“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

― Rob Siltanen

Man is always playing “Catch Up” with the environment. It seems to take way too much time to realize that a problem truly exists. Those that point it out early are often called “Alarmists” or just plain “Crazy”. Did you know it took over 300 years to adopt limes and citrus by the English Navy? They knew about it but look what happened when they did take action. (maybe not a great example but it is human nature)

When it comes to our Biosphere and the Environment we are at a critical time in our existence. The current denials, dismantling of our protected lands and regulations is unprecedented. Though we may not all agree on how the Climate is Changing, we can agree that it is.

What we can’t deny is the effect we are having on the planet and ecosphere with our trash, chemicals, and physical damage.

There are 5 stages individuals and Society go through:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

We seem to be somewhere between Denial and Bargaining. Denial that there is a problem puts all at risk. The rollback of regulations on clean water is one example of Denial. It is also a perfect example of what greed will do.

Talk to some folks and they get angry. They just don’t want to hear it. OK, go ahead and put your head in the sand, it will simply bite your butt sooner or late.

We also seem to be in a Bargaining Stage. We want things to be the same, enjoy our consumer society and all the benefits of Capitalism. We bargain and rationalize with the issue so we don’t have to change or change much.

But the evidence, and dare I say the “Science”, clearly shows the problems. Over 80,000 manmade chemicals are in the environment and many have been shown to be carcinogenic or hazardous. The most obvious and in your face issue is Trash. Plastic Trash. Just because the floating trash pile is out of sight and out in the center of ALL the great seas, does not mean it does not exist.

In my travels, as a Photographer, I see the issue daily. It is always in my face and underfoot, even in the remote areas that few go to. Editing out trash in my landscape images brings me to a place of anger and depression. OK, not depression, but I do feel down.

I became aware of a project and Non-Profit Organization through my friend Susan Sheets. Washed Ashore is based in Bandon Oregon. I had put it to the back of my mind, but on a recent photography trip to the coast, I spent time in Bandon. There they were, large sculptures in your face and entirely made of trash picked up off the beach.

Trash Fish

Click on Image for Larger View


Creating awareness and acceptance is key.

This organization is doing just that! Art with a Purpose.

Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Founder & Artistic Director

Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Founder & Artistic Director

Washed Ashore is a non-profit community art project founded by artist and educator, Angela Haseltine Pozzi in 2010. Since 2010, Washed Ashore has processed tons of plastic pollution from Pacific beaches to create monumental art that is awakening the hearts and minds of viewers to the global marine debris crisis.

Current Art Locations:

Oregon Zoo – Portland Oregon
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – Sant Ocean Hall, Washington DC
Oregon Gallery and Volunteer Workshop, Bandon Oregon
Upcoming: Florida Aquarium, Tampa Florida

“The Washed Ashore sculptures are constructed entirely from debris that has washed up on our shores. Each of these giant sculptures represents the sea life affected by plastic pollution. These unique art pieces are part of a national traveling exhibition that includes educational signage and programs that encourage reducing, refusing, reusing, repurposing and recycling.”

About 300 million pounds of plastic is produced globally each year and less than 10 percent of that is recycled. Plastics break down into Micro Plastics, they don’t go away. These microplastics can be found in every part of the earth’s oceans and streams. The is simply no way to clean that up at this time. Or maybe ever!

Our only choice is to start caring enough to change, to stop the pollution before it enters the environment. You have to start somewhere….

You may think that banning plastic straws was an odd or even an unnecessary law. Certainly many see it as an inconvenience. It is simply a place to start. Single-use plastic bags are out in Oregon and other places. It’s a Start.

Many of the Recycle Programs have been hamstrung. Americans simply don’t wash and clean their bottles and containers, therefore China has rejected much if not all of our trash for recycling. Another inconvenience for Americans, to wash things…

We have been programmed to be a good consumer and much of what we buy and use is made to have a short life so we need to buy it again and again. Many things are not fixed, such as TVs, DVD players, and other electronics. Toss it and get the latest and greatest… Styrofoam cups and containers still exist in the fast-food world. Why?

I could go on and on and on and…. You get the point.

Change is coming. It has too. The road we are on is not sustainable. More is not better. In a world of people face down in their smartphones, distracted and in day to day survival, we are ripe for being blindsided by the issue we are turning a blind eye to. Awareness is what is needed. Washed Ashore is one of the projects working to Wake Up America and the World.

This is a global issue and affects all. The current bent toward America First can’t hold or sustain. Everything is connected on this planet. Isolationism only exacerbates the issues.

I encourage you to visit the Washed Ashore website and read. Watch the movie about them too. 1 hour of your time to help you wake up and be aware.

Visit an exhibit if you can. Share this information and images.

They have a Volunteer Program. If you can’t physically go to help, then consider a Donation.

Awareness is key to getting to Acceptance. Once we, as a global society, reach this stage we can finally do more than the cursory to stop and turn-a-round the problem. It’s not going away and at some point, we will need to deal with it in massive ways. We will have no choice.

Watch for images from The Light Foundry and my Trash Planet Project for more ways to help create awareness and fix the issue in the minds of the Human Race.

Gallery from Bandon Oregon last week. Thanks to Susan Sheets for some of the images, including the Featured image of me in the “Whale Skeleton”.