Plastic Reality

With my travels and experience working with plastic debris, I have found that alternative thinking is needed in how to go forward with the issue of pollution. In many ways we need to support life, conserve, think and be more intouch with value. My research trip across the South Atlantic in 2011 demonstrated that plastic litter is everywhere, and while it is obviously matter out of place, there was a fascinating ecological twist that belonged to a science fiction film. The plastic was being "colonized" by life. There were flying fish eggs wrapped around fragments and intertwined with mollusks and crustaceans, Bryozoans, sea crabs and to top it off, three huge dorado looking after a school of 30 of their spawn around a floating ball of tangled netting.

It is this very progression of adaption that I, as an artist and concerned environmentalist wish to confront and assimilate. For many years I felt it my duty to guard the pristine wilderness. I see that this was not only an external physical place but a part of my ethical perception. A mental space that I would not pollute, this utopia of a symbolic perfect beach. A place of untouched beauty, protected, revered, pristine clear shores and azure waters. It is with a great sadness that I have realised that this space does not exist anymore. Every corner of the earth has been ‘tainted’ by man, every environment, every creature, impacted by mans actions. This is where we are. Now aware of the interconnectedness of everything.

With this great sorrow of becoming aware, comes the feeling of responsibility to assist change for the better. However the media have already distorted our ideas of doing good. Our actions have repercussions that cannot be measured and so we loose grip with the truth and the impact of our collective footprint. I found my contempt for my ignorant species only pulled me further into myself, further away from Nature as something within me.

I had to throw myself away. I had to learn that I was not just human, I was a biological part of this earth. My body and ideas susceptible to erosion. This waste dump was not the end, but a ceaseless journey of transformation. Everything is changing into something else. Things can only go forward with life as its calling. As a rebellious species, we used technology to keep us alive many moons ago and we have been hunting and gathering faster ever since. Here we stand on the skyscraper of the present with the ability to see further in every direction than ever before. I have no doubt that as the climate changes we will adapt and prosper. Progress can be seen as the overcoming of problems. This is our speciality! Our species seems to thrive off scarcity. Caution must go to the concept of “value” scewed by the facades of media and opinion for futile ambition.

Changing the environment to suit our needs is a reflection of not only society, but the values we uphold. We still value many things that by their very creation must have clean water, air and soil. We understand the idea of restoration, we are still beginning to see how plastic reality really is. We and what we do is part of the “next” nature. No turning back. The connection we have with nature is as much within us as in the external world. Your actions are the change, your attitude is the change, you must change.