Sunday, September 20, 2015

Coastal Clean Up 2015

No fog, just clear skies and warm.

No plastic, or so it would appear. Then keened-eyed Janis found a Kraft Handi-snack cheese spreader.

OK — we are off and running.

It's Coastal Clean Up Day and 75 people give or take came to Drakes Beach to pitch in on the planets biggest volunteer effort. 10,000 people participated at Manila Bay, Philippines.
In Manatee County, Florida some 1700 folks turned out.

For Marin County the count is still being tallied. But we do know that Janis collected 14 lbs. and Judith 11 lbs. that included bags full of sibling rivalry.

After the clean up the Selby-Jones-Lang team headed for the Bay Model and the Lion's Club volunteer appreciation BBQ and to celebrate Janis' artistic documentation that, as a visitor wrote in her guest book, "Art is the new science for decisions."  

Janis' bold images of plastic posed on the horizon that she takes during her daily walks on the beach in Carlsbad are great reminders that everyday is a day for cleaning up.

Janis' reunited with best old friends from 40+ years ago from her formative years on 34th Avenue, Sacramento.

The Bay Model has kid-friendly interactive educational displays. So just in case you were wondering, just flip flap for the answer:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Have you seen me?

Making Waves

It has been 4+ years since One Plastic Beach hit the waves. We are so grateful to Eric Slatkin and Tess Thackara, director and producer, who created a film that has entertained and educated untold numbers of people all over the planet. 

There have been some 172,000 views on Vimeo alone. It has traveled to some 25 plus film festivals and screenings at schools and exhibitions and it just won't quit.

On September 13 it played in New York City in conjunction with Future Fossils, an exhibition curated by Tess Thackara and Yulia Topchiy. 

Tess sent this pic of it on screen at the gallery:

Since 2012 thanks to Jennifer Heath our film has been traveling in the media show Water Water Everywhere : Paean to a Vanishing Resource and will set down for a spell at the Huntington Museum of Art in Huntington, West Virginia from September 19, 2015 - June 19, 2016. 

In October it will screen in Pittsburgh, PA as part of an environmental and conservation-themed film festival organized by the Pennsylvania Resources Council and Allegheny Cleanways, an anti-litter non-profit.

OPB just keeps making waves. It is truly the short film that could. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

On the Horizon

For several years, Judith's sister Janis Selby Jones has been collecting and taking photographs of plastic that washes up on the beach in Carlsbad, California in San Diego County. How can it be that sisters separated by distance and a 10 year age gap found a passion and camaraderie so linked? Sisters who share—the love of the ocean, the love of collecting debris from the beach, and the love of the creative life. How can it be? 

As you might imagine, there are feelings of sibling rivalry when Janis sends a pic of a rare find like the sad-face beach ball—something so perfectly fraught with meaning and unusual that Judith would just die to have it in our collection. All in a playful competitive spirit, we also share stories about what we find on Kehoe Beach. 

Janis’s photography is currently on exhibit at the Bay Model and will be there during the Sausalito Art Fair and most appropriately for Coastal Clean Up Day and until October 3. She has a really great eye, and she has skillfully captured the theme of the horizon line and the beautiful skyscapes—sunrises and sunsets that frame the plastic debris. 

Although she typically participates in Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County, this year we will be together in Marin County so we can clean the beach before attending the afternoon BBQ and events at the Bay Model. 

There is a great story to be told about their relationship as sisters, artists, and environmentalists who clean beaches hundreds of miles apart but with the same devotion.
Here is Janis in her own words: 

2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965


Gyre: The Plastic Ocean has been making its own waves go-round. The exhibition organized by the Anchorage Museum of Art, moved on and is now being unpacked at the University of Southern California, Fisher Museum of Art.

Anchorage Museum of Art
Anchorage, Alaska
February 7 - September 6, 2014

David J. Spencer Center for Disease Control Museum
Atlanta, Georgia
January 26 - June 19, 2015

USC Fisher Museum of Art
Los Angeles, California
September 2 - November 21, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

International Day of Peace

September 20 is the United Nations International Day of Peace. The San Geronimo Valley Community Center is hosting a music festival and art exhibition. As peaceniks and longtime supporters of the idea of a world without war we are participating with these artworks:

One Wish - Peace
Judith Selby Lang

The tradition of candles on the birthday cake harkens back to the Ancient Greeks who burned candles to represent reflected moonlight. Long ago in Germany candles were placed in the center of a round cake to symbolize "the light of life." 

In my family, an important part of the birthday celebration was the cake, the song, and then the thrill of blowing out all of the candles. The belief that the silent wish would indeed come true, had me wishing big. Never for a new bicycle or a new dress, even as a young child I was wishing for world peace. These days there are way too many candles on my cake so I am back to only one and my wish remains the same, One Wish - Peace.

The True Cost of Plastic
Richard Lang
Judith Selby Lang

For the International Day of Peace we turned our attention to a somber bit of plastic jetsam that is washing up onto Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Through the years we have amassed quite a collection of toy soldiers plus Cowboys & Indians, space-men, and pirates that chronicle the history of world conflicts. To date, we have well over 200 from Japan, Korea, China, and from gutters from our San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood. The miniature helmets and weapons make it clear that war is our subtext and whether it is the internal disagreements of life’s decision-making or real war, these little figures are a way for the psyche to play; to imagine the impact of combat.

Now home from the war, wracked by a long life at sea, some of the faces are gnarled, chewed on, abraded by the sand. When we looked into their tiny faces we were amazed by their expressions. Each soldier is a poignant reminder of the ravages of war and the extremes to which nations will go to preserve dominion over the petrochemical world. Is plastic still cheap when the cost of war is added to the calculation?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Green Straw

When the mercury on the car thermometer went beyond 95°, Judith realized it was time to pull over for a cool beverage before arriving to teach her watercolor class in Rohnert Park. To enter the corporate realm of Starbucks might be considered a transgression but when it is the only place close by, it is it is the only place.

She files this report:

When I saw this bold sign on the front door, I felt relieved. I can be green and enjoy my iced coffee. Since the straw is green (in color) I thought their message might mean that the straw itself is eco-green. So when I stepped up to order my drink I asked the barista about the straw. He stumbled, trying to come up with convincing facts, then said that 20% of all plastic used in Starbucks cups and straws was from a recycled source. Although the Starbucks website proudly tells about their recycling, they fail to say anything about their straws:

As one of many companies in the food service business, we continue our commitment to lead the industry toward greater access to recycling for cups and other packaging—including driving demand for recycled materials. A key milestone came in 2006, when we began offering a cup with 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber in North America, after helping develop the technology and leading the industry to gain approval for using recycled fiber for food packaging. We also include 50% post-consumer, recycled PET (rPET) in our cold cups used in European markets, and 15% rPET in our Bistro boxes in the US.

The barista, trying to ease my dismay, pointed out a delicious alternative — the completely edible cookie straw, completely wrapped in plastic.

Back in my car and on the road, even though my guilt was not assuaged, I enjoyed my drink and was refreshed. However, I realized it is time to let everyone know about a truly green straw.

Last week Eli and Richard harvested our rye (for making whiskey!). The stems are hollow and quite substantial, Dude!!! Anyone need a straw? STRAW STRAWS, LTD . Organic, sustainably harvested, completely biodegradable and gluten free!!! (its rye, not wheat). Dump the plastic "straw." A great VC opportunity. 

Hey, come on over for a cool drink. It's time for sundowners on the deck. We applaud the efforts of The Last Plastic Straw where they request that wait staff at bars and restaurants just ask before they automatically put a straw in the glass.  

At our house, we never ask if you want a straw, instead we ask - do you want one olive or two?

And soon we will be asking if you want a whiskey.