The following is a statement by 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Kristal Ambrose.
By Kristal Ambrose
The gravity of receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize has yet to resonate with me, mainly because I am still in disbelief. As a young, Black Caribbean woman, I know that the Prize will allow me to open doors that unlock the power of voices and faces that look like mine, from places similar to where I am from, just as my predecessor Wangari Maathai did. It is a testament to the fact that you should always lead with heart and do the work, even when you think no one is watching.
When I set out to do this work, I never anticipated any accolades or fame. I just saw a problem and knew I had to do something about it. What started off as a quest to rid The Bahamas of plastic quickly morphed into a youth and community empowerment movement, a true grassroots effort filled with love, laughter and inspiration.
“I just saw a problem and knew I had to do something about.”
With this award, I am reminded to show up and act. I know that all it takes is a little spark to make a big flame. Today, I move forward proudly, knowing that my efforts were not in vain. This little girl from a little rock made an impact on the world.
Connecting youth to the environment and inspiring them toward action is an unprecedented joy, so I dedicate this award to them, my “plastic warriors,” and to many others, including my family—especially my dad Bobby and sister Lesha, my dear friend Will Simmons, Jack and Kim Johnson, Marcus Eriksen, Carolynn Box, Rose Blanchard, all supporting organizations, the island of Eleuthera and The Bahamas, and, most importantly, the Goldman Foundation for honoring me and my work.
Thank you immensely.
About the author:
Ocean enthusiast Kristal Ambrose convinced the government of The Bahamas to ban single-use plastic bags, plastic cutlery, straws, and Styrofoam containers and cups. Passionate about youth education, Kristal is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Bahamas Plastic Movement. Kristal won the Goldman Prize for Islands & Island Nations in 2020.