Global TRASHformation: How to Save the Planet, One Piece of Litter at a Time
To most there may be little regard for what happens to the stuff we use once we’re finished using it, whether it’s a disposable plate, fork, bottle, straw, wrapper or cigarette butt. To some it seems that if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind and of no further consequence. The reality is far from that. There are great consequences to one-use items.
Approximately 12.5 million tons of trash enter the oceans from land each year. The trash ends up in one of five gyres and continues to collect, circling around and around within the currents.
SusieQ Wood is committed to changing that statistic. She does this by picking up one piece of litter at a time and inspiring others to do the same. It’s part of her Global TRASHformation movement, consciously started in 2012, with the picking up of rusty materials in the streets and alleyways. The seeds for this movement came from her childhood where her father introduced the idea “leave the place in better shape than we found it.” During summer camping trips, she and her siblings had the responsibility of picking up all litter in the campground area before leaving.
In 2012, a few months into her rusted material collection, her art mentor asked that she paint something as social commentary. “I combined my love of landscapes with my new love of rusty, discarded bottle caps and created a mixed media work called “BottleCapius Litterous”, SusieQ explains. “The background is an oil painting of a sunrise and I used the rusted metal bottle caps and wire retrieved from the local alleyways and parking lots to create an image of a large, sprawling tree.”
SusieQ has made it her mission to pick up litter every day and typically will comb the area of beach by her condo. She realizes that with only her doing “the work” the impact can go only so far. She has partnered with local nonprofits to organize group projects and gives talks on ocean conservancy and the fact that self-care includes taking care of the home upon which we walk. She believes it starts with self-love.
Her collaborative projects involve collecting, cleaning and sorting of small littered objects and organizing them into upcycled art projects with group participation encouraged. One of her recent projects, in collaboration with local businesses and the nonprofit Trash-to-Treasure, was upcycling an abandoned 15-foot Cuban refugee boat beached in Fort Lauderdale. Called “All Hands on Deck”, the project involved about 200 people coming together to cover the boat’s hull with thousands of pieces of colorful plastic beach litter. That project launched her vision to de-litter worldwide, spreading the movement through media and action.
SusieQ is now working on ideas incorporating all art forms (dance, music, fine art, film) as a platform to identify, create and celebrate litter-free environments. She encourages individuals to visit her website, take the Global TRASHformation pledge and share ideas. “It’s all about working from the inside out and the ground up.” Every litter bit matters so make it a habit to pick up One Piece of Litter a day. For details, visit SusieQWood.com.
air date: 1/27/17