Cleaning the Beach: Summer Edition

This activity counts for Activity and Service.

Learning Outcome: Consider the ethical implications of my actions.

Goal: Attempt to clean every beach I visit this summer.


Come this summer, I will no doubt be going to the beach quite a bit. During my time there, I will aim to pick up all the trash I am able to see. In this way, I will be taking care of the environment.

The only set back I can imagine regarding this activity is that I will not be able to pick up larger pieces of trash. Unlike my pervious experiences beach cleaning, I will not be in a large group, but most likely with my family. Not only that, but I will also need to be keeping an eye on my younger cousins, previnting me from dedicating my time fully to cleaning.

Still, I am excited to start this activity, as it will help the environment at least a little bit.

During #1

Lately, I have been going to the Deba beach quite a lot. I am pleased to say that it is quite clean! However, I did find some plastic bags here and there, which I managed to take care of. I am glad the beach was clean, but it’s a shame that I could not help much! I hope to be more useful to the environment throughout the summer although, at the same time, I also wish the beaches were clean enough so I would not have to be useful to them.


During #2

Yesterday I visited Arrigunaga beach. There, I found a plastic container which I disposed of. I could not really look around the beach all that much because I was there with my younger cousins and I needed to take care of them, but I hope that even this small action has saved some sea creature from trouble.


During #3

This past week, I have been going to a relatively isolated beach near the village of L’Ampollá, in Catalonia. There, I have been able to find many pieces of plastic and other trash floating in the water. Although small, these toxic materials could have harmed the sea animals that living in waters nearby. (In fact, this region of Catalonia is commonly visited by scuba divers!)  One day, I was even able to find a large piece of cardboard lying around, although that particular piece of trash had probably been blown into the beach from a bar nearby.

Although the trash I picked up there might not seem significant, I like to think that every bit counts. It is also scary how even remote beaches have been polluted by the human race.


cardboard and crap

During #4

Today I have visited Arrigunaga beach and found an incredible amount of trash! This time, I think the pictures will speak for themselves:


That is the total amount of trash I was able to find (with some help from my aunt, who came with me). In order to recover some of this trash, I had to walk a little ways into the sea, which was unpleasant because of the cold, yet worth it in the end, as I recovered some large pieces of plastic as shown:


It is horrible to see how humans are ruining the planet’s oceans, and it is sad to think about all the wildlife that we are losing because of it. Hopefully, the trash I picked up today helped out, even if in a small way.


This activity has helped me realise just how much humans are endangering the health and beauty of our planet. It was especially shocking because I had been to some of these beaches before, but I had never really noticed much that was wrong with them. This summer, I discovered that, if you search for it, you will most likely find human pollution at any beach you visit, no matter where it is located or how many people visit it.

If I could repeat this activity all over again, I would definitely try to visit more beaches. However, this was difficult to do this time around, as I had a very busy summer full of traveling and family. Therefore, I did not have much free time to go to the beach and productively look for trash.

However, this experience was eye-opening, and I think I will keep up picking up trash at the beach whenever I see it even after my IB times are over.



Art Journal

Learning Outcome: Increase my awareness of my own strengths and areas for growth.

Goal: To be creative and try out new things with my art.


This summer, I wanted to really hone my drawing skills. However, I also wanted to do it in a way that allowed me to be creative and draw whatever I wanted at all times. I also wanted to explore what are my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to art. This is what led me to the idea of starting an Art Journal! In this journal, I will aim to make a new drawing every opportunity I get. I am hesitant to give myself a schedule to follow, as my summer promises to be busy and I want this activity to be fun and relaxing for me.

The only setback I can anticipate for this activity is me feeling uninspired or simply not having time to do much of anything while traveling. Still, I will try to draw in a more or less consistent manner throughout the summer.

Right now, I am eager and motivated to start this new activity!

During #1

I have decided to tackle this activity by updating my blog each month with highlights of what I have drawn in that time. So, here are my June drawings!



This month, I have been trying out new poses for my character drawings. I tried to move away from stationary, more day-to-day poses, instead concentrating on bodies taken from pictures of work-out sessions and gymnastics. The drawings could still look more fluid and realistic, but they are definitely drawn in a personal style that I am quite proud of. Still, I definitely need to work on my anatomy!


I have also drawn the silhouette of a woman filled with flowers in a style that is not my own at all. This is based on a passage from a novel I have read recently, “The Vegetarian” by Han Kang, in which a woman gets flowers painted on her back. With this drawing, I was trying to step away from my own cartoony style into something a bit more abstract. I also wanted to try out drawing flowers. Although it could be a more detailed drawing, I do like how it looks, and I’m considering turning it into a fully fledged painting soon.

All in all, although I have not been able to draw a lot these days, I have been able to produce some pretty good drawings nevertheless. I have also managed to step out of my comfort zone a bit, something I’d like to work on more come July.

During #2

This July, I have another two works that I am rather proud of.

flowers 2

First of all, I did turn my drawing of the woman with the flowers into a painting! This was a truly new experience for me. The acrylics I used were a little tricky to get the hang of (hence the sloppiness of the black lines), but I am nevertheless proud of what I have accomplished: it looks pretty good for a first time! I’d like to work more with acrylics in the future to hone my abilities even more.


In addition to this, I have also drawn a picture of two hands reaching out for one another. I am especially proud of this drawing, as I completed it using no references, yet it turned out relatively anatomically accurate given the circumstances (especially the hand at the bottom). This was another departure from my cartoony style into something more realistic, which is something I have been meaning to try for a long time. Although the top hand still needs some work, I am happy with this drawing.

All in all, I am very happy with what I accomplished this July, as I feel that I have truly stepped out of my comfort zone. Still, my works are not perfect, and I must draw more if I am to fix their imperfections.

During #3

Because of my busy travelling schedule this month, I was not able to draw too much. However, I do have a couple of drawings I do like.

silver girls

The first is this image, which I titled “Silver Girls”. This title, as well as the whole picture, was inspired by the song “Conversation 16” by The National. I was aiming to draw different types of poses and girls wearing different dresses and hairstyles in a simplistic way. The fact that The National describe the girls in the song as “silver” and giving them “black dreams” led me to draw them without faces as to add to this cold and mysterious illustration provided by the band. Although it is also a departure from my typical style (the figures being thinner than usual), it turned out very nicely. If anything, I should try to work on the way I make my characters interact with each other, as it looks awkward at times.

Finally, I also drew these two images of girls I saw while staying at a summer resort. They caught my attention due to their mildly unconventional looks. While this is a return to my more typical, cartoon-ish style of drawing, I do not usually draw real life people, so it was a relatively new experience for me. Sadly, I do not have pictures of them in real life, so I cannot post a comparison of them against my drawings. Still, you can take my word for it when I say that they look rather similar. I am happy to see that I am slowly getting better at drawing real people in my own, personal style; it’s something I have wanted to do for a very long time!


Now that the summer is over, it’s time for me to reflect on my work!

In general, I am happy with my Art Journal drawings. I have tried many new things (including semi-realistic drawings, new character poses, and even painting!), which I may not have dabbled with if I had not started this CAS activity. I still need to work on all of these new skills if I really want to make something out of them, but I am happy to have at least started with it. I am also pleased that my own art style is evolving, and that now I can draw real people in my own way.

Still, I am a little disappointed that I have not drawn more. It was very difficult to keep up with all my CAS activities this summer because I was constantly moving from place to place and, when I was not doing that, I was filling out university applications or doing schoolwork. Hence, this could not be helped.

If I could perform this activity all over again, I would try to make more time for drawing whenever possible. I would have also liked to work more with natural themes and landscapes. However, I was not able to, as that would have taken me a very long time.

All in all, I am happy with this CAS activity, although I wish I could have dedicated a little more time to it.