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Earth Passion Project

My passion project idea is to crochet a large plastic globe with food bags I have saved. Thinking of sustainability so I borrow the crochet hook. This one will be floppy like all the material has been taken out and it looks exhausted.

A bit of background information first. I wrote an LCA of LLDPE food-grade plastic bags and I have been collecting them for months as they cannot be recycled. I wondered why this was a problem? I discovered they are made from fossil fuels which produce many harmful GHGs in the mining, refining, and production of the raw materials, ethylene, nitrogen, hydrogen, and cyclohexane to make LLDPE resin pellets which are shipped, to be blown, laminated, and printed to make bags. Because these are food-grade there are higher standards that need to be met, most importantly no leeching. These bags cannot be recycled probably because there are over 6000 recipes used to make plastic bags. There are additives to protect from UV rays, laminates like aluminum foil to help preserve products, and nylon used when freezing food for flexibility, all of which make them un-recyclable. I wondered about making art with them and it seems they are fairly safe in their end state, better when they can be upcycled rather than sit in landfills or burned creating toxic emissions. A classmate posted a link to which encourages small businesses to make new things with old containers, on closer inspection they are using colourful bottle caps, and with the heating, some GHGs are released, again.

Last semester for my first system thinking project I mapped the Kombucha home brewing. I later did some research on using what I thought was the mother but in turn, found out, that the mother is actually the liquid with yeast and bacteria, what is floating and grows is actually cellulose. I have been using it as a sculpture material and adding other natural ingredients like leaves, flowers, and hair to make “earth diary snapshots”.

I also made a globe from cardboard, oatmeal as glue, and cellulose from the Kombucha. This one will take a while as it needs to dry out. I had some balls which I pumped up as the core, that will be deflated and removed when the outer layers are fully hard. Each day I soaked the cardboard in 1.5 liters of boiled hot water, when done, I feed it to the plants. I make oatmeal every day anyway so I just made a little more and diluted it with 1 cup of hot water from the cardboard soaking. If I was smart I would soak this overnight in just warm water from the tap.

It has been rainy every day until Thursday when I was able to put the ball outside to dry in the sun and after a few hours, it was dry. I was able to do this on Friday as well. The sun creates great energy!

Thinking that the circle really reflects how Nature works, looking at materials as nutrients in the circular economy. Wondering if it is applicable to use plastic to make other things, we know it will last a long time. I really got frustrated with wanting to eliminate plastic but feeling it is quite impossible to get the foods I eat without the plastic. It is easier in the summer when I can grow my own. Is it all about lobbying the food manufacturers to stop using plastic? Maybe I will attempt some emails this summer.

I was so happy to start then I said, what am I doing? Then I was inspired by other ideas, I thought, this is cool!

I also wanted to include some doodling on the cardboard, Molly Nemer suggested as a tool for the toolbox. I used black ink but when dried it turned blue. I used these strips around the hole.

How do Simplicity and Harmony my two values fit into this project?

I have two pieces both with the same shape and orb but one has been deflated. The shape reflects what we know as the earth, an understanding made from special moments when we see it in pictures from Apollo 11, satellites, or the space station. The shape is simple but it connects us spiritually with the earth. This similarity creates a kind of harmony with each other and a narrative. The narrative unveils thoughts of biological and technical nutrients and how in relation to the earth orb manifests their pitfalls and advantages.

What's next?

I really don't know? The more I know the more I realize I don't know. Thought of sewing the cardboard together to make large canvases which I can draw and paint on with fruits as colours. What do you think?


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