As we meet people curious about our lifestyle, we are often asked “Where is your favorite place?” There are too many variables for that question to have a simple answer. We have been blessed to see wonderful places reflecting geology, history, science and personal achievement. But I do have a very short list of “places that matter,” those I wish everyone could visit because of the impact they had on my soul.
The place that may always top my list of “places that matter” is Manzanar, the WWII Japanese Internment Camp Historic Site near Lone Pine, California. I wrote about it in the Highs and Lows blog post from November, 2014. It is interesting that my write up on Manzanar was really quite brief given the profound way that I remember it.
Another “place that matters” by my definition was Little Big Horn Battlefield. I wrote about our visit there in Montana Days Off – Week 2 from September, 2015. Seeing grave markers at Last Stand Hill and then scattered in pairs across the vast battlefield was sobering.
This week we visited another “place that matters.” We traveled to Bandon, to the Washed Ashore art gallery and workshop. The organization’s mission is to build and exhibit art to educate about plastic pollution in our oceans.
Since 2010, more than 10,000 volunteers have cleaned 300 miles of Pacific coast beaches, collecting more than 38,000 pounds of petroleum based debris, generally plastic. Ninety five percent of the debris was used to make more than 60 sculptures.
It was immensely sad that so much recognizable garbage ends up in our oceans. It was also inspiring that one woman, Angela Pozzi, concerned about the beaches near her hometown of Bandon, Oregon started this mission of awareness to change individual habits.
A few of the sculptures are on display at the exhibition hall in Bandon. Others are on display throughout the country. Right now they are in Ames Iowa, Tacoma Washington, Washington DC and Richmond Virginia. Their website at washedashore.org gives current information. I encourage you to visit in Bandon, or see the exhibits around the country if you ever have the chance.
At the Washed Ashore exhibit hall I learned about 28,000 plastic ducks, turtles, frogs and beavers that were lost at sea in 1992. In the intervening years they have been found all over the world giving scientists valuable information about currents and the connectedness of our oceans.
The book about the toys and their movement, Moby Duck ,will be on my summer reading list! There was also an NPR Interview with the author, Donovan Hohn, if you are interested…. but not THAT interested!
I appreciate seeing theses “places that matter.” I just hope good will come from each sad tale.