After our recent victories of publishing research and solidifying a clean up protocol with the Pebble Beach Company and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, we are ready to kick off our next big project! Having collected 50,000 golf balls, we are taking our first steps in constructing a large scale art installation with a goal to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution and to inspire others to take action in their communities. With a local artist, Ethan Estess, the Plastic Pick-Up team is working to create a 26 by 8 foot three dimensional barreling wave completely composed of golf balls that have been collected from the ocean. This is wave will provide the audience a hand on experience with the ability to get barreled in trash, as a demonstration of what will happen if we continue to allow plastics to enter our oceans. The sculpture will be mounted on a flatbed trailer and will be showcased at countless of surfing and outdoor events in order to reach the maximum audience. With support from The World Surf League, Jack & Kim Johnson, and Kelly Slater, our piece will be given the opportunity to reach thousands of ocean minded individuals.
As a group of like minded saltwater enthusiasts, we are stoked to be working together to bring light the pressing issue of marine pollution.
Quick Facts about the art piece
The Rainbow Tide
Our oceans are becoming more and more colorful, and we're not referring to the creatures within it, we talking about plastic. In 2016, a study found that at our current rate of pollution, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. The issue of marine pollution is a severe and alarming matter that must be acknowledged and worked on to preserve the health of our oceans and overall planetary health. On a yearly basis between 8 and 12 metric tonnes of plastic enter our ocean, and plastic never goes away. Being an inorganic material, plastic will never decompose, instead it will break down into what is called a microplastic and become a serious threat to not only marine creatures, but to humans as well. Here are some facts on microplastic pollution:
There are 5 major gyres, one in each ocean. Each gyre is created by the currents in the ocean. They are a buildup of trash that has concentrated itself in one location due to the movement of ocean currents.
The plastic in each gyre breaks down due to UV Light, mechanical action, and photodegration into microplastics. These microplastics are about the size of a grain of rice.
Microplastics are being consumed at many levels of the food chain in oceans and by coastal birds, fish and marine mammals. Evidence of microplastics have been found in the stomachs of birds and fish all over the world.
Microplastics adsorb PCB’s, DDT’s BPA’s, POP’s and flame retardants which have been shown to be carcinogenic and endocrine disruptors. When fish and birds consume these microplastics, the toxins bioaccumulate up the food chain into humans.
Floating on the surface of the North Pacific Gyre, there are 28 pounds of microplastics for every pound of zooplankton.
Why does this relate? When golf balls are hit into the ocean, they tend to aggregate in vast quantities in areas of severe mechanical action, such as the surf zone. Here they are persistently tumbled on the rocky sea floor causing tiny microplastic to be worn off and integrated into the water column. Once this occurs, the pollution is nearly impossible to clean up and becomes a profound hazard to the organisms inhabiting the ocean. We are constructing this art sculpture to shine a spotlight on the issue of marine pollution and specifically to help people understand that plastics never to away. When looking at the stages of worn down golf balls it is hard not to wonder where that plastic ended up. Our goal is to provide individuals with the guidance they need to make the most informed decisions for the health of our oceans.
Our Leader: Ethan Estess
We are fortunate to have been networked with Ethan Estess, an incredible local artist passionate about exhibiting humanity’s impact on the global ecosystem. Ethan grew up along the central coast of California, and studied environmental science in his masters program at Stanford University. Like us, he shares a deep connection with the ocean that drives him to help inspire change. Recently, Ethan has been doing alot of work showcasing marine pollution to appeal to the emotions of his audience, and help implement a basic understanding of the scientific concepts at play. His work has been exhibited in our local community, as well as around the world in places like Spain, France, the Canary Islands, and Hawaii. We are stoked to be working together to bring light to our local issue of golf ball pollution, and hopefully inspire others to spark positive change in their community. To check out more of Ethans work,
Community Funding via Go Fund Me
As we began to embark on this journey we are asking upon our community for the support needed to produce the most impactful piece of art possible. As our oceans continue to battle against the detrimental effects of plastic, it is important that we educate our communities of the ongoing issues it is facing. By creating this piece, we hope to not only educate but also inspire thousands of people to look out upon their community and find ways they can help create positive change. As Jack Johnson puts it, “Individual action multiplied by millions creates global change.” Here at The Plastic Pick-Up, we are a small group of individuals striving to create a ripple effect that has the ability to reach an endless audience. Our goal is to simply speak for our seas and to empower others to be the change in their community, and we hope to use this sculpture as a turning point for the health of our local and global oceans.