Children get arty with anti-pollution murals

* Pictured, from left, Emily de Jongh, Hiram Curteis, Michaela King, teacher Audrey Spijker, Zintle Malherbe, Richard Jay, Claire Homestead and her daughter Aurora in Marina Da Gama.

A group of Grade 7 children and a renowned mural artist are making a bold conservation statement.

Seven home-schooled boys and girls from New Muizenberg School, led by their teacher Audrey Spijker, are working on a sequence of educational anti-pollution murals at Zandvlei Estuary Nature Reserve.

Claire Homewood, a Muizenberg resident and one half of the One Love Studio which Claire and her husband Sergio work under, has applied for the permits. The children, who live in Muizenberg, Marina da Gama and Lakeside, and Audrey met with Claire in Marina da Gama on Friday May 18, to discuss the project, finalise the wording
and choose the animals and fish that will be painted.

The children are Hiram Curteis, Richard Jay, Michaela King, Daniella Ylang Kumm, Zintle Malherbe, Emily de Jongh and Ethan Collins.

The exercise is a joint creative initiative which offers the community they live in beautified amenities, includes useful conservation information and is a heartfelt plea to protect the world that these children are going to inherit.

The children, who all belong to one class and who refer to that class as Audrey’s Clubhouse, are realistic about the state of pollution they are facing. They met Claire and her daughter Aurora at the canal where Marina resident Mike Ryder has put up a third net to catch the trash and debris which washes down the canals.

The children were pleased to meet two local environmental warriors who live in their community. Mike was there to show them the nets and explain why they were necessary, he also had a frank discussion with them about the chemical breakdown of plastics and what the long term dangers of that are for humans, waterways, animals and fish.

Kevin Rack brought examples of the kind of rubbish that is not biodegradable, and produced handfuls of soil riddled with tiny bits of plastic, to show the children one of the end stages of this chemical process – before it becomes invisible to the eye – and becomes what he calls “goop” or plastic soup.

Claire and Audrey then engaged the children in discussion about individual responsibility, and how consumers can influence supply through making different demands. They questioned whether design and production industries could be lobbied to use biomimicry as their basis so that products created are now inclusive of the principles of nature; not to stop growth and industry, but to stop pollution and destruction of finite natural resources.

The children sat on the grassy banks of the canals and discussed what the rubbish nets represented to them: the three steps they could each take to reduce waste, then reuse and recycle the goods they do buy.

They were conscious of the necessity to share facts that could change people’s buying habits
or way of life to become more mindful of the
effect of their choices, and the need to balance the message with a reminder of the beauty of the world, to inspire people to preserve it, rather than put up doom and gloom messages.

They will meet once more for finer details and then will take their message to the greater
community, paint brushes and hope in hand.