Elena, our very own local activist, visual artist, and volunteer with Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign…

In Surfrider’s most recent attempts to help push California on becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban plastic bags, we ventured out to the communities of San Diego- getting signatures and speaking with California residents about AB 1998. Although the Senate ultimately failed to pass this law on vote Aug 31(14-21), our efforts were not in vain. They were just the start of a continuing battle from Rise Above Plastics.

Elena volunteered much of her free time raising awareness and getting companies and citizens alike to show congressmen that Californians wanted the ban passed. She got well over 300 postcards signed and around 20 businesses to write letters for Senator Ducheny’s district here in San Diego. Elena was a great part of the success Surfrider had in showing our government that we the people have a strong will to move our economy one step further into the sustainable future! Thanks Elena!

Aside from volunteering with Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics efforts, Elena is currently in her last year as an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). There she is majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Theatre and Film Studies. She explained how plastics caught her eye and became the focus of her artistic passions in order to represent the need for a life without these synthetic materials.

While attending the UCSD, Elena began to learn more about the plastic debris accumulating in the North Pacific Gyre, also known as the North Pacific Garbage Patch. This is where her quest began in creating visual awareness about plastic pollution and more specifically about plastic bag pollution as a contributor to a larger environmental issue; The Garbage Patch. Elena continues to spread the word about the ever growing plastic that accumulates in the Pacific Ocean as well as creates art pieces out of her own households plastic intake. 

Here are a few of her most recent projects:
The Global Tumbleweed 
A 20 minute documentary focusing on plastic bag pollution in the city of San Diego, as well as creating awareness about AB 1998, the California plastic bag ban.
Click Here to Watch

The Plastic Bag Dress
A dress created from 400 plastic bags, about the amount one person uses per year, (400-700 to be exact). The dress was worn by Elena to create visual awareness about plastic bag pollution in her city.

A Trip to the Grocery Store
Created with recycled plastic from a trip to the grocery store. Plastics included packaging from food items bought at the grocery store anywhere from cheese wrappers, bread bags, vegetable packaging, chip bags etc. Each recycled plastic was cut up, divided by color, and tied into a bow. The plastic bows were then installed onto a wall in a gallery. This is an ongoing project as Elena continues to collect all of her households plastic intake and transforming them into small creations.