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Xavier Cortada's Eco-Art Project

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We are here at the Miami Science Museum in Miami and behind me is an installation of 1,100 mangroves in clear water filled cups. And this is an eco-art project that I develop and installed here at the museum to raise awareness about the need for reforestation. It's here in Miami because Miami is close to areas that used to be alive with mangroves. All the coastlines had mangroves and mangroves friends. They are where birds and marine life live. With development over the last century, those coastlines with gradual edges and lots of mangroves and marine life were transformed into vertical sea walls, concrete sea walls where you can park your boats or build big buildings. What we have done is de-forestate our coastal plants. We have gotten rid of magroves. So, I created this eco-art project to engage people in reforesting. Clearly, you don't need and art campaign to engage people in reforesting. You just need people to plant trees. But what this art project does is: bring awareness. It puts mangroves in this artificial life support system and then grows them at the location where they would have been, have they been on a tree, ready to fall on the water and reforest a coastal area or bay. Between development and nature, I think it would be a beautiful installation for a school or museum or a community group to use in Haiti as a way to coalicing people around the need and finding other energy resources, instead leaving the coastline for the planting of mangroves that will provide food for their table, shade for their communities, and a beautiful, more healthy, bio-diverse ecosystem in Haiti. And that the whole goal of the reclamation project. As an art piece, this reclamation project can invite Haitians to coalice around an idea to create an installation, in a common area, to nurture these as vertical gardens; to educate people while they become seedlings ready for planting; and then, to engage an entire village in the planting of mangroves at coastal areas and care for them through time. And if we can do this, village by village, town by town, city by city, all along that Haitian coastline, then, I think we can still have a little bit of Hope for Haiti and in the people's ability to transform their nation. And this project is connected to the beauty, the absolute natural beauty of Haiti. As a former University of Miami Alumnus, I am actually touched that the University of Miami and its students care enough about their Caribbean neighbors to dedicate their time and to dedicate a website, to dedicate the students volunteer efforts and try to amplify the voices of those who are trying to make a difference. I know at the time of the earthquake, people were mobilized and engaged, glued to their TV sets. They were really concerned about what's happening to the people of Haiti. Those stories are not prevalent any more. My hope is that, through the work that the University of Miami is doing, some of that interest doesn't evaporate. My hope is that people will find vehicles through which they can stay engaged. I think that's really important. Miami shares a special, special history with the people of Haiti because: really we are neighbors. We share the same geographical area on this planet. And it's important, I think, for the University of Miami to go beyond its national borders into the international community in the Caribbean base and try to affect global change and make a difference. And using communication as its vehicle to engage people, I think, it's laudable and I thank you for doing it.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 16 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Jessica Cortada
Views: 102
Posted by: koze on May 1, 2010

A new installation at the Miami Science Museum is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of reforesting mangroves in order to preserve the land for the people and provide a habitat for many of the native species in Haiti.

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