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Natural Awakenings National

The Earth as Muse: Inspiration Meets Conservation

Mar 31, 2023 09:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
The Earth as a Muse

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The Earth is both our mother and our muse, sustaining our lives and blessing us with beauty when we make time to notice her perpetual creative forces. She has long inspired expressive souls of all disciplines, but some of our modern innovators are merging talent with the urgent need to minimize toxic impact. This eco-vision has resulted in some awe-inspiring efforts. 

In an awareness-based art installation he calls Ice Watch, Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson collected 30 blocks of glacial ice found free-floating near Greenland and placed them in public settings across London where passersby could observe them melting. 

Artists John Dahlsen and Rox De Luca spotlight the plastic waste catastrophe in their sculptures and paintings by using debris washed up on the shores of Australia‚Äôs beaches. Their sculptural assemblages hang from ceilings and criss-cross walls, driving home the prediction by the World Economic Forum that by 2050 our precious oceans will be more crowded with plastic than marine life. 

When creating our own art, we can join these stirring visionaries by minimizing toxic impacts.

Buy Earth-friendly art supplies for the kids. The common crayon contains chemicals like formaldehyde and asbestos, which are harmful to humans and the planet. Opt for biodegradable glitter, non-toxic modeling clays and recycled paper. For more sustainable supply ideas, visit

Get creative with single-use trash items. Paper towel cardboard rolls, plastic shopping bags, bottles, straws and cutlery can be turned into fun projects for kids, teens and adults. Whimsical mobiles, sculptures and magical miniature cities are just a few ideas to conjure while contributing to Earth Day every day. For more ideas, visit

Inspire environmentalism by choosing art implements that celebrate nature. Consider using alternatives to toxic solvents, pigments and varnishes. Look for sustainable brushes made from bamboo or corn and easels fashioned from eucalyptus wood.

Marlaina Donato is a visionary painter who hosts art exhibits for community healing. She is also an author and composer. Connect at

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