Nine More Women Shaping Our Seas & Surfing
Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel
This is the fourth year for SurfWriter Girls annual Women Making Waves story focusing on nine amazing women who are making a difference in the life of our oceans and the sport of surfing.
Like the ninth wave in a set, which is bigger and more powerful than the rest, the women profiled this year have had a powerful impact on the environment and the world around us.
So, take a look at Women Making Waves 2019 and meet nine more incredible women. Scientists, surfers, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, and more. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are excited to introduce you to this lineup of dynamic women.
Inna Braverman is the Co-Founder of Eco Wave Power, a renewable energy company that generates energy from waves. Chosen as one of MSN’s 30 Most Influential Women of the 21st Century, the Israeli entrepreneur constructed an R&D power station in Jaffa Port, Israel, and installed the first commercial-scale wave energy array in Gibraltar. With degrees in political science and literature, Braverman is adept at communicating with diverse audiences and building a wave of support for ocean-powered energy.
Elena Christopoulos, Commissioner, City of Santa Monica, CA, scientist and sustainability expert, says, “It only takes one voice to change the world.” Working with government agencies around the world, she has 20 years of experience managing programs to accelerate the use of renewable energy as a solution to urban challenges and economic development. Helping communities utilize green energy sources from wind turbine to solar, analyze feasibilities and estimate costs, Christopoulos skillfully navigates both the technical and political aspects of the energy sector.
Courtney Conlogue, two-time winner of the US Open of Surfing (2009 & 2018) and multiple World Surf League competitions, has been surfing since she was four years old. A surfer who works on her mental game as much as the physical one, she describes competitive surfing as “performing a dance on water.” Saying it’s important to “express herself in the ocean,” Conlogue also expresses herself through her artwork and has become an accomplished painter who was included in Huntington Beach’s Women of Surfing: Art & History exhibit.
Alexandra Cousteau, Explorer, oceans advocate, Co-founder Oceans 2050 and Senior Advisor for Oceana, is as much at home under the sea as she is on land. Carrying on the work started by her grandfather pioneering marine conservationist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, she started the Oceans 2050 initiative to restore lost coastal habitats by creating and managing marine forests that provide habitat for marine life. She is also a champion of Oceana’s work to curb overfishing around the world in order to increase ocean biodiversity and safeguard seafood for the future.
Nancy Estabrook Downes, the Southern California Campaign Organizer at Oceana and former California Regional Manager for the Surfrider Foundation, is working non-stop to protect the world’s oceans and beaches. "Who am I?" she asks. "I'm a surfer, musician, artist and activist. I am simply nuts about the ocean.” With over 25 years of experience in ocean conservation, campaign planning and strategy, project management, fundraising, and more, Downes is a grassroots activist and advocate for the planet.
Michele Halvorsen, Ph.D., Director Ocean Sound and Marine Life, CSA Ocean Sciences Inc., investigates the potential impacts of sounds on marine life. Specializing in auditory systems and hearing sensitivities, Halvorsen is discovering how sounds from pile driving, turbines, barges, Navy sonar, and other sources affect the physiology of fish and turtles. Working with business and government clients around the world, she is helping them to understand the environmental aspects of marine projects and to mitigate injury to sea animals
Emily M. Klein, Ph.D., Distinguished Service Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University, studies the depths of the ocean to learn how volcanoes create new land. Using remotely operated underwater vehicles to map the ocean and collect rock samples, she has been on numerous oceanographic cruises investigating volcanic regions. Klein’s work has led to breakthroughs in understanding petrogenesis, the origin and formation of rocks, including the discovery that magma doesn’t always travel straight up from the magma chamber to the ocean floor.
Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Founder, Lincoln Sarnoff Consulting and former Executive Director 5 Gyres Institute, is a leader in the sustainability movement. Looking at everything from plastics in fashion to drink straws, she is studying the impact plastic pollution has on our oceans. “Washing one synthetic fleece jacket releases as many as 250,000 micro-fibers” into the environment and ultimately the ocean, says Lincoln Sarnoff. Working for “common-sense legislation” to manage plastics use and production, her Ted Talk “Can one straw save the world?” calls on us to say “No” to straws.
Rebekah Steen is an ocean and beach artist whose vivid watercolor paintings are inspired by the things that bring her joy – “nature, surfing, tropical escapes, the imperfectly beautiful moments of life, and, of course, the water.” Steen, who studied art in the U.S., France and Italy, was an art director for Zambezi, Inc. and TBWA Chiat Day. She has designed for Rip Curl and Vans and is known for her rad blog Goldfish Kiss that celebrates a laid-back tropical lifestyle filled with art, fitness, beauty and inspiration.
Leaders in their chosen fields, each woman shares one thing in common – a passion for the world we live in and a desire to make it better.
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