Thinking about the environment includes noticing the detail of our surroundings and caring for what is in need of our attention, looking out for signs of stress, over-exposure, pollution.


Artist Fran Crowe has made installations and artworks which highlight the acute problem of plastic waste. According to United Nations figures, there are 46,000 pieces of litter per square mile of sea. Fran has walked her local coast regularly and made an extensive collection of sea-waste which she reforms into artistic projects to raise awareness of pollution problems, dangers to wildlife and the need for marine conservation.



The environment covers everything from the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the spaces we live in, the surroundings which frame our lives, localities, lands and seas.

We take a very broad view about how we define the environment as that leaves most opportunity for getting involved, both artistically and in terms of activism and political engagement.

One of the most captivating definitions of the environment was written in 1971 for the Environmental Handbook:

Listen friend’, he answered, ‘You are the environment, or part of it, and you are certainly a product of it, just as I am.‘  ‘The environment is the room, the flat, the house where you live: the factory, the office, the shop where you work; your road, your parish, your village, town or city: Britain, Europe, the world – even the space the world sails through. It’s the street where your children play, the park they take the dog in, the flowers, the trees, the animals and birds, the fields, the crops, the streams, the waterfalls. It’s the fish, the cliffs, the seashore, the sea itself, the hills and the mountains, the pubs, the bingo halls, the lanes, the motorways, the highways and byways, the farms, the rows of shops and houses, the dustbins, the historical buildings, the trains and buses and cars. It’s the music and dancing and peaches and cream. It’s the insects, an empty tin can, aeroplanes, pictures, pollen and the leaves that fall from the trees. It’s the smoke from a fire, a wormcast on the lawn, a cigarette end in the gutter, books, papers, greenfly on the roses, the paint on your front door, unbreakable plastic, the rain on the roof, an empty beer bottle, the heather and the bracken and the butterflies. It\s the air you breathe, the blue sky, peace and quiet, the clouds and the sun.’

Barclay Inglis, 1971, The Environmental Handbook (ed John Barr), p. 217.

The river Purfleet used to silt up badly and in the 19th Century was notorious as a 'stinking drain'. Now, reeds are allowed to grow in profusion to provide a good habitat for ducks and moorhens who live there.