Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happy World Ocean's Day 2011!

Happy World Oceans Day 2011!

Today, people around the globe are gathering together to celebrate World Oceans Day. There will be coastal clean-ups, educational trips to aquariums and zoos, lectures, interactive displays, nature walks, sustainable seafood festivals, and the list goes on.

Scientists will be at events worldwide, speaking on the vital role ocean research plays in the lives of each of us.

Concerned citizens will be making commitments to lifestyle changes that will have positive effects on our shared ocean. You can join them by taking The Seven Cs Pledge to Protect our Ocean. While there you will learn how you can make a difference in your lifestyle choices.

Then there's folks like us, who belong to a HUGE online community through our blogs. I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for coming by today to celebrate our mutual love of the ocean. Some of you have been waiting for this day and have prepared posts that you can link up at the bottom. I can't wait to see what you've shared with us! I know there will be stories, facts and photos around our community today that will show us your love of the sea and shore. Others have come by to read and learn from us. Together we can make a difference and I am humbled by your commitment to this cause.

In January of this year I wrote three back-to-back posts on a grand piano that a 16-year-old boy dumped onto a sandbar in Biscayne Bay here in Florida, saying that he thought it was, "Cool and artistic." I ranted about how destructive this was to our environment, but it got me to thinking — here was this one story that was making headlines around the world and while it did bring attention to the importance of ocean conservancy, it wasn't showing how art and the environment can come together in perfect harmony.

I started researching artists who have made positive, environmental impacts and believe me, there are MANY! Then I came across one artist who brought a whole new meaning to art as an environmental tool and it is his work I want to share with you today. I've been holding onto this research until now, because I believe what he does epitomizes what celebrating World Oceans Day signifies to many of us. The organizers of World Oceans Day say that it is about "making lasting change and it's up to people like us to rise up and be the voice for the ocean all year long." For me there is a voice I've now heard and I am deeply moved by his commitment to protect our ocean.

Without further adieu, I am honored to introduce you to the work of

You can click on this image to see amazing detail!

Let me back up and show you an overview of this incredible work of art soon after its installation…

Underwater Sculpture Art of Jason deCaires Taylor, Vicissitudes, Grenada, West Indies.

From Taylor's website I learned that "in 2009 a monumental underwater museum called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) was formed in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc."

"To date the underwater museum comprises of 4 installations; La Jardinera de la Esperanza, Coleccionista de los Sueños, Hombre en Llamas and The Silent Evolution all created by Jason deCaires Taylor. The Silent Evolution, his most ambitious work to date, is a collection of over 400 life-size figurative works, forming a vast gathering of people aiming to define a new era of living in a symbiotic relationship with nature."

By now you're probably shaking your head and asking yourself why I would be so excited about someone dumping installing something in our ocean, even it is "artistic and cool."

Let me explain, these are not ordinary statues. In the words of the artist, "The sculptures are designed to become artificial reef units. The cement used is a special type of marine-grade cement that's engineered to attract corals; corals adhere to it, they grow, they make different formations, that in turn encourages fish and other marine life."

“Coral reefs attract an array of marine life (such as colourful fish, turtles, sea urchins, sponges, and sharks) and also provide enclosed spaces for sea creatures to breed or take refuge… One of the greatest benefits of artificial reefs is that they have lifted the pressure off natural reefs which, over the past few decades, have been over-fished and over-visited. By diverting attention to artificial reefs, natural reefs have now been given a greater chance to repair and to regenerate.”

Just a few months after the more than 400 statues were installed, they were already attracting schools of fish, lobsters and algae.

"With scientists predicting a permanent demise of 80% of our natural coral reefs by 2050, The Silent Evolution illustrates a potential symbiotic relationship between man and the life-systems of the underwater world; one that is critical if our grandchildren are to have the opportunity to see these beautiful habitats for themselves."

The statues themselves are life-size casts of actual people, the oldest being a 70-year-old nun…

and the youngest, a sweet-faced girl of three…

This next one is of Charlie and in the image on the right you can see
the transformation after six months underwater…

This next image is of The Silent Evolution as it looked on land…

during the installation…

and finally underwater…

The fish seem to be happy with the results…

very happy…

As do many others critters…

including the tourists…

I did tell you that this is an underwater museum, didn't I?

Well, what's an grand opening without a ribbon cutting ceremony…

According to the museum, the third stage of the museum commencing in 2011, will involve commissioning local and international artists to contribute further sculptural installations and host special underwater cultural events celebrating the Arts and Science.

The installation won't ever really be finished, since the marine life will keep added touches for centuries to come.

Taylor is currently founder and Artistic Director of the Museo Subacuático de Arte (MUSA) in Cancun, Mexico.

I could go on and on (and on) about Taylor's art, but there's a party going on and I don't want to take up all your time. I will encourage you to visit Jason deCaires Taylor's website to learn more about his work and see more photos. I suggest you start here and click through all ten pages if you'd like to learn more about the subjects of his work. Trust me you don't want to miss reading about The Archive of Lost Dreams, where a male registrar collects bottles containing messages from all over the world. Oh yeah, he's a statue and the bottles are REAL.

A special thanks to Jason deCaires Taylor for not only creating magnificent art, but for using your incredible talent to help protect our oceans. Thank you for bringing people around the world and other artists together and showing the rest of us that man and our environment can live in harmony in a mutually beneficial manner. You are amazing!

You can "Like" Jason on Facebook to see more photos and keep up with the latest news.

The sculptures we've seen today are beautiful and we've learned that they do provide a service to our oceans by creating artificial reefs that are benefitting sea life, but the question you may be asking yourself is,

"Why should I care about coral reefs?"

Often, many people only become involved in a cause when they see how it directly impacts their lives. I'm here to tell you that you'd be hard-pressed to find someone whose life is not impacted in some way by coral reefs and the overall health of our ocean.

Because of their structure, coral reefs provide shoreline wave protection from tropical storms and hurricanes.

Much like wetlands on land, coral reefs act as a nursery for the sea, providing space for fish and other marine life to spawn, hide and feed.

More than 70 percent of the world’s oxygen supply comes from phytoplankton in the ocean. Every two or three breaths, remember to thank the ocean.Earth Gauge

Oceans provide us with food, cycle our water, generate most of the oxygen we breathe, balance our climate, supply us with medicines and much more.

One thing I've learned over the years is that when you introduce critters to folks, they are apt to become more invested in saving them. For that reason I just had to share this photo with you…

This pygmy sea horse is no bigger than a little fingernail.
Kapalai, Sabah, Malaysia. ©Scubazoo

Now don't you want to Save Our Seas for this little guy?

Thank you again for coming to my party and remember, everyone who links up their ocean-related post between now and midnight on Sunday will be entered into a drawing to win a special box of goodies from Shellbelle's Tiki Hut. I will be placing a permalink to this post in my sidebar for future reference. I hope you all get a chance to visit everyone who has participated and no, you don't have to do it all today, we'll all be here waiting to show you why we love the ocean so much and why we feel it is so important to protect her.

Todays Ocean Fact: Although they cover only two-tenths of one percent of the ocean floor, these complex tropical ecosystems rival the rainforests in terms of biodiversity, supporting nearly a quarter of all marine species. They provide food and income to millions of people worldwide, and they protect our coastal communities from damaging storms and tsunamis. Constructed by living organisms, coral reefs are home to some of the most fascinating plants and animals in the world.Coral Reef Alliance

0 Thoughtful Comments:

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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