Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
I was on a road trip when I stopped along the way for a little beach cleanup and spotted the local Surfrider chapter cleaning up that same exact beach. I took it as a sign and have been involved ever since! I’ve been continually inspired by Surfrider’s ability to not only bring awareness to environmental issues but also to cultivate community among like-minded individuals and most importantly, to share tools to take local action in a super accessible way. Having the opportunity to create art in support of these efforts has been an absolute dream!
What inspires you to be active in coastal (including Great Lakes) conservation?
Growing up surrounded by the Great Lakes, I was able to admire their deep beauty on a regular basis. But with that admiration came devastation as I continually collected plastic bits from the shoreline. As both an activist and artist, I felt an unwavering pull of inspiration to combine my efforts to share a deeper message of conservation.
Ever since, I’ve been collecting trash and creating art with it. Within that creative process, I’ve been constantly inspired by the items I find on beach cleanups (you truly never know what you’ll find!) to find new ways to take care of our planet. It’s also been such an incredibly soul-nourishing experience to share my art with individuals and communities that are also able to source inspiration from the discarded plastic items used in my artwork.
What has been the highlight of your experiences related to protection of our waterways?
Meeting so many like-minded individuals and feeling so incredibly inspired by their hope, ideas and optimism in what can sometimes feel like a doom & gloom space of conversation. I’ve learned so much from the activists I’ve had the opportunity to connect with around the world and that has been so fulfilling in itself.
What is the most important thing you tell others about the protection of our planet?
Don’t overcomplicate it! The most important thing is to do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are. That’s going to look different for everyone but what matters is the progress, not perfection. Small actions add up!
Visit www.instagram.com/thetrashycollection to see more of Hannah's amazing artwork that she is creating out of trash found on our beaches!