Why sand?

As a former journalist and someone who has always held an interest in environmental issues, as well living in a coastal area, I feel dumbfounded that I have only recently discovered the importance of sand and the detrimental effect humans are having through their use of it. I feel as though this is an issue that everyone should be aware of – at least to some degree.

Back in module one I knew my work needed to reflect my fascination with time and geology, and the impact humans have had/are having on our natural resources, yet despite working on my local beaches to create some of my work, I simply did not click how the substance beneath my feet could be in such peril.

I would ask that if you do not do much else today you spare one hour and 15 minutes to watch Denis Delestrac’s film, Sand Wars. It is an eye-opener.

But it was Al Jazeera news where I first stumbled across the first sand article – it was definitely a lightbulb moment. And that inspired me to discover subsequent articles, which I mentioned in Week Five.

As I continue to research this topic, the scarier it becomes. But that is no reason to stop. Reading one of the latest Al Jazeera articles (Constable, 2017), the opening paragraph reads:

“On an early evening in February, in the quiet trading centre of Mangala, a mob of young men attacked a police officer named Geoffrey Kasyoki. They crushed his head, shot him with poisoned arrows, slashed him with machetes and pierced his eyes. They murdered him for one reason: sand”.

It is stories such as this that will drive my work. There are alternatives to sand use, and conversations need to begin to address dire situations such as the above.

Although my images will not be documentary in style, I aim for them to engage people who see them and provide an opportunity to inform them about this silent sand crisis.

There is an expression “you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”, yet some people around the world are fully aware of the effects of not having sand. Now is the time to bring this topic to the fore to address ways and means of creating alternatives so that stories such as Geoffrey Kasyoki are never replicated.

Online References:

CONSTABLE, Harriet. 2017‘Kenya’s Sand Wars’ aljazeera.com. Available at: https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2017/kenya-sand-wars/index.html [accessed August 11, 2017]

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