For our photography project this week we decided to do a beach clean up! We met at Spiral Beach to find and pick up any garbage that had been left behind or drifted ashore. We started by walking down the beach scanning for garbage, but to our surprise there was none to pick up! We decided to walk to an area where the would be more people leaving things behind so we worked our way down to Clover Point. This is where we found lots and lots of garbage to collect. We found everything from broken glass, wrappers, cigarette butts, and even paintballs sitting in tide pools around the point. We used photography during this activity to document the process of cleaning up the beach.
We were inspired by the newest social media challenge, #trashtag, where people are taking photos of trash-laden areas before and after cleaning them up. Unlike some other social media challenges such as the ‘cheesed’ challenge that involves flinging a slice of cheese at your baby, or the cinnamon challenge, this challenge has positive, real-world impacts. Originally started by Stephan Reinhold in 2015, the #trashtag challenge has recently gained popularity again thanks to a few viral social media posts.
This activity could be used to show students how to make a positive impact in their community and on their environment. Students would be given the opportunity to see what sort of impact humans have on the world around them. This could tie in with a unit focused on marine life as we could study how human-made objects affect the natural cycles and systems of the ocean. It is important to learn about the world and community that you live in, and if a class was in Victoria and close by to the beach it could be very informative for the class to see how things they may have learned in class actually exists in the real world where they live.
This activity could also be used as a way to introduce students to the concept of ‘viral posts’ and the positive and negative impacts that internet can have with real-world issues and concepts. Photography ties in well with this challenge and project because it was Reinhold’s before and after photos in combination with his hashtag that led to this viral trash pick-up movement, and so we chose to document our own #trashtag experience in hopes that we inspire a few people to pick up some trash of their own.