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Washed Up in Paradise

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Where does everything we consume, all those packages all our stuff is so dearly wrapped in and we carelessly dispose of?

At least some of it is making its way across various oceans and ending up in the once-pristine shores of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, as documented in these photos by Mexican-born artist Alejandro Durán.

Through his Washed Up project, Durán aims to raise awareness to how consumerism and its product of waste is affecting more than we care to find out. I mean, would you have ever imagined that Mexico´s largest federally-protected reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Caribbean paradise with over 20 known ancient ruins, could be the repository of trash from forty two nations and six continents?

Just try to picture that…

And if you can´t (because I truly find it hard to picture), Alejandro Durán is taking care of bringing his observations to life and to our plain sight with a collection of photos of sculptures he created on-site with the washed up objects he found.

Durán blends colors and objects to transform them into organic pieces with life of their own.

Alejandro Duran Washed up

Derrame–An overflow of colorful plastic bottle caps

Espuma–Sea foam formed out of empty plastic bottles

Riachuelo–A river made out of blue, abandoned flip flops

What is really unbelievable about this invasion of international trash of sorts is that it´s happening in a unique place like Sian Ka’an, in the state of Quintana Roo, which epitomizes paradise and the forward-thinking sustainable development efforts being put forth at many levels in Mexico.

In fact, Sian Ka’an “faces the greatest challenge of conservation: to find a way to integrate human activities without compromising other forms of life contained within its boundaries.”

But what happens when those other forms of life are invading without care for boundaries?  How can it be that we are destroying so many amazing places in the world just by leading the life we lead?

I’ve been to Sian Ka’an many times and have always felt a sense of respect when entering its protected boundaries. I felt like an intruder. I can’t believe a bottle of water I threw to the trash could disrespectfully intrude in my place.

We need artists and voices like Duran’s to continue waking us up and making us aware of the real effect we have through our interconnected lives.

Hat tip to Design Mom for making me aware of this all the way from France. That’s the power of speaking up and being connected.

Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the México Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things México shared here  and everywhere are completely my own.

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