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robertogreco : garbage   7

Opinion | The Lessons of a Hideous Forest - The New York Times
"My God, I breathed. It was suddenly, momentarily beautiful. From a coyote’s-eye view, you could see what the trees were up to: Growth, failure, decay and the drip of acid water through the gravel were mixing a dirt out of the detritus. This hideous forest, I suddenly realized, was there to repair the damage done, and not at our bidding. Its intent was not to look good. Its intent was to stay alive, year by year, century by century, until at last it had recycled even the nylon stocking.

We know how long it takes most kinds of leavings to decay. Organic material goes quickly: cardboard in three months, wood in up to three years, a pair of wool socks in up to five. A plastic shopping bag may take 20 years; a plastic cup, 50. Major industrial materials will be there for much longer: An aluminum can is with us for 200 years, a glass bottle for 500, a plastic bottle for 700, and a Styrofoam container for a millennium.

A fallen willow tree sprouting new growth.

The forest does not know this. It does not think. It just acts. Because it is so good at sprouting, resprouting, reiterating, and repeating the entire process, it can keep up the living and dying for as long as it takes, even if that is a thousand years. The trees are not conscious. They are something better. They are present.

My colleague Laura met the genie of Fresh Kills one sodden afternoon among the garbage. It was not the only plastic doll’s head we had seen there, but this one was different. The cropped gray fusilli of its hair had become the matrix for a crew cut of living, growing moss. A sort of real-life Chia Pet. Well beyond the imagination of its makers — and almost in spite of them — the doll was coming to life. No human strategy of command and control had made it so, but rather the insistence of the wild.

We think of woodlands as places of beauty and repose. We are accustomed to judge a picturesque woodland as a good one and an ugly wood as bad. When Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980, there were endless plans to make it better. Instead, the rangers and scientists mainly stood back and watched. A new forest is slowly emerging. We need to change our thinking: Ask not just what these landscapes look like, but also what they are doing. Fresh Kills Landfill taught me that they may be places of struggle and healing as well, particularly when they come to restore what people have deranged."
forests  trees  nature  statenisland  nyc  anthropocene  resilience  plants  via:aworkinglibrary  2019  multispecies  morethanhuman  garbage  healing  williambryantlogan  damonwinter  mountsainthelens  restoration  growth  failure  decay  life  time  woodlands 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
Myth of the Garbage Patch – The New Inquiry
"The massive plastic trash gyre isn’t an island, it’s the disaster of capital circling the globe on ocean currents"



"Missing from that myth is a key series of related facts. That the debris breaks down into microscopic pieces. That the garbage actually constitutes more of a “plastic soup” than any kind of patch or island, and that its pollutants are, as a result, widely dispersed. That what breaks down doesn’t remain solely in the Garbage Patch; that anywhere ocean currents converge is this toxic soup. That this soup is suffused with Bisphenol A, pthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls, persistent organic pollutants, and other remainders from discarded commodities that contribute directly to the ocean acidification killing fragile ecosystems from the coral-based Great Barrier Reef off of Australia to Inuit territories in the Arctic. Far from a solid, particulate island, the Garbage Patch is, along with the rest of the ocean’s water, in constant motion. And it doesn’t necessarily stay at surface. In 2010 a team of ecologists, studying ocean garbage patches, observed that the plastic in them accounted for only a small portion of the plastic that has been produced since World War II. “[W]e don’t know what this plastic is doing,” said marine biologist Andres Cozar Cabañas, who worked on the team, adding only that it “is somewhere — in the ocean life, in the depths.”"



"Green capitalism is still capitalism, fundamentally unsustainable and exploitative, and while the world’s most privileged consumers insulate themselves, its devastating ecological effects hit poor communities living in the world’s severest locations especially hard. While Americans and Europeans with money can fill their diets with certified “ethical” fish, this isn’t really an option for native people in the circumpolar North—including the Inuit of Greenland and Canada, the Aleuts, Yup’ik, and Inupiat of Alaska, the Chukchi and other tribes of Siberia, or the Saami of Scandinavia and western Russia—whose cultures as well as diets depend on the ocean. Living, working, and fishing at the edge of glacial sheets, these people can’t really choose not to eat fish with plastic embedded in their scales, or the exorbitant concentrations of pollutants in the larger marine mammals high up in the food web—the ringed seals, walruses, narwhals, and beluga whales—that are both dietary staples and sources of clothing and building materials. Because of the cold and low Northern sunlight, pollutants break down especially slowly – over the course of decades or even centuries, according to Marla Cone, author of Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic. Cone has also noted that even in the 80s Arctic mothers had seven times more PCBs in their milk than their counterparts in Canadian cities.

“At the periphery of the global capitalist system,” writes Chris Chen in “The Limit Point of Capitalist Inequality,” “capital now renews ‘race’ by creating vast superfluous…populations from the…descendants of the enslaved and colonised.” It’s no accident that plastic pollutants pool in the communities that capitalism has historically treated—and continues to treat—as refuse. Somewhere in that convergence—in the attitude that everything that gets thrown away stays far away—lies the second myth of the Garbage Patch.

“It’s been the end of the world for somebody all along,” says writer, spoken-word artist, and indigenous academic Leanne Simpson. Recent studies show that marine pollution and ocean acidification, once thought a separate if parallel disaster to climate change, are in fact contributing to global climate disruption, suggesting that, ecologically speaking, there is no such thing as somebody else’s end of the world. Although the idea of the Garbage Patch is entrenched in the collective imagination, we can use language to help dislodge it. We can begin this process by rejecting the myths of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We must stop thinking and talking in terms of an island that captures everything we throw away in a faraway fever dream of plastic bags and marine birds, and begin to map out the deeply interconnected web of plants, animals, humans, and non-living things in which we actually exist. We must recognize that capitalism depends on us not seeing this web and that capitalism will never fix marine pollution or climate change. As long as, like Andres Cozar Cabañas’ missing plastic, there are lives whose fates remain distant and unaccounted for, everybody’s fates are at risk."
environment  garbage  plastic  recycling  oceans  capitalism  green  greencapitalism  2015  mayaweeks  chrischen  globalwarming  climatechange  greatpacificgarbagepatch  andrescozarcanañas 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Want to get conservatives to save energy? Stop the environmentalist preaching - The Washington Post
"In the end, then, perhaps the best way to think about ideology and energy use is this: Nobody is against efficiency or lower bills. Nobody is for waste. Nobody hates the environment.

But environmental and energy issues are nevertheless wrapped up in politics, which makes conservation, overall, less of a “safe” space for conservatives, according to Renee Lertzman, who works with Brand Cool as Director of Insight and is a consultant on climate change communications. Conservatives often feel “ambivalent” about the topic, she says, pulled in different directions — and liberal assumptions don’t help.

“A lot of people I interviewed felt very offended that they were often assumed to be not caring, they felt very insulted and patronized, because of their choices, and I really felt for that,” Lertzman says. “I felt, it would be so important to convey to people, we know you really do care. And that itself, as a starting off point, would be very powerful.”"

[See also:

“The next energy revolution won’t be in wind or solar. It will be in our brains.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/22/the-next-energy-revolution-wont-be-in-wind-or-solar-it-will-be-in-our-brains/

“Why 50 million smart meters still haven’t fixed America’s energy habits”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/01/29/americans-are-this-close-to-finally-understanding-their-electricity-bills/ ]
energy  environment  sustainability  environmentalism  waste  2015  garbage  trash  solar  wind  psychology  politics  preaching  meters  measurement  behavior  us  society 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Underwater trash photos look like scenes from an alien world - io9
"The subjects of Mandy Barker's photographs look like creatures from another world, but they're actually quite mundane: discarded fishing nets, plastic bottles, and toothpaste tubes. They're what sits beneath the surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Barker photographed the "soup," the plastic debris suspended in water from the Garbage Patch, to create strange alien scenes. But even though the objects in these photos aren't alive, they're still dangerous, killing ocean life wherever the patch travels."
ocean  debris  plasticdebris  plastics  garbage  photography  greatpacificgarbagepatch  marybarker  trash 
february 2012 by robertogreco
YouTube - trashlover869's Channel
This is the YouTube account (new one, the old one was deleted somehow) belonging to a kid I know who is a member of a network of "trash lovers" who track and document waste disposal trucks and bins. Part of their focus is looking at and experimenting with the different plastics and the molding process used in creating the bins. Awesome.
tcsnmy  garbage  waste  obsessions 
december 2010 by robertogreco

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