"As long as I am breathing, I will try to make a difference!"
Christine Figgener (TIME Magazine)
Hi, I am Christine!
I am a marine conservation biologist, author, science communicator, and ocean advocate, who is studying and protecting sea turtles, fighting ocean plastic pollution, and empowering women in STEM.
"Together, we can prevent the extinction of sea turtles."
My claim to fame and shining public moment is a viral video I filmed and uploaded in 2015 that documents the removal of a plastic straw from a sea turtle's nose by my research team. That video was a catalyst for the global anti-straw movement, leading to several straw bans by businesses such as Starbucks, Disney, and Alaska Airlines. The video is by now considered a pivotal moment in the anti-plastic movement and has provided me with an incredible platform for science communication and the conversation around the use of single-use plastics and other environmental issues affecting marine life.
My research and advocacy efforts have been featured in popular press articles, as well as different documentary productions, such as the BBC and National Geographic. Because of my advocacy work, I was named a Next Generation Leader by TIME Magazine in 2018, and was a finalist of the feature Texan of the Year by the Dallas Morning News, among other recognitions.
"I am passionate about creating a community of change-makers"
However, a viral video is not all I have accomplished :-)!
I have worked with sea turtles in Central America for over 15 years, applying my research findings to the conservation of these charismatic animals. To foster awareness, I am using my study subjects as ocean ambassadors to connect people to our oceans. A particular interest of mine is to highlight the threats our ocean and its inhabitants are facing, and the difference each one of us can make by changing daily habits.
I hold a PhD from Texas A&M University's Marine Biology ID Graduate Program, where I studied the trophic and movement ecology of sea turtles for my dissertation. I am also still actively involved in sea turtle research and conservation efforts with my two organisations Namaka Conservation Science, a scientific consultancy, and Costa Rican Alliance for Sea Turtle Conservation & Science (COASTS), a community-led non-profit in Costa Rica. My mission is to strengthen grassroots sea turtle conservation efforts by developing and executing projects and training and empowering local conservationists and scientists, with a special emphasis on local women.
In 2020, I additionally assumed the role of Director of Science & Education for the US-based Footprint Foundation, whose mission is to educate about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution and to inspire enough change to eliminate plastic from our environment.