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A Park for Pia

Pia lives in a park near my granddaughter. She’s a huge troll built by Thomas Dambo; a Danish recycle artist. He and his small crew used scrap wood they found at the park to create this 18-foot troll.

Dambo’s artistic mission is to prove that we don’t need shiny new things or plastic toys to impress children. And if enough kids and adults agree that new isn’t better, then it will keep us from throwing out so much stuff in our landfills. He and his team have built a hundred trolls around the world and several of them are in the Seattle area. He wants us to rethink how we are using our planet.

But for children, something special happens around Pia. They were using their imagination in ways I hadn’t seen in awhile. Two boys pretended they were in troll land and Pia was their protector. A couple others started building a nearby hideout beneath the trees.

Kids were interacting with one another. It was a make-believe scene—with a troll in the center.

But Pia is rustic and rough. You can still read the ink marks from the recycled pallets that were used. She hasn’t been sanded smooth. Yet, I didn’t see anyone shy away from climbing Pia’s large wooden legs.

As I watched the kids play, I thought about all the toys that were bought for me as a child. Then all the plastic toys I bought my kids, grandkids, family, and friends. Where is all that plastic now? The landfill? Sigh, I’ll take my blame. A recycled troll is reminding me to stop this crazy pursuit of new.

I could see the children didn’t need a plastic playground to be pleased. Perhaps, recycling and recreating from what we already have is a way to spark the imagination these kids need. It also keeps the planet healthier which is something none of us can afford to lose.


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