I just answered the door to a team of five middle school students wearing road safety vests. My "blink" intuition (yes, as in the Malcolm Gladwell BLINK sense) wasn't kicking in. My brain could not equate the facts - students in safety gear, the lack of chocolate bar boxes and school not yet out (it's only 1 pm) - and my experience, i.e. they want money.
To my pleasant surprise, what these young people were selling, was awareness.
These young Mississauga Peel School Board Students working as "Trout Unlimited Canada" volunteers, were spreading the word "only rain in storm drains" . They were giving a friendly reminder , and an important one , too, that storm drains connect directly to our local streams, rivers and lakes. As well, as part of the Yellow Fish Road campaign, they had just painted a yellow fish by drain on the road by my house.
You may be enlightened to learn , as I recently had, that in most cities, storm drains do not connect to the sewage treatment plant & that oil, salt, soap & fertilizer goes directly and untreated into your local waterbody!
What does this have to do with art?
Well, aside from the friendly, humourous and hopefully effective, creativity of the campaign, it is also another reminder to artists to responsibly dispose of our environmentally unfriendly materials.
And any campaign that has young people that might not normally paint, and have them think it is fun to paint, even it it just a yellow fish by the side of the road, is golden in my book.
For more information:
Region of Peel: For Safe Disposal (unwanted chemicals, paints, oils) 905 791 9499
Report Spills & Dumping:
Into watercourses - Ontario Ministry of Environment Spills Action Centre 1 800 268 6060
Into storm drains - City of Mississauga 905 615 3000