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Guest Opinion: Community, Sustainability, Prosperity by Hoiyin Ip

Ocean in the Eyes of Children

By Hoiyin Ip

There will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, according to World Economic Forum. Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reported in May, around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. Youth are speaking up, rightly, on the environment they’re inheriting.

For World Oceans Day on June 8, I’d like to share some of the youth art by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs, which were exhibited at the 2018 Newport Beach Green on the Green Eco Expo as a joint effort with Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club and City Arts Commission.

“Having a negative outlook toward pollution, I decided, will not help us at all. In order to make progress in any task, we must first adopt a positive outlook. My artwork, created with color pencil, expresses the relationship between optimism and result. The people in the center, whose heads are full of clean water and living fish, represent those who view our ocean’s future positively. Those who have a positive outlook of our future ocean, whose heads are filled with beliefs that the ocean can improve, consequently endeavor to tidy and clean the beach, as can be seen with the cleaning supplies they hold. However, those on the left and right sides, whose heads are filled with negative opinions about the future ocean, do not take action, and as a result, their environment deteriorates.”—Fiona Luo, 13
“My artwork represents human ignorance and shows how our mistakes can negatively affect the environment. The fireworks and flashy lights represent how we are sitting around going on vacations and enjoying our life ignoring all the bad around us. As we are ignoring these problems, more ocean spills are happening and more debris is being swept into the oceans. Our ignorance on these problems is what prevents us from preventing the ocean pollution. My hope is that this artwork will be able to bring attention to oil spills and ocean debris. Since we are the ones that caused this problem, we have to be the ones to fix it.”—Irene Raeeun, 12
“The pollution is symbolized by a sick-looking fish with a soda can body, to represent ‘sashimi’ on the plate that the food we eat ends up on. Around it are garnishes for the ‘sashimi’ which are trash, such as cigarette butts, plastic water bottles, and so on. The ‘soy sauce’ is made of petroleum, and there are ‘lemon’ garnishes of old tires. I used acrylic paint to emphasize the fish along with several other ‘garnishes’ on watercolor. I named this piece ‘Trashimi’ to reflect on the items from the sea that we will eventually consume, but also as ‘Trashme’ because the trash that we humans throw away just come back to us in a cycle.”—Jennifer Kim, 13

“It is my moral duty to do everything I can. But also when I grow up, I want to be able to look back and say that I did everything I could,” said Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist and 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. My fellow adults, policy makers, businesses and consumers, how shall we up our effort for the ocean and children?

Hoiyin Ip is often recognized on the street as the plastic lady for her cleanup work. But she likes to think of herself as a guardian of the ocean. She is often reminded of a quote by former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.”

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About The Author Dana Point Times

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