31 MSP’s pledge to take action on plastic

31 MSP’s pledge to take action on plastic

31 MSPs pledged to take action on plastic pollution by signing at #CleanBeachesScotland exhibition & event at Holyrood in December 2017. I created the exhibition based on my recent  NEO Terra  installation shown in both Shetland & Ullapool, to illustrate to MSP’s the scale of coastal & marine plastic pollution in Scotland.

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Of the MSPs who signed, 50% ticked all of the pledges demonstrating a personal commitment to backing measures to reduce the amount of plastic that contaminates our beaches and sea. 63% are keen to meet with Littoral Art Project to take a closer look at plastic pollution along their constituency shorelines. We will meet local beach cleaning groups (Marine Conservation Society MCS , Surfers Against Sewage SAS and  Harbourmasters to  learn more about specific beach litter issues in their constituency  and to enrol them in becoming Beach Champions.

Photographs by Alan McCredie

Joan McAlpine MSP joined me at Dunbar in her South Scotland constituency, to examine the particular litter issues concerning the Dunbar Harbour Trust as a multi-use Harbour and to take a sand sample from the regularly cleaned south beach.

#CleanBeachesScotland event. Scottish Parliament 13.12.18
#CleanBeachesScotland event. Scottish Parliament 13.12.18

The exhibition and event  received wonderful cross-party support from MSPs, including Graeme Day convener of the  Environment, Climate & Land Reform Committee with interesting conversations with many members of the committee. Environment spokesperson for the SL Claudia Beamish who attended the event, later commented in a Parliamentary Debate on the 20th December that  it was truly inspiring to see what art can do to support communities and others in their work on the issue”  Roseanna Cunningham responded in the debate that ‘……The work of the organisations that the member flagged up is incredibly important, and it needs to be backed up by Government and global action…….’

Thanks to Mark Ruskell, Environmental spokesperson for the Scottish Green Party, for his time to hear about Littoral Art Project’s findings and to talk through the value of LAP’s citizen science approach. He outlined his commitment to rigorous debate about plastic pollution and the connection to climate change legislation. I look forward to following up his links to Fife environment and arts education organisations.

I will also be contacting the other MSP’s interested in bringing the LAP to their constituencies ( Joan McAlpine in South Scotland, Rachael Hamilton in the Borders, Kate Forbes in Skye, Liam McArthur  and Jamie Halcro Johnston in Orkney ) and to explore the potential of this creative approach to engage their communities in tackling #MarinePlasticPollution  as in Shetland and Ullapool where people  joined me in collecting and examining beach samples.

The results of this interactive arts-cum science approach formed the  photographic evidence shared with MSPs and is available to share with councils and community groups.

5 NW SAND SAMPLEs panel

Following on from the success of the Holyrood exhibition, the Shetland Amenity Trust and I will be requesting a meeting with Scotland’s Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham. I intend to pass on the LAP research from 120 beaches and the findings of partner organisations, community groups and individuals that took part in the #CleanBeachesScotland event co-hosted by  MCS , with major contributers  KIMO, SAT, FIDRA, SAMS ).    I will be highlighting the extent of plastic pollution originating from the fishing and aquaculture industries, which often makes up to 90% of litter on Northern Scottish beaches and are often under mentioned . 

fishing rope on beach

We welcome the recent Scottish Government’s announcement to legislate against environmentally damaging items:

The positive response of so many MSPs during the #CleanBeachesScotland event and the Scottish Governments environmental announcements give hope to all those working to #BeatPollution in Scotland. These are great achievements that need to be actioned and broadened to include the fishing & aquaculture industry’s plastic pollution as soon as possible, so that Scotland can truly be seen to be leading the way internationally towards achieving a cleaner more sustainable environment.

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Scotland’s beaches are beautiful – but increasingly contaminated with Plastic Pollution

Please follow up with your MSP e.g. suggest helping to bring the project to their constituency. If you/your organisation/group has evidence of plastic pollution on a stretch of the Scottish coastline please leave a comment below or email me so I can include it in the #CleanBeachScotland document that I will present to the Environment Minister.

Please follow the progress of the Littoral Art Project by pressing the blue FOLLOW button on the left and follow on twitter @LittoralArt

Help to support this research-art-action project to continue, develop and to reach more communities by making a donation. Press the orange DONATE button on the left. Thankyou

Julia has received Creative Scotland awards supported by The National Lottery for the original Littoral Art Project R&D and NEO Terra exhibition that led to this exhibition. The #CleanBeachesScotland exhibition was self-funded by the artist.

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Zooming in on plastic strapping threaded together to form #LitterCUBE                                 J Barton

My ongoing musings on our entanglement with plastic pollution and its interconnectedness  with the sustainability of our environment both here in Scotland and globally was greatly aided by visitng the  most recent An Talla Solais exhibition Murmur an exhibition of 5 women artists  reflecting on Climate Change .

Both the exhibition and a gallery talk by  John McIntyre (scientist) illustrated  the linkage between our actions and changes in world ecology.  John used this diagram called a  ‘Muir Web‘ drawn by Landscape ecologist  Chris Harrison as a visualization of habitat relationships and ecological associations of the Manhattan island, circa 1609.

muir web jpg

John Muir:  “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.”

Our inter-connectedness and responsibility to the environment, our species and each other was further wonderfully delivered that evening in a film of the American  philosopher/artist Donna Haraway entitled ‘Story Telling for Earthly Survival’  by film-maker Fabrizio Terranova.  Donna animatedly tells  anecdotes of her dogs prowess at complex agility courses, adding another layer to her own visual analogy of  our ecological and social mesh being as a ‘Cats Cradle’

images     images (2)  images (3)

As I begin to select elements of the NEO Terra exhibition to take to Holyrood  in December to share with MSP’s and Ministers I am convinced of the importance of taking the #LitterCUBES particularly this one made from strapping  to help with imagining the depth and complexity of the issue that we are all enmeshed in.

COPcube2 - J BartonMy intention is to engage as many people as possible in the seeing of  the ecological web/mesh we hold in our hands.  To do this I am working up an idea to tour the       #LitterCUBES ( in much bigger forms) to harbours and festivals around the coast.

Please leave any suggestions  below of possible locations,  where you can see this working and ways to help raise funding to make this happen .  Thank you

 

ArtCOP2015

As the world leaders come together this week to address the crucial issues of how come to agreements to slow down and stop Global Warming caused by our ever increasing CO2 emissions and destruction of the forests, artists all over the world are making work and running events to draw attention to the issue.

My contribution is to visually summarise in a simple way the volumes of waste I have witnessed on the beaches around Scotland over the last 2 years and the wasted energy that represents. With the help of scientist John McIntyre who has generously shared with me his recent research into Plastic Data, I am quantifying the embodied energy that each cube represents as it sits on the beaches and is buried in landfill.

I have selected 5 common plastic beach litter items to stack and combine into measurable cubes so I  can quantify the energy content of the discarded waste on beaches over the duration of the Climate Change Conference, both the images and calculations will be shared here on the blog and on Twitter @LittoralArt 

#COPcube [1. Polypropylene]

COPcube1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 10 cm

Material : sections of prawn boxes corrugated plastic/twin wall plastic sheets. Produced from High-Impact Polypropylene PP           Weight: 1280g                Embodied energy content: 3.72 litres petrol or 122.1 MJ/Kg  Location: Loch Broom, Ross-shire beaches

 

#COPcube [2. Polyethylene]

COPcube2Dimensions:15 x 15 x 15 cm                               Material : strapping used to hold together fish/prawn/packaging boxes.  Produced from Polyethylene terephthalate PET  orPETE         Weight: 220g      Embodied energy content: 0.36 litres petrol or 11.81 MJ/Kg Location: collected Dun Canna beach, Ross-shire

 

#COPcube [3. High-density polyethelene ]

COPcube3 top BW txt copyDimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 cm    Material : mussel pegs – used in aquaculture, cast plastic

Produced from High-density polyethelene HDPE     Weight: 4196g     Embodied energy content: 10.15 litres petrol or 334.29 MJ/Kg    Location: collected Shetland beaches

 

#COPcube [4. Polypropylene]

COPcube 4 flattened

Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 7 cm       Material : plastic tubes – sticks/shafts of ‘cotton bud’ products – domestic /cosmeti    Produced from Polypropylene PP                               Weight: 138g   Embodied energy content: 0.4 litres petrol or 13.17 MJ/Kg Location: collected Portobello & Crammond beaches, Firth of Forth

 

 

#COPcube [5. Polyethylene]

COPcube5 persp flattened copyDimensions: 5 x 5 x 5 cm    Material : mixed micro fibres from ropes, strapping, plastic bags etc Commercial & domestic sources    Produced from Polyethylene terephthalate PET  orPETE      Weight: 14g         Embodied energy content: 0.022 litres petrol or 0.753 MJ/Kg         Location: collected Badentarbet beach, Ross-shire

 

The embodied energy calculations include the energy used in the feed stock (raw material) used to manufacture the plastic, it also includes the energy used to manufacture and transport the finished plastic product.

The energy content data used is from the ICE database. Craig Jones at Bristol University created it. http://www.circularecology.com/embodied-energy-and-carbon-footprint-database.html#.VlyZtIX9M7A

A series of arts events are taking place all over the world, as part of the ArtCOP 2015. You can find out more at http://www.artcop21.com . The Scottish partner for this is Creative Carbon Scotland. Please follow and pass on the links and feel free to leave a comment

John McIntyre is trying to work out using the available data on resource abundance, population, agriculture and realistic engineering if it is possible for us to construct a sustainable civilization from the trap humanity has accidentally constructed following the century long unplanned transition from a feudal near medieval society to an age of great danger and wonder.

Studio 4

Spending much longed for time – concentrating on growing ideas for my Littoral Art Project exhibition in 2016 & 17. To do this I have become a happy inmate of studio 4 at An Talla Solias  in Ullapool. My week’s residency has so far focused on beginning to story-boarding  my animation idea which will be an integral piece of my exhibition . Its  exciting to be venturing into an new medium which has intrigued and inspired me over the years.

Studio 4 Studio 4 TS

With over arching thoughts writ large to keep me on track  post-it notes multiplied daily and my narrative has begun to develop, re-positioning the notes aiding rethinking twists and turns of the plot.

Studio 4 board

Gradually ideas are being sketched out across the studio wall  to try and envisage the 2 min film I’m aiming for. Thankfully I have  many friends and colleagues here in Ullapool well versed in my journey and happy to listen to my latest sequence of thoughts.  I also wonderfully have film and documentary maker Sara Nason to call on for mentoring advice , who reminds me of the importance of keeping emotion in the mix.

Studio 4 postit Studio 4 CU post its Studio 4 storyboard Studio 4 story bosard 3

My aim is for sound to be central to the animation though crucially without dialogue, with this in mind I am about to re check my sound notes  on each page before copying and posting to my film collaborator JJ Jaimieson in Shetland for his comments and input.    My plan is to shoot the film on both Isle Martin (Summer Isle) here in Ross-shire and on Shetland in the spring.         JJ Jaimieson will be generating the sound track and editing, this will take  place at the Mareel, Shetland Arts Centre next summer. Shetland Arts have sponsored the studio and editing time for the film.     Thank You.

Studio 4 strapping 2 studio4 strapping

Before leaving  my wonderful  ATS studio and heading back to Edinburgh I will be sorting through a bag of beach litter carefully selected to make a piece of work  which connects this coastal WASTE issue to the bigger Climate Change issue. I will be showing the work here on the blog and on TWITTER #artsgogreen as part of the ArtCOP Scotland events  responding to  the important climate change negotiation (30 Nov-12 Dec). Other arts responses can be found at  Cape Farewell with UN updated over view at COP21

Scotlands Climate March

Saturday 28th November 2015, gather at 12 noon on The Meadows, Edinburgh