In a mix of artistry, geometry, and technology, San Francisco-based Earthscape artist Andres Amador creates massive sketches in the beach sand – sometimes geometric, and sometimes more abstract and serendipitous – using rakes and ropes. The designs are temporary; where the waves don’t wash away his work, walking beach visitors and the wind will naturally muddy and dissolve the precise lines.
Amador has become keenly aware of how impermanent his work is, and has embraced nature’s tidal rhythm, starting one hour before low tide and continuing to work until an hour afterward. In this KQED Arts video, he explains:
People are really… they’re enthralled that i would do something that is destined to wash away. That really strikes a chord with people because really, truly, it’s the story of our lives. Our lives are impermanent, and the tide is unstoppable.
And though this art form is tied directly to nature, Amador makes great use of modern technology. The designs can be both checked and appreciated-in-full from high above the beach using a remote controlled helicopter.
Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.
What is a gyre? And how does this natural phenomenon demonstrate the impact of our plastic trash? Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres Institute explain how we can understand the international issue while acting locally:
"It is impractical to try and scoop out trash out of the ocean. What we can do is wait for it to wash ashore. So to clean a gyre, clean your beach, clean your watershed, clean your street. As close as you can get to the source, is a better way we can solve the problem of plastics in the ocean"
"As people have seen this image, I have been getting a lot of messages in my inbox and phone calls asking me “is this photo real?” And “how did you congregate all these fish in one place to take the photo?”
"My response to these questions has been this — of course it is real. Fish, as is the case with many other animals, have certain behaviors that they perform when they reproduce. For example, when monarch butterflies mate they travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers, crossing from Canada down through Mexico to form unbelievable congregations. Sea turtles also have unique reproduction behavior —some travel the entire Pacific just to return to the beaches where they originally hatched. Birds fly hundreds of kilometers to certain areas to nest as well. These behaviors are well known within terrestrial animals and within the scientific community we have also known of these behaviors with fish and other marine creatures for many years. In Cabo Pulmo for example, blacktip reef sharks and mobula rays also congregate in large numbers to mate during the winter season.
"Even after I explain this unique behavior and the spectacular spawning aggregations of fish that occur naturally, some people don’t believe this image is real.
"In some ways I think this photo, and others like it, force people to think about the environment and more specifically in this case the ocean, dwindling fish populations the health of marine ecosystems worldwide and our role in it all."