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Articles by Harvin Bhathal

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This story is part of the Grist arts and culture series Remember When, a weeklong exploration of what happened to the climate solutions that once clogged our social feeds. This story was co-published with Popular Science.

It was the face that launched a thousand plastic straw bans. 

The video begins with a close up of the turtle’s head, its dark green, pebbled skin out of place against the stark-white boat deck. Robinson’s hands approach, moving the pliers toward the turtle’s nostril. The tool clamps down on the edge of something — A barnacle? A worm? — barely visible within the dark tunnel. The creature squirms and dribbles blood as the pulling begins. A long, thin object begins to emerge, inch by excruciating inch.

It was August 10, 2015, and marine conservation biologist Christine Figgener was collecting data for her Ph.D. a few miles off the coast of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. She and a colleague, Nathan Robinson, were researching olive ridley sea turtles when they noticed a male had something encru... Read more