Epic Ocean-Inspired Murals Highlight The Dangers Facing Our Fragile Ecosystems

A new mural project in Cozumel, Mexico heightens awareness of pressing marine issues while creating vivid public art.

Mural by Franco Fasoli (JAZ), photo courtesy of Nate Peracciny. The image is meant to show the disparity between the 10 people that die annually due to shark bites, versus the 100 million sharks killed for their fins each year.

While a press release is effective, and a billboard gets attention, if you really want the public to care about your cause we recommend the mural as PSA. Recently, Pangeaseed, a global marine conservation organization, sponsored Sea Walls: murals for oceans. Held in Cozumel, Mexico, the event challenged artists to create 35 original artworks to heighten awareness of pressing marine environmental issues. This included everything from over fishing and shark finning, to climate change and and coral reef conservation.

Mural by Faith 47, photo courtesy of the Stills Agency.

In addition to mural-making, the artists also dove head-first into the rich world of Cozumel’s fragile marine ecosystems-- and learned tips and faqs from local environmentalist. Some events this lucky team bore witness to included endangered sea turtles laying their eggs and then releasing their hatchlings into the ocean.

Murals by Alexis Diaz, Cryptic, and Fintan Magee.

During the event, which spanned the month of July, Pangeaseed team members also organized educational activities for the the island’s kids. These were focused on the importance of learning about rare animals like sharks, turtles, and dolphins, and often involved arts and crafts projects utilizing reclaimed materials.

Mural by Hueman and Jeff Grass, photo courtesy of Tre Packard

An homage to marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer, Dr. Sylvia Earle.

Yves Cousteau mural by jason botkin, photo courtesy of tre packard.

Sea-waste themed mural by Bicicleta Sem Freio, photo courtesy of Tre Packard.

Mural by Aaron Glasser, photo courtesy of Tre Packard.

Mural by Naturel, photo courtesy of Tre Packard.

Mural by Phlegm, photo courtesy of the Stills Agency.

Mural by Tristan Eaton x The London Police, photo courtesy of the Stills Agency.

“The power of public art and activism has the ability to educate and inspire the global community to help save our seas,” says Pangeaseed executive director Tre Packard. “No matter where you are in the world, the ocean supplies us with every second breath we take and life on earth cannot exist without healthy oceans. With dwindling global fish stocks, rising sea levels, and widespread pollution, whether you live on the coast, in the city or in the mountains, we should all feel responsible for the health of the oceans and life that lives within it.”

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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