1 Small Person, 1 Small Act, Done by 1000s of People

The way we source, use, manage, share and dispose matters. More and more we learn that the products we use and the way we use them matter – in the kitchen, the bathroom, the shed, the garden, and at work or in the classroom. And of course this is overwhelming, it’s literally everything we eat, apply, work with, benefit from, are healed by, rely on, share and enjoy right? Apart from laughter, love and community that is. So, when we are thinking about what products and processes we are preferencing in working with students and young people in educational settings and programs and how we might need to do better, we can start to feel very small ourselves – what difference can I make, I am just one teacher, one classroom, one school, it’s only one change, one habit, one product. What difference would I/it make? It’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. And anxiety can quickly settle.

After a decade of environmentalism via litter-picking, finding a community of the like-minded (more on that in the next blog), conceptualising the complex web that is “litter” and then learning to communicate this through art, I can assure one thing – part of the antidote to that helplessness and hopelessness is … to lean in. To learn, connect, try, breathe, reflect, keep trying, forgive, notice, celebrate, grow, keep breathing, keep trying. The best antidote to anxiety about our ecological challenges is – this action! [1] Leaning in to changing the way we operate within or outside of the classroom is about being curious to trial new ways and then building habits to lock them in when we find what seems to work (until of course it evolves more!). And what does curiosity grow from? It grow from seeing there’s a step ahead. How does habit-building then follow? Through one small step. Then the next and so on.

Mona Litta Art is about offering a step ahead and then growing curiosity. In your space. And then connecting these young artists and their communities to the broader place they inhabit – taking the same curiosity to home, neighbourhood, eco-system and beyond. It’s about building lifetime habits of wonder and exploration and it all rippling out from there. It’s about our young ones entering more places as they grow to participate in their world with the mindset equipped to carry Sustainability through all they do, no matter the industry or leisure, no matter the home nor community. And this being normalised so that all have this lens -because in community there is hope. Building the community is an antidote. Ripples have no end, there is always an energy. You are not small.

1. Pihkala, Panu. Anxiety and the Ecological Crisis: An Analysis of Eco-Anxiety and Climate Anxiety (2020). Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, HELSUS & Faculty of Theology,
University of Helsinki. Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197836https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/19/7836

An "I wonder..."

...led to this marine science artwork

An Invitation to Act

Draft an explainer to a colleague showing the steps you undertake (or a process that you do) in your Visual Arts program. It could be setting up a painting station, demonstrating how to make a collagraph or preparing artwork for display. Anything with some simple, distinct steps involved. You won’t be sharing this with your colleague (although you can) but rather you’ll have a moment stepping back from auto-pilot. You may well feel conscious of a process you’ve long completed without thought. And if you sit on that curiosity for a bit on your own or with others, new habits can grow. You mind find yourself noticing and doing a lot more piloting. How purposeful! How hopeful!