— Care is… by Michiko Takahashi

The definition of “Care”     

The definition of care may vary depending on each person. My definition of care is to continue to pay attention to anyone or anything that you are worried about, if only a little bit.
Today, I would like to talk about care for the ocean, focusing on the beach that was once devastated by tsunami on March 11th , 2011. The beach named Arahama is a bit more than 10km away from downtown Sendai, where I live. After the tsunami, the beach was totally covered in debris. The debris is now almost cleared but still smaller debris remains, not only on the surface of the beach but also underneath it.
University students organized a volunteer group in July, 2018. Its aim was firstly to collect the remaining debris from the beach to make it a safe place for those who visit and enjoy the beach and the ocean. While they were collecting debris, they noticed that there were so many plastic chips on the beach, washed onto the shore from the ocean.
Since the students are from environmental studies, they are very much aware of marine plastic pollution. They felt like they needed to address it urgently and at the same time, they thought the public awareness was important. They started to advertise their group and tried to attract people who were interested in cleaning the beach. Then they collected debris and separated plastic chips from debris.
What do you think they did after that? In order to raise awareness among the public, especially younger people, on the issue, they started to make accessories, creating art by using the plastic chips they collected, and opening a small cozy shop to sell them.
Their activities drew attention from a local newspaper and an article was written about them. Those who read the article visited the shop, bought their works and some of them joined the group.
Their care for the ocean resulted in the cycle of collecting plastic chips, making accessories, self-funding their activity, and attracting people to join their work. For me it looks as if this cycle is one of the fruits of a kind of socially engaged art inspired by care for the ocean.
The group’s activity is a very small step to tackle marine plastic pollution but if the number of people who continue to pay attention to it continues to increase, the situation will be improved.
I believe that continuing to pay attention to anyone or anything that you are concerned is important to secure our well-being.

ケア “の定義


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