“I care about the ocean and keeping what we all love and care about clean and safe for animals and humans.”
After experiencing a tragedy in her life back in 2010, Angela Haseltine Pozzi, Founder and Director of Washed Ashore, a non-profit community art project, turned to the Oregon Coast and the Pacific Ocean for healing, and what she saw staring back at her was an ocean that needed healing itself. Since then, Angela has made it her mission to heal this ocean she holds so close to her heart. Growing up spending long summer days on the Oregon Coast, Angela knows the privilege and the responsibility that comes with the gorgeous beaches of the Oregon coast. The efforts of Washed Ashore, which is based in Bandon, Oregon, have turned 38,000 pounds of ocean and beach debris into over 60 different sculptures, including jellyfish, coral, Octavia the Octopus and Sebastian James the Puffin, various types of sea anemone, and much more. To Angela, the combination of art and science is an incredibly powerful way to communicate the importance and urgency of addressing plastic pollution in the Pacific Ocean.
With exhibits across the country, even one featured at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., Washed Ashore emphasizes the need to inform people far and wide about the dangers of plastic pollution, even those living in areas away from coastlines. “I think the most exciting part of this work is reaching people across the country and around the world and showing them how important it is to keep plastic out of our waterways.” Through art, Angela believes she can wake people up and bring their attention to this issue. She wants people to think about the steps they can take to reduce their own plastic use. “I think the one thing we have to watch out for is getting discouraged. This is a massive problem, but every action counts, and we have to set reachable goals and objectives and work on tackling our own personal habits, through using reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles, and also using reusable shopping bags. Those are the places to start.”
As an Oregonian, Angela Haseltine Pozzi has a special place in her heart for the Oregon Coast and the Pacific Ocean. “I care about the ocean and keeping what we all love and care about clean and safe for animals and humans.” She says that although some of the debris that washes up on Oregon beaches comes from the eastern coast of Asia, beach littering is still a major problem in Oregon and we all play a role in preventing ocean pollution. “Oregonians and coastal towns need to take heed of plastic bags and Styrofoam which can be pulled out to sea really fast by the wind. We have a responsibility to know about this and be conscious of this.” As residents of this state, we have a job to protect our natural environment and wildlife within.