Senior Andrea Daly utilized her 2010 Honors Summer fellowship to study the environmental effects of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of debris located in the North Pacific Gyre. She transformed her research and personal experience into a multi-media art exhibit “Kaisei,” which ran Sept. 16-25 in the Thomas P. Kelly Jr. Student Art Gallery.
“I consider myself a painter and an artist, and I also enjoy video and photography. I had always been interested in art and the environment, so it was cool that I got to combine the two on this project,” said Daly, an urban studies and environmental studies major.
The exhibit followed her three-week adventure at sea and featured pictures, videos and sketches. Daly said she hopes the exhibit helped raise awareness about the environmental effects and impact of plastic and synthetic materials.
“You can see the impact of humans out in the middle of ocean wilderness. There are wonderful uses for plastic, but we need to rethink our relationship with it,” Daly said. “What really concerns me are the tiny pieces of plastic that we don’t really think about. They just break down into smaller pieces but never really go away.”
During the summer, Daly volunteered with Project Kaisei, a nonprofit organization that studies the effects of ocean debris on marine life and possible cleanup solutions. Along with 20 other volunteers, she assisted with research and exploration of the garbage patch, which some experts estimate to be the size of Texas.
“Project Kaisei’s goal is not just to relocate the trash, but also to repurpose it and make it into fuel. Clean-up is kind of impractical because of how much trash there is but to make it fuel would be financially beneficial,” Daly said.
Daly also will formally present her summer research, along with Brian Treanor, professor of philosophy and director of the Environmental Studies program, at a time and date yet to be determined.
Posted Sept. 27, 2010