman Environmental Prize and The Nippon Foundation Scholarship to join the World Maritime University’s WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute promotes feelings of humility, gratitude and pride. I'm honored to be recognized at this level and feel extremely motivated to continue advocating for healthier oceans’.
Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, congratulated Kristal on her accomplishment. “We are so pleased that Kristal’s dedication and hard work on eliminating ocean plastics in The Bahamas has been recognized by the award of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. This award acknowledges the inspirational leadership, hard work and community commitment of a very talented WMU doctoral candidate who is having a definitive impact in the fight to save our oceans, and ensure sustainable use of the planet for future generations.”
Normally, the winners are awarded the Prize in-person at a ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House coinciding with Earth Day in April, but this year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Prize was awarded virtually on November 30, 2020.
The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Each year, the Prize recognizes six heroes of the environment, selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals. It honors grassroots environmental heroes from roughly the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.