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Kriste Ebba: A Real Life Mermaid

Name: Kriste Josephson

Hometown: West Hills, CA.

Year: 4th 

Major: Chinese and Art History

What is Save the Mermaids and how did you get involved? 

Save the Mermaids is a non-profit based in Santa Barbara. Our main goal is to educate about ocean pollution and advocate ways to reduce environmental impact. We work with a lot of local businesses, particularly restaurants, but our main goal is to raise awareness in children. We try to promote caring for the ocean by fostering a relationship with it. For example, we’ll take the children out to local beaches for beach clean-ups, paddleboarding lessons, snorkeling, etc. We also have a scholarship program where we take a group of kids out to Santa Cruz Island for a few days of hiking, swimming, snorkling, and teaching them to enjoy and care for the environment they live in. 

I became involved a few years ago after Lucidity music festival. It works with Save the Mermaids, and actually has a policy where festival goers must bring their own reusable utensils and food containers when purchasing food from food trucks, and charge extra if they have to provide you disposable ones. This helps you become aware of how much waste you’re creating. I was attracted by a big tank that had stunt mermaid tails in it and soon realized it was a non-profit focused on helping the environment. It thought it was really cool because mermaids appeal to everyone; kids think they’re super cool, girls just adore them and guys find them sexy, and it’s all for a great cause! 


What are your top 3 easy tips to reduce waste at home?

1. Reusable bags, water bottles and coffee mugs! They’re all super easy, lightweight and convenient to carry around + there are tons of places on campus to refill your water bottles or get your coffee mug filled up.

2. Making food at home vs. take-out containers (bonus: it’s healther and cheaper!)

3. Not getting a lid on your coffee cup or a straw in your take-out drinks – most to-go coffee cups are made out of paper, which will eventually biodegrade. But the plastic lids will not! Same for straws, you can sip on your drink comfortably without them, it’s basically just an extra piece of plastic you don’t really need!

When you’re not out saving mermaids, what do you like to do in your free time? 

After getting more involved with Save the Mermaids, I began spending a lot more time outdoors; I started to run out to the ocean with my friends at sunset or go out to the beach during the day to pick up trash. The best part was that picking up trash never felt like work at all, it was more like having a leisure day at the beach with friends! I also really enjoy hiking around Santa Barbara and the fact that it’s so easy to connect with nature here. I just enjoy being active and appreciating the sunshine. 


Favorite place to relax in Santa Barbara? 

Ellwood Grove, which is an easy bike from Isla Vista. During the Spring it’s a butterfly reserve and there are tons of beautiful monarch butterflies everywhere. There are also lots of really nice trees and cliffs overlooking the ocean. Also More Mesa, beach caves! It’s out past the opposite end on Isla Vista than Ellwood Grove, but it’s an easy walk and really cool place to visit!

Sociology major at UC Santa Barbara. Passions include: Taylor Swift, fashion, FRIENDS, chocolate, Snapchat and sassy t-shirts.
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