Incline Village High School students in the Generation Green Club have been constructing a large, human foot made of plastic water bottles stepping on the Earth to raise awareness about single-use plastic waste. The students call it the “Plastic Footprint Project,” and they hope it will educate community members on the amount of single-use plastic waste accumulating in landfills, waterways, our communities and in the ocean. Students unveiled this art outreach project with the help of art teacher Ann Clark last Thursday at Incline Beach. GREENevada representatives were there to take part.
Beach-goers became volunteers to help turn bags of would-be trash into an introspective art sculpture. The goal is to inspire people to rethink and reduce their own use of plastic. People were eager to get involved and talk about the meaning of this project; a testament to our community being the change they want to see in the world.
Ann Clark, teacher and instillation artist, told the story of the lessons learned by students while the sculpture was being constructed. The collage earth, 3 feet in diameter, was a sphere that supported the weight of the foot, but just barely. Building this round structure was a process of trial and error. Clark explained to students, “just like Edison, who failed 99 times before eventually building the light bulb, we have just learned multiple ways how not to build a globe, rather than failing that many times.”
Informative booths offered alternatives, such as Beth Terry’s book, “Plastic Free,” “Drink Tahoe Tap” stickers, and a local petition to ban plastic bags. Students sewed old T-shirts into cloth bags to hand out for people to use in order to break the habit of using plastic bags at grocery stores. Megan Rachlin, president of Generation Green Club, explained “We want people to know there are good alternatives and everyone can help by just saying “no” to single-use, disposable plastics such as water bottles, plastic grocery bags, plastic plates and cups.”
The sculpture will be installed at the Earth Guardians’ Leave No Trace camp at Burning Man next week. Squaw Valley Institute will also install the sculpture for their Plastic Pollution Coalition symposium on Dec. 19, 2013.