According to their website, “Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution.”
Atlanta-based artist and activist Pam Longobardi spoke with me this week about the initiative, her work, and how she got involved in helping to protect the environment.
Longobardi, whose fascination with nature manifested at an early age, had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii a few times when she was younger. But life circumstance resulted in a gap of several years between visits, and she didn’t return until 2006. The difference in the cleanliness of the islands between those early visits and when she came back was stark.
“I was on an artist residency right down at the southern tip of the big island,” she told me. “And when I got there, there were so many, like, piles and acreage, of plastics. And I felt like I’d stumbled onto this giant kind of a crime scene or something. And there was all this evidence laying around.”
The experience completely changed the way that Longobardi was working, compelling her to investigate the plastics themselves to express her creativity. She began picking up the pieces, which she calls “drifters,” to use in her artwork.
“We have contact with [plastic] almost every second of our contemporary lives,” Longobardi related. “And it’s around us to the point where I think it’s kind of invisible now. And then it leaves our hands and it goes on this tremendous journey. It literally is oftentimes drifting