| Art, Community

My name is Florian Schalinski and I’m a media designer and illustrator. Since 2015 I’ve been living on the island of Borkum in the German North Sea and have been witnessing what is happening to our oceans every day.

It all started with walks on the beach, collecting shells and driftwood – but there was so much more stuff lying around, that was not so nice… All the waste and plastics. So I started to clean the beach every day when I was walking my dog. After a while I collected so much trash that I started to share my Beach Clean Ups on Facebook. Shorty afterwards someone gave me a bike trailer to transport all the trash and up to today more than 100 people from the island come together regulary to do Beach Clean Ups.

There are so many organisations and agencies working in ocean conservation that it’s really difficult to keep an overview on who is doing what. Some NGOs are using super spectacular and exciting campaigns to get more donations, but if you live so close to the oceans as I do you recognize what kind of relationship a person has with the ocean. It doesn’t matter if it’s an islander or a tourist, so many adults have no idea what is going on in our oceans. It often strikes me how much children understand and know, but with grown-ups it’s often very different. I believe awareness and education are the key to a better future!

For me something got into motion and as I just learned a while ago: you can’t stop a movement. That’s very true, at least for me! I could not enjoy the underwater life taking pictures of crabs when snorkeling in the morning, while cleaning the floors of the restaurants from dead crabs in the evening… I just felt wrong.

My childhood was shaped by being outdoors all the time and by my partents, who started recycling in the early 80s – my connection to nature was always there. There is this inner strength, your heart and soul that are telling you: this is your way. You just have to find the courage to listen and to follow this feeling. It is worth fighting for the things you truly believe in.

Three years ago my life changed completely. To use my love and talent for art and illustrations for a marine conservation organisation like FishAct and thereby contributing to awareness and education is part of my way of life.

A beam trawler illustrated by Florian Schalinski, 2018

“We are very grateful if artists, like Florian are using their passion and talent for a good cause. The amazing illustrations of fishing vessels, that he did for us will be used on our website, for talks and info graphics supporting our work to raise awareness on destructive fishing and overfishing. A strong movement for the oceans is not only consisting of marine biologists and activists – it’s parents, artists, scientists, athletes, musicians, adventurers, policy makers, story tellers and students. It’s every single one of us together for a better future.”, Valeska Diemel, director of FishAct.

See all of Florians fishing vessel illustrations here.

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