Serving the Community, Changing Minds, One Piece of Litter at a Time

by Gayle Pomeray

Global TRASHformation is a movement using the arts to raise awareness about the power we hold within ourselves to no longer accept out-of-place trash and litter, be it in our own space, neighborhood, school and/or work environment. SusieQ Wood, publisher of Natural Awakenings Broward County and activist eco-artist, takes this subject lightly yet seriously, bringing to public awareness the at-hand ability for each person to make a huge impact with small gestures.

Wood recalls summer camping trips as a youth where her father spearheaded the family’s mission of de-littering their campground area, picking up all things that did not belong, including the trash and litter left behind by other campers. He wanted to instill in his children a sense of appreciation for nature and, in gratitude, ways to leave the world in better shape for having been there.

Today, combing the beach shoreline where she lives, Wood regularly picks up plastic and other items that are not part of the natural eco system and don’t belong. She cleans and repurposes much of the trash into treasured works of art.

She states, “We may want to believe that the Earth, our natural world, will continue to provide clean water and air for us without making any changes in the way we now live or what we consume as a global society, but that’s sheer folly. Some believe that the Earth will be able to offset our continual pollution. As the only species that is responsible for out-of-harmony commercial land use with both air and water pollution by commercial animal harvesting and an unhealthy plant production system using pesticides, we need to be looking for viable, long-term solutions for future generations. Besides those industries, the plastic/chemical industry is most troubling. My vision is a world in which there are unlimited opportunities to reuse/repurpose all plastics so that none of it reaches international waters. Creative solutions for this immensely complex situation are needed.”

The artwork she creates and exhibits, plus the collaborative art projects she works on with others, is her platform for conversation about self-responsibility and encouraging others to find that space within themselves—that self-love that can be transformed into an outward expression of respect for all living things, including the planet, treating this interconnected system as one. She gives talks and offers workshops or creative collaborative art projects to local groups, organizations and corporations.

Join the Movement

Take the Global TRASHformation Pledge:

• To be an active participant in finding viable solutions for keeping the areas I live, work and play litter-free.

• To be grateful I am able to do my part and look for ways to inspire others to participate in the movement.

In doing so, I recognize the great power within me, knowing that by benefiting the environment, I am enriching myself. It’s all about working from the inside out and the ground up.

Wood has aligned herself with numerous nonprofits and is the artistic director for Kids Ecology Corps, working on creative community projects. One of the more popular ongoing workshops involves education on ocean conservancy and creating artwork to reflect the idea that picking up plastic that smells like food to the birds, fish and whales is a worthy mission.

She recently worked with a non-profit, Trash to Treasure, as the lead artist for a project transforming the exterior hull of an abandoned Cuban Refugee Boat with thousands of small pieces of plastic from the beaches. Nearly 200 people worked on the project over a year’s time. It now resides in Harbor’s Edge Park on the Intracoastal Waterway in Pompano Beach, Florida.

One of her most recent grassroots community projects was in collaboration with House of Art, an art gallery in Wilton Manors. During a one-day event, the community transformed a non-utility pole into a work of art using local litter, mostly metal drink cans and bottle caps that had been run over and flattened in the neighboring streets and parking lots. The items were stapled and/or nailed in a spiral design, winding up the pole, by the hands of more than 35 people. The piece was named “Totem”. Another activity that was happening concurrently was a serious de-littering of the adjacent parking lots, ridding the area of nearly a thousand pieces of litter (mostly cigarette butts). Neighborhood clean-ups are much like the process of de-cluttering personal spaces in one’s home, making for overall easier flow in one’s life experiences. Just think how well this can be worked on the global level.

For more information, call 954.630.1610 and/or visit
SusieQWood.com and link to TRASHformation. 

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