beach cleanup and toy making, sanur, bali

While on Bali I was asked by Erin Michelle Threlfall of the Bali International School (BIS) to join in as a guest instructor an upcoming gathering of local and ex-pat children from several schools at a beach clean-up. sponsored by Crystal Divers, a local outfit that routinley scours Bali's shores and scuba sites for plastics and trash... I thought about it for about a nano-second and said YES!

I arrived, after riding the thin line of "squish you are road pizza" through crazy Bali traffic on my little scooter, at the Bali International School where Erin greeted me and gave me a tour. Our 25 kids were ready with gloves, hats and sun screen so we quickly boarded a bus to the Sanur public beach with our willing enviro-scrubbers. Soon we were at the local fishermans beach amongst many small fishing boats with colorful pontoons and plenty of trash everywhere to work on gathering, cleaning and repurposing into toys. We were joined by kids from other international schools, the Green School and a few local schools, over 250 earth guardians in all and none older than 13.


We found fishing nets, rope of all diameters, unusable cigarette butts and glass and tons (literally) of plastic in the form of bottles, caps, bags and containers plus bike frames, wood from boat hills, styrofoam floats and much more. We setup a sorting area and used sea water to clean off the prime trash for repurposing.

Next step was to cut, crimp, bend and lash our materials into cars, dolls, swings, space stations and the inevitable swords and bows with arrows. While working we talked about the mess on the beach, imagined what it might look like in the water off the reef and devised ways to communicate to people how we could all work together to change this.

Bali is one of our planets most amazing gifts yet even here in paradise there is a plastic legacy of destruction building day by day. There are local farmers and markets here where you get your food in leaf packaging or wrapped in bio-degradable newspapers yet most of the food and liquids humans consume come in plastic based packaging and after cooking or drinking that packaging usually finds its way into the environment. As a team of young minds cleaning up after this fact we are asking humanity to make better consumption choices and to ask our foods producers to find better ways of packaging and shipping the foods they produce.