World Ocean Day: Marina DeBris Artivist Interview

The 8th June is World Ocean Day, something which has been celebrated annually since 1992. It's a day to celebrate oceans and a day to learn and reflect on actions that need to be taken to help protect and preserve it.

In celebration of World Ocean Day, we spoke with ocean and beach protection activist, artist and 'trashion' designer Marina DeBris to find out how she helps to protect our oceans, how she gets others involved and how you can do your part too.

Referring to herself as an 'artivist' - an activist and artist in one, Marina started this hobby, which soon became her career "purely to raise awareness around the waste we are creating".

Marina DeBris, her artist name, of course, creates sculptures and even clothing items from ocean debris and litter from beaches and the surrounding areas. She turns trash, into fashion and art pieces which are displayed in art and fashion shows, galleries and used for educational purposes to show just how much litter is found in a certain place, or in a short time frame, making people aware of just how big of an issue ocean pollution is, and what we can do to help it.

"I've always loved the ocean and all of its inhabitants. Seeing how much damage our rubbish is causing the ocean and the marine life was what made me change my ways" she said.

Marina's work is all about taking what has been, or would be thrown away, and turning it into something else, whether it's for show purposes, or to be used as something new. It's all about being sustainable to help protect not only the oceans, but the planet as a whole.

"Sustainability means using methods that don't harm the Earth or its inhabitants" she tells me. The oceans make up 71% of our planet and so protecting them is very important; how polluted the ocean is, affects the wider environment and therefore us as well.

"I use strictly washed-up rubbish from the beaches for my art. For the bases of my pieces, I will sometimes use materials I've found on streets, but most of it is from beaches and the ocean, I never buy anything to create my artwork" she explains.

Beaches are one of the most littered areas in most countries around the world due to the vast amount of ocean debris washed up.

"To fight against beach and ocean pollution, it's important to obviously avoid single use items. It sounds silly, but hold onto things - much of the pollution is accidental, like lost balls, sunglasses, swimming gear, etc

"But another big factor is actually fast fashion. It's highly problematic to the environment. Many items end up in landfill, or the ocean! As they are often only worn a couple of times, the production of them is equally harmful. Plus, I don't understand the idea of wanting to dress the same as everyone else?" She says.

Marina re-uses everything she can, not only to be sustainable, but so she is also able to tell a story through her artwork. Re-using things means anything she creates has been free to make, which is great news for any budding artists, or anyone who is looking to be more sustainable as anyone can give this a go. Although, for those who aren't wanting to get artistic, here are some things that Marina suggests you could do to help protect our oceans:

  1. Avoid single use items
  2. Reuse everything you can
  3. Pick up items off the street and try and recycle or rehome them
  4. Buy and eat locally sourced and organic foods
  5. Go vegan
  6. Walk or cycle more, or even use public transport instead of driving
  7. Educate yourself on pollution and climate change
  8. Stop buying fast fashion
  9. Support environmental groups
  10. Say no to plastic