13 Artists Who Turned Ocean Trash Into Amazing Art

Read the full story in Time Magazine.

Today is World Oceans Day, “a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future.” This year’s focus is the prevention of plastic ocean pollution and events are taking place worldwide in order to learn about the challenges facing our oceans, clean up local beaches, and get involved in marine conservation efforts.

Studies on the issue of marine debris have reached some dire conclusions. Last year, the journal Science reported 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in oceans each year, while PNAS found that 90% of seabirds have ingested the substance. In January, the World Economic Forum predicted that the world’s oceans will be filled with more plastic mass than fish mass by 2050.

Marine plastic is a special threat because it does not fully degrade, instead breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics. Ocean dwellers, such as sea turtles and fish, can mistake the debris for food, leading to digestive issues and starvation.

Artists and activists have taken notice, using marine plastic as a medium, like paint or clay, to create artwork. Although often aesthetically beautiful, the works point to the concerning profusion of these plastics in our environment.

In recognition of World Oceans Day, we present 13 artists, from sculptors to photographers, to filmmakers, who use marine plastic in their work.

Paducah Students Turn Water Conservation into Art

Read the full story at WKMS.

A local conservation organization is putting an artistic spin on sustainable water practices. The Jackson Purchase Foundation partnered with the City of Paducah, West Kentucky Community and Technical College, and students at Paducah Tilghman High School to implement Water Smarter! The Artistic Rain Barrel Partnership Project. The students designed and painted rain barrels that will be auctioned off tonight at the Clemens Fine Arts Center.

This Beautiful Guitar Is Made From Linen Fibers And Industrial Waste Resin

Read the full story at Fast Company.

With very few exceptions, guitars—even electric guitars—are made of wood. From a sustainability point of view, this is bad, because they’re usually slow-growing hardwoods and sometimes exotic woods. In an acoustic guitar, where the music is generated and shaped by the vibrations of the soundboard, the kind of wood used can dramatically change the guitar’s tone. The preferred material is old-growth wood.

The El Capitan, from Blackbird guitars, looks as good as a wooden guitar, but is made from something far more sustainable—flax linen fibers mixed with resin gathered from industrial waste. The material is called Ekoa and in many ways, it’s better than wood.

Festival to feature music on instruments made from found materials

Read the full story at Inside Illinois.

Ken Butler, a New York City-based artist and musician, is the featured performer at the Sonified Sustainability Festival on the University of Illinois campus. Butler makes hybrid musical instruments from all sorts of everyday objects. His creations have been exhibited in galleries and museums, and he also plays music on some of the instruments he makes.

The festival will also feature a waste sculpture that incorporates approximately 2,304 plastic bottles, which represents the number of bottles consumed in the US every 1.45 seconds. According to Ban The Bottle, the US consumes ~50 billion plastic bottles/year. The waste sculpture was constructed by students, overseen by my colleague Joy Scrogum, as part of a grant from the University of Illinois’ Student Sustainability Committee to the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center.

Wrightstown trash truck acts as ‘rolling source of information’ on recycling

Read the full story in the Burlington County Times.

Picking up the trash can be a dirty job, but the borough’s new garbage truck is looking good as it rolls around town, showcasing student art and sending a message.

While the Public Works Department intended to buy just another garbage truck to perform typical duties, officials found a way to involve the community to rally behind their newest initiative to actively have residences and businesses separate their trash and recycling. What started as adding a little flair to the Hino truck purchased from the H.K. Truck Center in South Plainfield, Middlesex County, grew into a student art project.

Rachel’s War

In the Spring of 1962, The New Yorker published Rachel Carson’s anti-pesticide manifesto, Silent Spring, in three installments. Carson’s message quickly transcended the magazine’s readership, eliciting a national response that would eventually lead to a federal ban on DDT for agricultural use and the creation of the EPA. In honor of Carson’s legacy and Women’s History Month, cartoonist David Gessner illustrates the pioneering writer’s final years as she fought for the environment and for her life. (Based on Linda Lear’s biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature.)

[h/t The Sierra Club]

Reclaimed Glasses And Lunch Trays Give These Chairs Their Ethereal Glow

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Kim Markel left a career in environmental policy to make furniture in Beacon, NY. Her Glow chairs give upcycling a whole new look.