TED Talk: Turning Off the Plastic Pollution Faucet (Video)

plastic on beach photo

Photo via Kevin Krejci via Flickr Creative Commons

Artist Diana Cohen uses plastic bags to create two- and three-dimensional art. But in working with this medium, the realization of the damaging presence plastic has in our world makes it both a tool for activism as well as art. Cohen came up with the idea of taking a ship equipped with a chipping machine and cold-molder to the trash gyre in the Pacific, pull plastic aboard and mold it into bricks to be reused for various purposes. But the idea lead to something even bigger and better. Check out her TED talk on the actions plastic lead her to take in cleaning up the planet.

While the ship with a chipper and cold-molder didn't pan out, the Plastic Pollution Coalition concept was born -- and this type of activism, or "turning off the faucet," makes a far bigger impact. Cohen is right in that stopping the source of the plastic gyres is the first step in fixing the problem of marine-bound litter.

And Cohen's advocacy doesn't stop with this TED talk. The Plastic Pollution Coalition will host TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch that will bring together global thought leaders from the fields of technology, science, arts and entertainment, design, community activism and business in a dialog on the theme of "The Global Plastic Pollution Crisis." It will be held on November 6, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA.

ocean plastic beach image

Photo by epSos.de via Flickr Creative Commons

Educating people about ending their use of plastics is perhaps the first order of business for activists working on marine pollution, and artists like Diane Cohen seem to be leading the way alongside scientists. At Bioneers 2010 in San Rafael, CA last weekend, artists from Washed Ashore created extraordinary pieces of art, including a massive bird, all made from plastics and litter found on beaches. Making a problem visible is an important component in getting people interested in solving it.

plastic bird photo

Photo via Jaymi Heimbuch
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More on Plastic Pollution
Bioneers 2010: "Washed Ashore" Art Exhibit Explores Plastic Pollution with Giant Beach-Trash Bird
Charles Moore and Dirty Talk about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Pacific Garbage Patch Explained

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