Never Turn Your Back on the Ocean

Sophie Thomas


Positive Impact

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“Tragically Beautiful Exhibit Shows How Our Oceans Suffer” Huffington Post, Hawaii

Never Turn your back on the Ocean is the latest body of campaign work by our founder Sophie Thomas. The collection of powerful posters, and found object sculptures, is Sophie’s personal response to her visit to Kamilo Point, Big Island, Hawaii.

Plastics are now one of the most common pollutants of ocean waters worldwide, and are pushed by winds, tides and currents, along with other debris to form garbage patches within ocean gyres. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of five major polluted masses drifting in the oceans and the closest beach is Kamilo Point, which has had plastics dumped on it for years.

Sophie travelled to Kamilo Point to see, at first-hand, the extent of this plastic waste. “The amount of plastic-to-sand ratio at Kamilo is shocking, even to me. In a half hour walk along the coastline I picked up 18 toothbrushes alone.” With the intention to raise awareness, Sophie collected as much as she could carry, and set to work creating artworks to highlight this huge environmental problem and use the exhibition as a communication platform to create positive impact and behaviour change.

Marine litter is one of the clearest symbols of a resource inefficient economy. These objects that litter our beaches and impact our environment should either, be captured for their value before the reach the oceans, or not be produced at all. Adopting a circular economy approach, which puts emphasis on; designing systems that prevent waste and encourage recovery of valuable materials, designing products that optimise materials for their effectiveness in use, and simplifying the use of plastics, especially in packaging so that recycling can be streamlined and efficient are effective solutions to tackle marine litter. Plugging the source, i.e. stopping the production of unnecessary single use plastics, is the most effective.

Never Turn your back on the Ocean is currently on tour. Keep an eye on our blog, twitter and Instagram feeds to find out about the next opportunity to view the work.

You can also read Sophie’s account of the project on the RSA blog

See images of the work on the Guardian Sustainable Business

And read reviews of Sophie’s exhibition and talk on Creative Review, Design Week, Do The Green Thing and in the Huffington Post