The Living Arts Institute (LAI). founded in 2005, dedicates its work to community and environmental betterment. Through innovative arts programming, family centered edu-tainment, and events, LAI uncovers and spotlights important issues to build awareness leading to positive action.
The World Oyster Initiative (WOI) is The Living Arts Institute's current three-year program, launched in 2012. Its purpose is to create oyster literacy for the benefit of humankind by highlighting the oysters’ critical role in water quality, marine habitat, and coastal protection. In response to the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, Paul Greenberg, of the New York Times wrote of the once prolific oyster beds in New York Harbor and the Hudson River:
“Just as corals protect tropical islands, oyster beds created undulation and contour on the harbor bottom that broke up wave action before it pounded the shore with its full force. Beds closer to shore clarified the water through their assiduous filtration; this allowed marsh grasses to grow, which in turn held the shores together with their extensive root system.”
Fulfilling the WOI mission and in response to Sandy, the campaign, Oysters 2 The Rescue was conceived to give a public face and voice to the plight of oysters and oyster reef restoration worldwide. 85% of oyster reefs are gone making them the most endangered habitat worldwide. Oysters in the wild are classified as functionally extinct.
The multi-media Oysters 2 The Rescue campaign is based on the leading character of the original stage comedy about an oyster called Cirque de Sea: A Comedy About an Oyster Who Saves the World. As with LAI’s previous initiatives, like its Two Old Women project on aging and ageism, the play and teaching tale themes going forward will be the springboard for programs and events over the next several years. The culminating feature will be a large-scale event to bring together stakeholders within the oyster community from across the world.
The Living Arts Institute is dedicated to moving the world to a better place. If we help oysters, we will do just that. In helping oysters, we will be supporting the marine ecosystem, our coastlines from storm devastation, and the purity of coastal waters. We will be helping the planet and ourselves. And if we save oysters in the wild, who knows, they just might save the world! Oysters are like the bees of the seas!