One Step at at Time – Cleaning up the Coast

This shoe mosaic is one of the results of my environmental project, One Step at a Time, that started in 2012.  It has hung outdoors since 2014, under the midnight sun and the northern lights.  Its weathered many storms, and now, 5 years later, it is in need of restoration.

One Step at a Time Environmental Art Project, 1,200 shoes boots and flip-flops removed from the local beaches

As we just took down the artwork for restoration, I have been reminiscing about the start of the entire project.  It has been quite a journey!

Here is where it all started.  Reposted from 2012:

I’m blessed to live in a very beautiful part of the world – in the town of Honningsvåg on the island of Magerøya in the North Cape of Norway.  One of my favorite things to do is go hiking.  Whether I’m with my family, friends or by myself, a hike always lifts my spirits.

Just as the inspiring nature enriches my life, there’s a harsh reality that meets my eyes every time I’m on a hike – Ocean pollution.  The first time my little girl saw the trash- filled shoreline, she said, “It’s sad here, Mommy.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

trash, ocean pollution, norway

At the beginning of 2012 I posed the question:  Ocean pollution: What’s Your Solution?

ocean pollution, debris on shore, nordkapp, norway

My solution to this gigantic problem is to do what I can to positively impact the environment around me.  I know it won’t eliminate the horrendous amounts of floating plastics swirling in the ocean’s currents but it’s a step in the right direction.

So what’s my solution?  I decided to start a project called “One Step at a Time/Ett Skritt om Gangen” with the goal of helping clean up the coastline of the island I call home.  Last year I began finding and photographing shoes when I was out hiking.  I thought the first one was rare and unique:

shoes, ocean pollution, ett skritt om gangen

But then I kept finding more and more shoes and boots:

shoes, norway, ocean pollution

And the concept of Ett Skritt om Gangen/One Step at a Time was born.  I decided that every time I found a shoe I’d take a photo of it, put in my backpack and give it a “new” life – an art installation in the Summer of 2013.  The goal of the art exhibit:  To raise awareness about ocean pollution, as well as funds to help clean up one remote coastline at a time.

You may be wondering if there really are so many shoes decorating Magerøya’s rocky coasts.  And I can tell you that after only four hiking trips I’ve collected over 140 shoes.

shoes, ocean pollution, nordkapp, norway

I have a goal of collecting 1,000 shoes and can’t wait to start creating this installation.  There’s no way I can do this on my own, but hopefully with the help of a lot of local residents that also love this island and enjoy hiking, we’ll be able to reach the goal before winter arrives.

3 thoughts on “One Step at at Time – Cleaning up the Coast

    1. Thanks Peter. Yes, many joined me. As of today, there are many committed people and companies that prioritize cleaning up the coastline! I haven’t collected shoes here, but I do have a couple of environmental art projects in mind. We shall see!

  1. What a great project. How do people lose their shoes? This has always mystified me. I get that babies have a tendency to pull their shoes off and give em a good toss, but adults?

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