Recyclable Arts: For the Soul and the Environment

 recycled artSource: www.recyclart.org

The saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” may sound a little cliché but for artists who are promoting recyclable arts, it can very well be taken literally.  These artists create master pieces out of other people’s trash.

Claudio Garzon is just one of them.  He creates artworks out of plastic trash that he found along beaches or river.  The recyclable artwork he creates does not only showcase his artistry but also aims to bring ocean awareness – this is very evident in his pieces that usually come in form of turtles and sharks.

seaturtle plas tikobots, Claudio Garzon© Claudio Garzón

Recycling or Upcycling

You can produce arts by recycling or upcycling what you may have previously considered as trash.  You can work from a single material or make use of different pieces and make it work together to produce an artwork.

This is where you can showcase your creativity – by finding the ‘treasure’ within the trash.  By seeing what other people may be missing.  By puttingtogether unlikely bits and pieces.  And by finding the message that comes with it.

Good for the Soul

You may have heard of art therapy and it undoubtedly heals us from within either through relaxation or by touching the inner aspect of our being.  This eventually leads to physical manifestation resulting to improved condition if not a full recovery.

Even with children, arts and crafts play a big role in their development.  Art is oftentimes (and in fact, recommended) used not just in nurturing their raw talent but by giving them the platform where they can maximize self expression.

You can find a sense of peace, fulfillment and happiness whenever you create art.  What we cannot communicate verbally or whatever emotions we have that we cannot seem to express, art is oftentimes the best way to vent out.  Suffice to say, art is definitely good for the soul.

recycled art for kidsSource: www.kinderart.com

Good for the Environment

Trash pollution is undoubtedly one of the serious challenges the world is facing right now.  It comes along with over population and our incessant use ofplastic materials.  Not to mention of course irresponsibility in managing trash and basically lack of respect for the environment.

Making use of trash to create art does not only benefit the environment by limiting trash pollution but by creating awareness as well.  Every recyclable art conveys a message to the world.  Frankly it speaks for itself.

create your own inspired life

Sea Turtles: Why Do We Need to Care?

sea turtles

All animals are part of the ecosystem and sea turtles are no different.  These are important sea creatures playing their respective role in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.  At the rate these sea turtles are declining in numbers, other marine life will also be in danger.

The role of sea turtles in ocean ecosystem

Sea turtles help in maintaining habitat.  Green sea turtles for instance help in keeping healthy seagrass beds properly mowed because they are herbivores.  It’s important to keep these seagrass bed properly ‘trimmed’ so that the whole nutrient cycle under the ocean is kept in balance.

Without the green sea turtles to graze on seagrass beds, it will overgrow and will result to obstruction to currents and light which will then create a suitable habitat for microorganisms, algae, invertebrates and fungi.  It’s all about chain reaction; these fellas really do play an important role in keeping the balance in check.

sea turtle in Costa Rica

Sea turtles also helps to make sure the coral reefs will flourish.  The hawkbill sea turtle, with its beak-like mouths feed on marine sponges.  Why is it important?  Well, marine sponges can aggressively dominate the reef communities which is not exactly a good idea since it will not only compete with space against corals but its physical and chemical defenses also prevents other fish and marine animals from eating them.

So again, there will be a whole chain reaction where other animals will be left with either no or fewer food.  When hawkbill sea turtles feed on these sponges it allows for other animals as well to feed on it which these animals will normally not be able to do (because they can’t break into its exterior) and more importantly, allows for diversity of reef communities.

Beach dunes or dunes ecosystem also benefits from turtles eggs.  Because sea turtles lay eggs on the beaches, whether these eggs hatched or not, it provides nutrients that in turn affect the vegetation, species distribution and shorelines stability.

Sea turtles are also responsible for keeping the food web in check in the ocean ecosystem.  For instance, the leatherbacks, loggerheads and green sea turtles, feed on jelly fish!  Imagine if these jelly fish dominates the sea more than fish!  These sea turtles also provide food for fish and shrimp, by carrying around barnacles, algae and other similar organisms.  The eggs they lay on beaches will not hatch 100 percent; some will serve as food for other predators like ants, crabs, raccoons, and others.  The same goes with the hatchlings, there are studies that show 97 percent of these hatchlings will be eaten within the first hour upon entering the water.  It may sound a little gruesome, but it’s the rule of nature, they are part of the food chain, and majority of these hatchlings will serve as food for other animals.

What’s happening to the sea turtles?

The sea turtles’ population is greatly affected by fishing- either by direct death or by injury brought about by commercial fishing. The continuous habitat degradation also plays a big role and of course the effect of climate changes.

It’s bad enough that sea turtles needed to face natural phenomenon and the natural sequence of food chain, what’s really disturbing is the incessant poaching and illegal trade of sea turtles – eggs, meat, shells – which pose a great threat to this species.  The carefree attitude of most people – in disposing trash, disturbing the animals without regard – also plays a big role in the continued decline in sea turtle numbers.

These sea turtles need us to care more for them – so that they will thrive – but keep in mind that we need them too, so that nature will be in balance. Creating awareness is one way to save these sea creatures.  Educating as much people as we can will make a big difference.  We can do better.  We can make it happen.

How to Express Ocean Awareness Through Art

sea turtle green mission

More and more artists are now using ocean art to inspire changes and raise awareness about the need to conserve and protect our natural world.  These artists are utilizing their talents to produce artworks – not only those that shows the beauty of the ocean or the gifts of life underneath it but especially artworks that communicate the predicament that our ocean is currently in – the problems about pollution and the incessant abuse of natural ocean resources.

Check out this Interview with Claudio Garzon, an eco-friendly

Artist teaching kids about environmental art.

There’s No Denying

plastics are foreverIt’s not very surprising now a days to take a walk along the beach or river, and you won’t get too far without seeing or encountering plastic trash – from plastic bags, plastic bottles, and plastic wrappers to fishing nets and other plastic debris.  There’s no denying that we are in a ‘messy’ predicament right now.

There are plastics everywhere.

Plastics are not biodegradable.  If you think ‘diamonds are forever’ guess what, so are plastics!

The very plastic you’re using at home, at work, at school or anywhere for that matter – will eventually find its way to our water system and we now know will eventually end up in the ocean.

These plastic will endanger the lives of marine animals – there are instances where turtles or dolphins get trapped with discarded nets or even plastic furniture.  These animals oftentimes die; very seldom will they get rescued from it.  This plastic trash is clearly a threat for these marine animals.

sea turtle caught in plasticsImage source: beaches.uptake.com

Through the years, these plastics get broken into tiny bits – some small enough for marine animals and even birds to mistaken it for food, and into microscopic size over time…but still…it will not totally biodegrade.

plastic pollution kills birdImage source: coastalcare.org

It maybe no longer visible to the human eyes but it’s still there, it’s still plastic, it doesn’t get absorbed into the natural system.  It continuous to pollute our waters and gets eaten by tiny marine organisms that will of course enter the food chain.  And guess who is on the top of this food chain?  Exactly.

seabed pollutionImage source: coastalcare.org

Unnatural Expectation from the Natural

The ocean has been providing us food, water, livelihood and even recreation.  Its abundance is simply immeasurable.  It’s quite heartbreaking to know that not only do people are taking more than he needs but is also showing no regard at all.

We are making unnatural expectation from the ocean.  The bounty that the ocean used to naturally provide us is no longer coming ‘naturally.’  Simply put, we are ‘forcing it’ out of the ocean.

sea turtle defenders, green mission

Artists on the Move

The likes of Claudio Garzon, along with other artists who are choosing to use their talents to inspire people, to educate them and raise ocean awareness are the ‘ocean defenders’ of our time. Facebook Page Sea Turtle Defenders Keeps the Ocean’s Safe for Sea Turtles through education.

We are defending the ocean, the planet and future generations.

It’s nothing short of admirable to have these artists affect a movement by making use of the fact that arts do affect people’s lives.

They communicate their ocean sentiments through paintings, sculptures, murals, songs and or plays that leave a lasting impression to whoever manages to come across such artwork.

The Mission of the Sea Turtle Defenders: endeavors to identify, categorize, and disseminate current environmental and related social educational information to children, families, educators, and community leaders to raise their awareness and  continuously advocate for sea turtle rights.

Sea Turtles vs. Trash Pollution

defend sea turtles

Trash pollution is undeniably one of the reasons that our ocean is facing a phenomenal degradation today.  There is a considerable decline in fisheries, marine habitats are visibly destroyed plus of course the effects of climate changes that can be felt everywhere.

You can argue that the earth is an ever changing world, that it continuous to evolve through the years, that changes are bound to happen – but we cannot deny the fact that humans are a big factor in creating unnatural changes and shift in this planet.

Are sea turtles paying the price?

Time and again sea turtle casualties has been reported due to fishing nets and boat accidents (still debatable whether intentional or not), but cases where trash is involve is not too new either.

Sea turtles are literally dying from our trash, from our plastic trash.

Some mistakes plastics for jellyfish, would feed on them until such time that it causes fatal internal problems.  Some are being caught in abandoned nets or ropes and drown.  Some gets trap with these plastics, would eventually survive but with disfiguring effects on them.  While some more others are basically falling ill due to polluted waters.

So yes, sea turtles are paying the price for the incessant trash pollution.

What can we do?

We can begin by respecting the ocean as a sign of gratitude for all the abundance it’s giving us.  We have to recognize the fact that not only does the ocean provide us with food and water, it also house magnificent creatures as well as organisms that made our very existence on earth a possibility.

We must learn to care for the ocean and protect it.  Protecting the ocean means protecting all the marine lives that live in it, and protecting their lives means protecting ourselves as well.

We can create awareness about the effects of trash pollution that all leads back to the ocean.  We have to educate the people on how the existence of marine lives including the sea turtles are being threaten because of the enormous trash we are dumping in our waters.

plastics and sea turtles

NOW, is a good time to start making changes.  We can defend the sea turtles by creating awareness.  People will tend to care more for something that they know more about.  We have to continually educate other people about the importance of caring for the ocean.

We can start small by being more aware on how we dispose of our trash.  Remember that it all leads back to the ocean.  Start considering a greener lifestyle, it’s not only good for our own health, but for the environment as well.  Say no to plastics whenever you can, always opt for biodegradable and recyclable materials.

Quite frankly, to care for the ocean and defend the sea turtles we have to be more proactive.  We have to make sure that our voices are being heard.  And we have to continue on doing that until radical changes are finally taking place.

Remembering Jairo: A Sea Turtle Conservationist Story

Jairo Mora Sandoval will forever be remembered for his bravery and dedication in defending the sea turtles of Costa Rica.

seaturtles.orgImage source: seaturtles.org

When a young Costa Rican conservationist, sea turtles and poachers collide – tragedy happens.  The life of the 26-year old Jairo Mora Sandoval is abruptly ended when he was abducted and killed during one of his nightly beach patrol to protect the nesting turtles and its eggs.

What lies beyond Costa Rica’s successful ecotourism?

Costa Rica pride itself with its abundant natural beauty making ecotourism a major boost to its economy.  Its warm and clear water is simply inviting to all water lovers to enjoy and appreciate the aquatic biodiversity.  The country’s surrounding waters are home to about 7,000 marines species and that’s from the ocean alone, imagine what more lies within its dense forest.

The country’s abundance surely attracts more than just tourist worldwide but illegal activities as well.  And although the country has a wild life conservation effort in place, which aims to protect particularly the sea turtles from poachers who are after its meat, eggs and shells – it proves to be not enough.

The particular beach where Jairo was taken is specifically targeted for the turtle eggs which will be then sold to drug traffickers.  It was a dirty world of smuggling, drugs, and poaching intertwined with the life of a dedicated environmentalist.

JairoImage courtesy of www.change.org

Jairo Mora Sandoval, the sea turtle conservationist

Even at a young age, Jairo has always been involved in volunteer work.  This biology student regularly volunteers for WIDECAST whose efforts are directed to protecting turtle eggs across Central America.  Part of his job is to patrol the beaches every night to protect it from egg thieves.

It has been reported that sea turtle conservationist are well targeted with death threats, including Jairo in particular, with some instances as serious as being threatened at gunpoint.  They are being forced to stop the nightly patrol along the beaches.

Jairo as well as the other sea turtle conservationist knew that the threats are very real, forcing Jairo to use Facebook to particularly make his plea for police help with turtle-egg thieves be heard.

Weeks after the said posting, the tragedy happens during one of their nightly patrols.  Jairo was abducted that night and found dead the following day.

For Jairo’s legacy to continue

jairo 3Friends and other environmentalist in unison agrees, that for Jairo’s legacy to live on, they will need to continue the nightly patrolling along the beaches in spite of what happened.

These brave sea turtle conservationist, just like Jairo, are choosing to continue their advocacy and stand firm with what they believe. Highly commendable individuals who are willing to sacrifice even their own lives to protect these animals – they are truly amazing people.

Justice for this sea turtle conservationist

We are all in one in wishing that justice will be served for Jairo.  But let’s make it a better and safer world for the other entire sea turtle conservationist in Costa Rica by doing what you can.

Let’s keep Jairo’s legacy by never letting our guards down and continue on raising awareness.  Let’s all work together to protect, educate and inspire changes for the conservation of sea turtles.

Again, do what you can!  For now, SIGNING THIS PETITION is a good first step.