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Plastication Imagination photography on Hastings Promenade

Plastication Imagination photography on Hastings seafront

Marybeth Haas shares her thoughts and ideas behind this series of six images, currently exhibited on advertising boards on Hastings promenade, a Coastal Currents and Photo Hastings event running until 27 October.

Severe weather warning, Plastication Imagination 2019 © MB Haas

The images are displayed in the advertising boards on the seafront promenade in Hastings town centre. The first two pairs are opposite the back of Debenhams, just up the ramp from the underground walkway from the town centre underground car park, opposite each other. The third pair are on the next set of boards on the left near the lifeguard station, heading towards Hastings Pier.

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Plastic inheritance © MB Haas

This is the second series of Plastication Imagination images. Last year the message was about our need to wake up to our collective responsibility for cleaning up our destructive lifestyles. While this ‘waking up’ is still essential, there is a lot more awareness now about our need to make changes.

I’ve also noticed how difficult it can feel for me to consistently make environmentally sound choices like not buying packaged foods, choosing only local produce as we move into autumn and staying committed to picking up litter when it relentlessly appears on our streets and beaches.

I can find myself drawn into a kind of mass complacency or denial of the reality of climate change and planetary pollution because of the scale of environmental destruction that I’m aware I also contribute to. Avoidance of facing the reality is understandable given how badly it can make us feel and given the magnitude of the converging issues we are faced with and how remote from our everyday lives some of them can feel.

We are the web of life, Plastication Imagination 2019 © MB Haas

These images are a result of my ongoing exploration of multitude conflicting thoughts and feelings about the environmental challenges we collectively face and my personal struggles with acting in alignment with my own priorities of taking care of ecosystems on which my own well being depends.

An important part of growing a capacity to make changes is to allow ourselves space to process feelings that arise in response to what we now know are the multitudinous consequences of our collective behaviour over the last 100 years. Feelings like grief for the environmental and species losses, anger about prioritising money, profit and convenience over care for our biosphere and fellow beings, fears about how the consequences of our behaviour may manifest in the future and being overwhelmed regarding what we as individuals can do. That’s a lot of feeling, none of it easy to be with and therefore often preferable to avoid.

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Litter recently collected on the beach at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve © MB Haas

Exploring contradictory feelings

Making and engaging with art can be a way to explore such difficult and contradictory feelings and to question our personal choices with curiosity instead of judgement. Most people would say they care about what is happening regarding climate change, plastic pollution and species extinction, but many people don’t know what they can do about it when the system we are all part of ‘keeps on keeping on’ as if we are not in crisis.

The system is made of individuals and we have to first examine honestly what is true within ourselves and have compassion for what we may find while taking responsibility for making different choices wherever possible.

I still believe we can each make a difference with our everyday choices and that non judgement, self compassion and taking action from the heart, following what feels right for each of us as individuals, are key to transforming our current lifestyles towards living interdependently with our natural environments.

Dreaming beyond the plastic age, Plastication Imagination 2018 © MB Haas

There are a lot of organisations working locally on environmental issues and plastic pollution, some of which are listed, along with further information, on my website.

Strandliners, run by Andy Dinsdale, is currently offering community training events for anyone wishing to be more involved in cleaning our local waterways while researching the sources of litter in order to stop it at source.

Two Plastication posters have already been replaced and the weather continues to be stormy and may destroy the images before the official end of the exhibition on 27 October. Have a look while you can and please leave feedback by answering two simple questions.


See also Marybeth Haas’s Active beach love and Strandliners release October newsletter.


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Posted 17:55 Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019 In: Photography

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