Being Green in Art Therapy

The other day I was watching a movie set in the 1800s. I noticed how  the director portrayed the World as being very clean, and I began thinking about that. I contemplated the ecological impact the human race has had on the Earth in the last one hundred years. We have become a disposable society with landfills full of plastic bottles, old computers, and other old unwanted possessions. This trash effects all of our world: the water, the land space, and the air. What will our world be like in the next hundred years? Many of us recycle when we can, but is this enough?

 My mind goes to my profession and my footprint on the Earth there. What can I do as an Art Therapist  to minimize my effects on our planet?  I do believe in reusing objects and materials in the art making my patients create. One project my patients make I took away from the AATA convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2007. There were statues made of  old recycled violent toys in a statement of Art for Peace. It was an ongoing project that participants could add to or create one independently.

About a month later I was cleaning out my sons toy box and there were several pieces of toys that did not belong to anything. Recollecting the statues made of recycled toys I decided to take these several pieces, soak them in disinfectant, put them in a box and let my patients make statues out of them. There were large wings from some old dinosaur, parts of  transformers, pieces of Harry Potter, tops, legs, arms, heads, wheels, etc in this box. And then I watch as these children who have broken bodies take broken toys and create pieces of art out of them. They look through the box, sometimes commenting as they go, “this goes to the Digemon”or “this is part of a wrestlers body.” I watch as they figure out how to reconstruct various pieces in a way just suitable to create a piece of art for their needs. 

How have you incorporated recycling in art making or in your practice of art therapy? Please share it with us…



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