by Monica Lewis, Stewards of the Earth Committee
Within walking distance of St. James’s, there are giant jellyfish and bleached corals. Sculptures of jellyfish, that is, constructed out of plastic debris. And the coral formations are made out of used styrofoam. These creations are part of the exhibit, Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea, which is at the Virginia Science Museum until September 4. Pick a day this summer, grab a friend or two, and go! You will be impressed visually. Some pieces can be touched. Some make musical sounds. The artist, Angela Haseltine Pozzi, with the help of many volunteers, creates beauty out of plastic litter. She writes, “I came to the ocean to heal, but found an ocean that needed healing. Like many people, I walked with blinders on past the garbage, wanting to only see the ocean’s beauty. When I finally stopped and really saw the debris on the beach, my heart and mind opened to the problem. I decided to take artistic action and involve as many people as possible in the process. I knew the language of the arts could affect people in ways they could not ignore.”
Pozzi and all her assistants are Doers. And so are we when we pick up litter. Do even more by opting out of the disposable plastic cycle. All the debris was plastic purchased by people who did not realize the damage their purchase could cause. We don’t intend to harm nature, but, sometimes, our actions set in motion chains of events that do cause harm. Responsibility can be hard to pin down within sequences of complex causation, but we need not despair for we are also part of cycles of regeneration and redemption. When we take action in the right direction, and do so with love, positive outcomes –many unexpected and unbidden—ripple outward.