Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Plastic Debris

At work today I taught a class called "Whatta Waste" to a group of seventh grade students.  The class focuses on what waste and pollution are, how they affect our waterways and how communities can be built while keeping water pollution in mind.  When we talked about ocean pollution I passed around this bag of plastic trash.  These plastic items were floating in the ocean and either washed ashore on Laysan Island, or were eaten by large sea birds (like albatrosses), who mistook the plastic for food.  In many cases, the ingested plastic kills the birds who eat them.

Plastic pollution is a serious issue I have learned a lot about recently through my work at the Conservatory.  From September last year to the end of April this year, the Conservatory had an exhibit called Sacrifice + Bliss.  This exhibit featured artwork by the artist, Aurora Robson and focused on plastic pollution, especially ocean pollution.  Robson takes plastic trash and transforms it into beautiful sculptures that are so vibrant and ethereal, you would never guess what they were made of.  Robson is very passionate about her work and started an organization called Project Vortex that focuses on protecting water resources through art made from plastic debris.

I'm sad that this exhibit is leaving the Conservatory (some pieces are still being deinstalled this week) - the artwork is beautiful and the message behind it is so important!  The exhibit may be over, but you can still check out Aurora's artwork on her website, or learn more about Project Vortex on their Facebook page.

To learn more about how plastic pollution affects albatrosses, read this article which includes tips for reducing the amount of plastic waste you create as an individual: Midway Atoll: The Plastic Plight of the Albatross.

Kit Yoon, blogger for Cool Columbus, wrote up a great review of Sacrifice + Bliss shortly after it opened in September.  Check her review out here!