Spot Check – Lofoten

It sits high in the Norwegian Arctic, an archipelago pointing out towards the North Atlantic, rugged and resolute, and amongst the most spectacular island chains on Earth. It bares the brunt of both North Atlantic and Arctic swell, and is a harsh place to carve out an existence. Yet it is home to some epic surf, a booming fishing industry and it’s location also means it is at the end of the line when it comes to plastic.

The problem that the Lofoten chain has is that is literally the end of the line. The North Atlantic current ends up here, low pressure systems ends up here and there are eve currents coming from northern Russia that end up here. It is a convergence of water, and thus it is a place of incredible beauty covered in rubbish.

Even the remotest beaches are strewn with trash, if you haven’t seen the film North Of The Sun, I suggest you get on Vimeo on demand and watch it, the below cabin is built on one of these remote beaches, made entirely of stuff washed up on it. The guys in the film also removed 3.5 tonnes from the beach as well over a long harsh winter.

It’s an incredible example of one of the world’s remotest coastlines that has been decimated by rubbish, and that rubbish has often travelled thousands of miles to get there. Whilst there we made Cold Reality with director Mike Cunliffe.

 

If you’d like to help us with the project it would be hugely appreciated, you can become a friend or a supporter below, when you do this you get entered for our dram for a new Patagonia wetsuit and surfboard in November as well. It is all a massive help and we couldn’t do it without your help.

We also have some of our books left which you can order below, and they will be delivered in early November.

 

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Spot Check – Thurso

Continuing on our spot check theme, here’s Thurso, or more accurately the whole of the North Coast of Scotland. it’s a place close to my heart, and an area which started my interest in serious environmental problems with the Nuke station up here. When it comes to plastic though it is pretty interesting, as on the surface it often appears pristine. The main breaks of Thurso and Brims, often only have the odd bit of fishing gear on them, but start to look in some corners, and there is rubbish everywhere, especially anywhere that faces due west.

 

The reason for this is pretty simple, both prevailing winds and currents brush straight past the north coast of Scotland, carrying everything with them north west, Orkney and Shetland both suffer far worse because of this. It’s also pretty likely that there is a lot more plastic on the ocean floor up here as well, as it travels further a large percentage has already sank, which is out of sight, out of mind but killing the ecosystem.

What it all means is that if you’re a visiting surfer to the area, you may think, the sin’t so bad up here, but just keep an eye in those sheltered corners and you’ll find that it is as bad as anywhere else on the planet.

 

We need your help, we are rapidly expanding both our educational resources and our tour with exhibition and films. We run a tight ship, no one gets paid, but if anyone would like to become a friend or supporter hit one of the links below and thank you. You can also see our book HERE

TPP Autumn Update

We’ve stopped doing the newsletters, I know what it’s like we get so bombarded that none get opened even if they do have good stuff in them. So we’re going to be giving updates on how the project is going to all our supporters here.

Thankyou to everyone who has supported the project, it is a lonely path doing this on my own sometimes but we’re really starting to reach a lot of people, and especially those we haven’t been able to in the past.
Firstly on the educational front, our resources have now been used/seen by over 2 million pupils world wide. We’re just getting ready to launch a more straightforward web archive of images as well to make it even easier for educational establishments to have access to images and information. Up until now we have only accepted contributions from photographers we know in the surf and adventure world, but we are now inviting fellow photo activists to come and join in as well to increase the archive.
This is allowing us to build up full photographic timelines for places, so anyone can see how plastic and other pollutants have developed over decades, which is an invaluable visual resource, not just for the classroom, but for wider campaigning as well. All of this is freely available to any other campaigning groups, researchers, media and the general public.
Beyond the educational database we have also been touring Dispatches From A Plastic Planet. We decided to do this in a different way, we have spent a lot of time in rooms preaching to the converted, and so we partnered with some festivals/events/shops across Europe in an attempt to formulate an experience that would engage the people who are currently not.
We have been to Portugal, Spain, here in France, Belgium and Italy so far, and have developed a format where we show a series of shorts, just one short sometimes, and do slideshows and exhibitions. This has been massively challenging as in a lot of cases English has not been the audiences first language, and surfing has not always been their main sport. However it has worked, and the reception and feedback and engagement has exceeded expectations. We now have a movement of skaters in Bilbao who are working on cleaning the streets, to stop rubbish getting to the ocean for example. We have a very active arm of the plastic project in Portugal, and we will be working more with them closely this winter.
We are now tweaking this format to take it on tour around the UK, which will be a combo of photographic exhibition and film evening, and we’re obviously keen to partner up with you guys in anyway we can. This is our next big activation on the ground, and it will deliver the project so far to places where we wouldn’t normally be able to reach. I’ll give you some updates on locations over the next month, but we are open to suggestions, but I will say it is more than film night.
In the field we have a new angle on the project and we are working specifically with a group of pro big wave surfers across the globe. It’s no coincidence that big wave spots and pollution hotspots go hand in hand, the energy required for both to make land fall is totally linked, and as you’ll see as we progress through this winter and into next Southern Hemisphere winter, the combined wave/pollution imagery is pretty intense.
If anyone would like to get more involved in the project please drop me a line – timnunnphoto@gmail.com – we are always looking for photo activists.
The first part of our film is available here as well –

Waterlevel from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

 

If you’d like to help us you can become a friend or supporter below, or if you’re a company drop me a line.

Spot Check – Hossegor

A big part of what we are doing is trying to make our own industry, and tourism industry realise that we all need to start tackling plastic pollution very quickly before it starts to have a detrimental affect on local economies. Yes the marine eco system and wildlife is the most important thing here, there is no question about that, but if a dying ocean isn’t enough on its own, what about a resource such as the beach and the waves, being unusable?

it may sound extreme but we’re going to go to all the major surf spots in Europe and check them out for rubbish, starting with what is arguably the worst, and most important for the surf industry, the beaches around Hossegor.

One thing to be clear, this isn’t a blame and shame deal, the Bay of Biscay has at its heart a floating gyre of rubbish that has built up over decades, decades of poor rubbish management across Europe, it’s just that the Les Landes coastline of France has it regurgitated onto it after every single storm. Here’s the evidence…

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This is going to be a part of our touring exhibition and films which covers Morocco, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Norway and Iceland. We’ll be releasing the UK tour shortly, but if you’d like to help us and become a friend or supporter you can below.

Dispatches From A Plastic Planet

Welcome to the short that goes with our book.

Waterlevel from The Plastic Project on Vimeo.

It’s just a short introduction to Photographer Tim Nunn, the journey to shooting plastic, and a little insight into what is in the book Dispatches From A Plastic Planet.

If you’d like to become a friend of The Plastic Project you can do so below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extracts From A Plastic Planet – North East England

We’d been driving all day from Cornwall, the Wavelength van full of Eugene’s boards,, and we were heading North toward the longest period swell I had ever seen in the North Sea. We were just turning off the A1 towards Scarborough when we heard all roads north of the seaside town were blocked by snow. We thought we’d take a chance and gamble that the road from Pickering to Whitby would be clear, it wasn’t we started to climb up onto the moors to be greeted by road closed signs. The Only option was to drive to Middlesbrough and attempt the cost road south, everything hinged on this, the next day promised to be utterly incredible….

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Winter Is Coming

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For the last two winters we had an idea of time lapsing some beaches from France to Ireland, Cornwall, Scotland and Iceland to see exactly what comes ashore during the winter storms. It proved a little ambitious, the gear to do it didn’t really exist to start with, and it wasn’t robust enough.

We started off with 3 Canon 20ds in converted Pelican cases with timers. They were sealed, had enough energy for a month, and were setup to take a picture ever five minutes during daylight. We had two in Scotland and one in Cornwall.

The Cornish one failed in three days, the two Scottish ones lasted a little over a week, but turned up little of great use.

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The following winter (last winter), we tried with a single sony A6000 in an Aquatech housing, left for a one week period in France, it worked, but we had to save up for the gear and it was the end of the winter by the time we had it rolling. Now we are on course to have three units up and running over the winter, we have a couple of dedicated individuals to act as guardians in some very remote outposts. We will also be visiting them regularly to see how they are getting on and shoot some stuff around the areas as well.

As far as we know this hasn’t been attempted on this scale, and the hope is we can produce a short film next spring with some unique visual evidence of what is going on out there when it comes to plastic coming ashore.

I’ll be posting a film about how we have set these units up in the next few weeks and we’ll have the first footage from the one here in France. We are also going to be posting the exact weather conditions and surf conditions around the cameras as well, so we can really get an idea of how and why this rubbish is coming ashore.

 

We’re trying to raise a little sponsorship to help, you can donate a pound below, or grab one of the last books.

We’re also looking for any schools who web interested to monitor the progress to get in touch and we will send you weekly updates about the plastic coming ashore, and weather and surf and the environment in general in some of Europe’s wildest outposts.