CHRISTINE SPITEN – Sustainable engineer, underwater explorer and overwater sailing champ. Christine grew up in Norway – a small country known for its beautiful coastline and fjords. From a young age she was an active dinghy sailor and became Norwegian Champion in 2007. All along she worked as an sail instructor, motivated children to be confident on the sea and curious on the environment. “When you spend five days a’ week practicing sport on the ocean surface, it triggers your curiosity on the world that’s hiding under the waves”. She recently graduated with a master of science specialized in underwater technology and sustainability. “The fact that 70% of the world is underwater and that we’ve only discovered about 5% of the oceans, is extremely intriguing. This is also the background for why I chose to study underwater robots (micro-ROVs). These small “drones” give us the opportunity to see what is down there, sending live video back up to the surface. I will make an effort to reach out to people, to show the environmental impact that our consumption has on marine life, and that the plastics might actually end up in our bodies if not handled the right way. Every year about 6.4 million tons of garbage ends up in the oceans and 60-80% of this is plastic. Plastics are designed to last forever, while we use it to make products such as plastic bags or packaging, designed to be used once. It’s a mismatch between material and design, and it creates plastic problem in the ocean because of its long degradation time. The most efficient way to reduce the amount of ocean plastic is to stop it from ever reaching the oceans, by preventative action. But even if all preventative action is in place, there will still be hundreds of millions of tonnes of plastic in the oceans. And we will have to clean up our mess. My wish is to inspire curiosity about and care for the ocean, and thus motivate action. I am excited to get to contribute to the marine debris research together with an amazing crew of female scientists and researchers from all over the world. eXXpedition Ascencion Voyage will be an incredibly exciting adventure that I look forward to share.