Tuesday, March 22, 2011


If you read my last blog you know how fond i've become of coconut palms, so when I saw this palm root wound up in a plastic bottled I had to laugh. But it was an ironic half sad laugh. There was plastic everywhere on the beaches of Little Corn Island. This island we ran off to to escape the world, had the world washing up on it's door step everyday.

I only then found out that Caribbean cruise lines can dump their garbage in the open ocean. And anything that floats is a gift to the beaches so popular with tourists, like us.

And that there is also a plastic island, by some estimates the size of the U.S., another amusingly sad irony, that floats in the Pacific Ocean.

I have a collagist eye for garbage. I used to collect it excessively when I had a studio. I see stories in lost things. Like this forlorn ball.

Little Corn Island is a poor island; they don't have recycle bins, or even garbage men or a dump. From the smell of it on somedays I imagine all they can do with non-organic garbage is burn it. And with the thousands of tourists generating garbage on the island over the years you can see the mounting problem. Where we stayed the water was fine to drink we never had to buy a plastic bottle of anything. Okay, we had a coke once. I was flummoxed as I searched for a recycle bin. It was another sad irony to a North Westerner who is so habituated to recycling everything that I couldn't even find a garbage can. Some one on the island who calls her business Little Corn Island Trashures has found one way to mine the beaches tide lines for profit but sorely it did little to slow the daily onslaught of plastic.

Some islanders are very concerned about the build up of garbage spoiling their home and livelihood. Some beaches especially in front of the busier encampments are cleaned of trash. Unfortunately that leaves the large wild beaches covered with plastic along with the more natural debris, which I guess is the nature of a beach anyway. I have been grateful since my return for the urban industrial complex that sucks up all the plastic I buy and reuses it. Still I'm really thinking about plastic since I came back. How much I buy and reuse and recycle, and throw away.

I hope you will, too.