PechaKucha is an emerging speakers DREAM.
There’s a captive and forgiving audience who don’t care if your presentation is lacking in style or strategy….they listen and clap and love and engage and network. VERY neat!
PechaKucha is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds.
I presented at a PechaKucha evening in Cairns and had a ball: Read my 6 min and 40 second presentation to get an idea of how you can structure your 20 x 20 presentation.
From Plastics in the Ocean to Upcycled People
Hi. I ‘m Megan Bayliss from The Junk Wave and tonight I want to talk a little garbage with you. I’m a social worker turned recycled crafter and clean ocean advocate. You may be curious about such a life weave but it’s all about the power of one, being burnt out, broke and just wanting to do craft.
I wasn’t always interested in saving the ocean and environment. Like many people, I took it for granted that somebody else would look after them: scientist people. I just liked the ocean lifestyle. But, the death of albatross and the growth of visible garbage began to freak me out. There was so much of it everywhere.
Five years ago, broke after quitting my social work job, I was standing in my kitchen looking at my overflowing, albeit colourful garbage bin, I thought: If only there was a way I could stop all these beautifully coloured plastics going into landfill and ocean…and a way to make cash from them.
Then an idea hit me: weave, teach, and sell them. Triple bottom line stuff: good for environment, people and cash-flow. I went through my rubbish bin immediately, washed and cut everything and for the next 8 hours I wove this bag. I have spent 1000s of hours on this weave and I travel my weaving workshops near and far.
I now take a very keen interest in plastics in the ocean and do everything I can to interrupt the process, to educate about the toxic nature of plastics and to teach people to weave consumer plastics into beautiful fashion items. Tonight I share with you my far from plastic journey and how it went from recycling plastics to upcycling people.
I was born and grew up in PNG. We were ocean kids and holidays were spent on and in the water. We would take the lakatoi out into the lagoon, stop with paddle up, and look down through crystal clear water to see fish, bech-de-mer and starfish.
I began to see rubbish on the ocean bed. It was so beautiful – so unusual – so ethnic – so hidden. It had strange writing on it and words that I couldn’t understand. After a few years, rubbish began to wash onto the beach – treasure to study and puzzle over. How did it get there?
As a child, I would sit on this beach at Salamoa and watch the National women weave and sing together. I spent many hours weaving with them and helping them build their hut’s internal walls with a strange weave they said came from an American soldier during war time.
Perhaps that American soldier learnt the skill as a diversional activity in prison because research says the weave was popular in American Men’s prisons pre-war. The prisoners wove from scarce prison issued Camel cigarette packets. Surviving woven treasures are sourced today from vintage shops and fetch handsome prices.
Today there is no scarcity of post-consumer plastic to recycle. Combine that with my love of the ocean, craft, people, travel and advocacy and a social enterprise was born, The Junk Wave, and of course the Cairns Festival Queen of Green 2011. Happy festival, my cherubs.
I don’t just weave garbage at The Junk Wave – I talk it too. I’m regularly contracted to educate through craft workshops. So few people seem aware that there is an estimated 18,000 pieces of plastic litter per sq km of ocean. That equates to 86 million pieces of litter in our beloved Coral Sea.
Worldwide, 276 species are threatened by marine debris. Heart breaking. One study showed that boys, born to mothers with high levels of plastics in their system, were born with smaller penises and testicles. What are we doing?
This is overwhelming. How could one person possibly make a difference? What could I do? I don’t have an environmental degree. But, I am crafty and I can weave plastic. Imagine if there were more “me’s?” YOU’s! My aim was born: to empower others to make incremental changes from their kitchens: to enable mass effort of individual recycling through craft.
The more I was invited to travel my plastic weaving workshops around Australia and spoke about plastics in the ocean, the more I noticed an unanticipated phenomenon. The environmental concepts I spoke about were acting to create a sustainable vortex of purpose change in the women I worked with.
I saw positive outcomes on personal development, but more importantly, I saw people’s purpose change. I saw them change from having nothing new to talk about to having something important and something good they were doing to talk about. Consignment orders changed their view of themselves, and, up-purposed their lives.
As I thought about upcycling I realized that by working with vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to recycle plastics to keep plastics out of ocean and landfill, those people were becoming upcycled . They were seen differently, and, they felt different. They acted differently.
In September I return to my birth place, Port Moresby, to volunteer with the kids living on Baruni rubbish dump, with kids from a small village school and with women in prison. Together, we will weave. Together we will change their world.
So, from recycling plastics to keep them out of ocean to upcycling people; from a prison weave to weaving in prison. Who would have thought that, the power of one becomes the power of mass worth, or, that my journey would take me home?
If you also want a sea change – BE THE CHANGE. My final thought tonight is; keep talking garbage. Because, quite clearly, the garbage we talk, cleans up other people’s lives. Come talk a little garbage with us on facebook , The Junk Wave, and create a sea change for the children of the dump.