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robertogreco : hawaii   19

Critical Perspectives on Soka’s Lu’au
"In its 10th anniversary this year, the Lū’au performance is one of our oldest traditions here at Soka. The club which spearheads it every year is called, “Ka Pilina Ho’olokahi,” which means “the coming together in harmony for peace” in the Hawaiian language.

Growing up in Hawai’i, we understood how direly peace in the Pacific was needed. I watched as the place where I grew up ballooned with military bases and personnel. We watched the Hawaiian Islands bend beyond their capacity to host tourists. We saw the cost of living skyrocket and the number of people evicted from their homes turn into a crisis overlooked every year. I am not Kānaka (Native Hawaiian), and I cannot say I have experienced the same displacement and loss of agency over land as Native Hawaiians have in the last century. However, as the daughter of a Filipina immigrant, I can say I know what it’s like to hear that you will never be able to go back to your home because it is too polluted, too politically unsafe, and void of opportunity. For Filipinas, the displacement of our people was mechanized by the same forces which continue to displace and extract from Native Hawaiians. The parallels of the occupation of our homelands have been, at times, painful to compare because of their stark similarities.

So, when people ask me about the Lū’au or Hawai’i, I’m met with conflicting feelings. It touches me that people are so dedicated to planning and executing an event meant to celebrate a place I care for and want to protect. However, when people ask me about the Lū’au, I can’t help but think of my own experiences in Waikīkī, where I would pick up my cousins after their shifts working at “lū’aus.” After working in the tourism industry since I was 14, I’ve become critical of its mechanisms. In this article, I hope to unpack our involvement in Hawaii’s history of colonization, cultural extraction, and commercialization by tourism developers.

Activist, author, poet, and Professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai’i, Haunani-Kay Trask, wrote the essay “‘Lovely Hula Hands’: Corporate Tourism and the Prostitution of Hawaiian Culture,” [https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/bl/article/view/24958/28913 ] which delineated the cultural commodification mechanized by tourist industries she witnessed as a Native Hawaiian woman. She provides her analysis placed amongst the backdrop of the linguistic genocide, land theft, and unjust annexation to statehood Native Hawaiian people faced. Trask posits that the tourism industry extracts and commercializes Hawai’i and Hawaiian culture into a consumable and often times sexualized fantasy. She writes, “To most Americans, then, Hawai’i is theirs: to use, to take, and, above all, to fantasize about long after the experience…. Just five hours away by plane from California, Hawai’i is a thousand light years away in fantasy. Mostly a state of mind, Hawai’i is the image of escape from the rawness and violence of daily American Life.” In her essay, Trask argues that these fantasy-based images of Hawai’i strip it of its political history, culture, language, and people.

Other Native Hawaiian scholars such as @haymakana [https://twitter.com/haymakana/status/1036950291902590976 ], a Ph.D. student with interests in indigenous education and race in Hawaii, have spoken out against the exploitation of Native Hawaiian culture through the tourism industry. Here, she explains how images and fantasy of escape come at the expense of Native Hawaiians, leading to more Kānaka (Native Hawaiian) displacement: “When you fantasize about laying on our beaches you fantasize about tearing us away from our homeland and our ‘ohana that still live there … Kānaka are being displaced by hotels, rich people’s summer homes, Airbnbs, etc.”

From the perspective of a resident, I can also attest that the overwhelming presence of tourism contributes to the rising cost of living, homelessness, environmental destruction, and sex trafficking within our communities.

Other scholars such as Gregory Pōmaika’i [https://twitter.com/gspomaikai/status/1112163934734172162 ], a Ph.D. student at UC San Diego with interests in the Hawaiian diaspora in Las Vegas, Nevada, militarism, and queer Indigenous relations of off-island resurgence, responded to @haymakana’s thread with their own.

In this instance, Pōmaika’i affirms the sentiment originally proposed by @haymakana. They argue that the extraction of Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) otherness is exploitive, but goes mostly unchecked by the usual assumption of innocence under Euro-American audiences. They expound upon the common phenomena of Asian Americans who, due to their proximity based on settlement, diaspora, or existing within the category of Asian American Pacific Islanders, reap social or material capital off of Hawaiian culture due to their proximity to Hawai’i. Because of this and the universal ideas of “Hawai’i,” which are formed and normalized by the tourism industry, most audiences are less likely to question the cultural appropriateness of demonstrations of “Hawaiian culture,” especially those led by people who consider themselves proximate to Hawai’i.

Pōmaika’i later goes on to stress the importance of solidarity, rather than extraction, when it comes to showing up for indigenous folk. As settlers within a system of settler-colonialism, which automatically defers to our protection rather than indigenous folk, how are we showing up for them? Are we still following outdated models of racism and settler-colonialism where we are only assessing our liability based on our conscious prejudices and attitudes? Or are we critically evaluating our involvement within systems which subjugate others based on race and class?

I’ve spoken to Ka’pilina members who, from the bottom of their heart, believe they are part of the preservation of Hawaiian culture. However, I think Pōmaika’i, @haymakana, and Trask would all agree that the very concept of a Lū’au pulls from tourism-based ideas of Hawaii—ideas inevitably predicated on Native Hawaiian displacement. I’ve spoken to Lū’au officials who have told me that they don’t know about the Kanaka Maoli. These interactions led me to question what qualifications officials who have either varying or no connections to Hawai’i have for culture preservation. In what way are we actively able to combat Native Hawaiian stereotypes if there is no one involved who can call them out and unpack them? To what point is our relationship to Hawai’i extractive, especially if we’re, intentionally or not, upholding fantasy ideals of what Hawai’i is? These are questions of self-reflection which I hope my article can help facilitate within our community. Images of a commodified culture, made accessible to us and which remain pervasive after years of colonization, will persist in spaces vacuous of critical thought. So from here, I hope we may critically assess, how to move forward without perpetuating the commodification of Native Hawaiian culture.

Post notes: Soka’s Lū’au will be donating a small amount of the proceeds, all accumulated through the raffle, to a Hawaiian cultural preservation non-profit. I am happy about these donations, but I hope this will not excuse us from engaging in critical reflection of our actions."
sokauniversityofamerica  via:sophia  2019  hawaii  cultue  criticism  luau  haunani-kaytrask  tourism  exploitation  solidarity  extraction  indigeneity  indigenous  gregorypōmaika’i  kanakamaoli  commodification  stereotypes  kapalina  soka  sua 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Kauai 'O'o - YouTube
[See also: Kauaʻi ʻōʻō on Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaua%CA%BBi_%CA%BB%C5%8D%CA%BB%C5%8D

[via: https://twitter.com/Rainmaker1973/status/1011873160273317889

"The Kauaʻi ʻōʻō was a bird common in the subtropical forests of Hawaii until the early twentieth century, when its decline began. This is its last song that was last heard in 1987: it is now probably extinct"

via: https://twitter.com/somebadideas/status/1012093976021749760

"Memories in the anthropocene: loss at something impossibly beautiful you never knew of."]
birds  foreden  animals  nature  anthropocene  wildlfide  multispecies  extinction  audio  hawaii  sounds  sounf  birdsong  kauai 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Which City Has The Most Unpredictable Weather? | FiveThirtyEight
"You can easily make out the path of the Rocky Mountains in this map. Cities just to the east of them — like Denver and Great Falls, Montana — have much more unpredictable temperatures than almost any place to the west of them.

Cities just to the east of the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico have the most predictable temperatures. San Diego’s temperatures are the most predictable of anywhere in the continental United States (Honolulu’s are the most predictable overall). Seattle and San Francisco have highly predictable temperatures, as does the Florida peninsula."
weather  predictions  2018  statistics  climate  california  visualization  honolulu  sandiego  hawaii  losangeles  sanfrancisco  fresno  phoenix  westcoast  classideas  foreden 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Kilauea: A Beginner’s Guide to Hawaii’s Sublime Lava - The Atlantic
"But Western scientists were not the first people to encounter Hawaii’s volcanoes. Native Hawaiians have lived on the islands, and among the volcanoes, for more than 900 years. And their history, literature, and culture all recognize the reality of living near such a powerful phenomenon.

(A brief language note: Everyone who lives in the archipelago is called a “Hawaii resident.” The term “Hawaiian” is reserved for someone with native Hawaiian ancestry. This distinction is regularly made on the islands, including in the state constitution.)

“There’s aʻa or pahoehoe, the rough lava or the smooth lava,” said Kuʻualoha Hoʻomanawanui, a professor of literature at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “But the word for both of them is Pele.”

Pele is the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes, lava, and fire—but deity in its Western sense doesn’t quite describe the scope of Pele’s power. Many Hawaiian families trace their lineage back to Pele, meaning they count her as an ancestor.

“Pele is not just the goddess of lava. Lava is Pele,” Hoʻomanawanui told me. “The lava flows basically reaffirm what our literature tells us—that the land is alive, that Pele is alive. When we talk about the lava being alive, it’s a metaphor for the earth itself being alive. The lava is Pele, the magma is Pele, the lava flow and then when the lava hardens—each you can just replace the word with Pele.”

Even the site of the new eruption makes sense within Hawaiian culture. The current eruption has focused primarily on a subdivision called Leilani Estates. But Leilani Estates is a new name, and the subdivision sits within a larger area that Hawaiians traditionally called Keahialaka, which means “the fire of Laka.” Laka is the goddess of hula and one of Pele’s daughters.

“The Hawaiians watching are looking at the names of these places and saying, ‘Oh yeah!’” said Noelani M. Arista, a professor of Hawaiian history at the University of Hawaii. “It’s like, sometimes people are amazed that a flood will hit a flood zone. But we’ve got place names that say flood zone.”

“Anyone can come and slap a new name on any thing: ‘Let’s call it Leilani Estates!’ And Leilani is a generic name. But that won’t take away from the mana, the spiritual power and characteristics of that place, that the old place name embodies,” agreed Hoʻomanawanui.

These new names “lull people into a sense of complacency,” she said. “[They think,] I’m not actually buying property and building a house in an active lava rift zone, but I’m buying a piece of paradise.”

But sometimes these new names can be ironic. Kilauea is surrounded by rainforest, and people in Hawaii customarily link its lava flows to the Kool-Aid-red lehua flowers that grow around it. So when Hoʻomanawanui read that one of the first lava fissures in Leilani Estates opened up on Mohala Street, she laughed. “Well, of course!” she said. “Mohala means ‘to blossom,’ or ‘to bloom.’ In a way, it’s all interconnected.”

Pele’s story takes many forms—Hoʻomanawanui has studied 14 different serialized newspaper versions of it, all of which first appeared in the 19th century. But many describe a similar journey: how Pele and her family came up from an island in the South Pacific, how they found the Hawaii archipelago, and how Pele traveled to every island, looking for a place to keep her fire. She visited every island, and dug a hole in every island, until she eventually found Hawaii Island and placed her fire in Kilauea. (Hoʻomanawanui recommended that mainland Americans watch Holo Mai Pele, a PBS-filmed hula about Pele, for a credible summary of her story.)

“The story of Pele is a poetic, literary telling of what scientists would maybe call the Ring of Fire, and how volcanic activity gets to the Hawaiian islands from other parts of the Pacific,” said Hoʻomanawanui. “It’s an ideological explanation for why we don’t have volcanic activity occurring now on the other islands.”

But it’s more than a just-so story. Arista, the Hawaiian historian, contrasts how non-native Hawaii residents and native Hawaiians have discussed the recent lava flow. Much of the national media attention has focused on an American-centric understanding of the destruction, she said—for instance, by talking about the extent of property loss.

“But then you’ve got Hawaii residents saying, how amazing is the presence of this in my life,” she said. “Native people who live in the subdivision are largely saying, ‘Yes, I knew I was living in this space where volcanic activity is a huge factor, because I’ve lived my life here. And because we have this respect for Pele, I wanted to live here.’”

Hoʻomanawanui said she saw many native Hawaiians greeting the lava flow not with dread, but with acceptance. “When the flows start, you clean the house, you open the door, and you say: ‘Tūtū Pele, this is your land, take it,’” she said.

(Since Hoʻomanawanui’s family tracks its lineage back to Pele, they call her Tūtū, or grandmother. But other Hawaiians and non-Natives will call her Tūtū Pele out of respect, even if she is not an ancestor to them. “They acknowledge she’s a special force of nature—literally,” she said. Others, including non-Natives, may call her Madame Pele for the same reason.)

Hoʻomanawanui and Arista told me that seeing the lava as Pele didn’t detract from the scientific understanding of it. Instead, Pele anchors the experience of the lava, envelops it, and connects it to the lives of people who came before.

“Through dance, through costuming, through specific flowers—there’s layers of representation that I think really evoke a sensory experience beyond just knowledge, beyond just understanding as a Western scientific geological process,” Hoʻomanawanui said. “It’s a complete experience that is inclusive of that [scientific] knowledge but goes way beyond it.”

“We don’t have the words for belief or faith in this stuff,” she said. Instead, she said, Westerners should see Hawaiian customary belief as a practice and as a way of understanding the world."
hawaii  lava  science  names  naming  knowledge  volcanoes  complacency  indigeneity  2018  culture  language  languages  morethanhuman  geography  local  classideas  placenames 
may 2018 by robertogreco
The Hourly Wage Required to Rent a 2-Bedroom Apartment, 2017 - CityLab
"America’s mismatch between wages and rental prices is more perverse than ever."



"[map: "How many hourly wages workers make enough to afford modest rents?"]

For millions of Americans, housing costs are perversely mismatched to hourly wages. In 2017, the average U.S. worker would need to bring in a whopping $21.21 per hour to reasonably afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. That’s nearly three times the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and roughly 30 percent more than the $16.38 hourly wage that the average U.S. renter brings home.

These stark numbers come from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s latest Out of Reach report, which maps the minimum hourly wage required to afford a modest rental based on federal Fair Market Rent (FMR) estimates. The report defines “affordable” as housing and utilities that cost no more than 30 percent of a person’s annual income—also the basic standard used by the feds. NLIHC has run these reports since 2005, and this minimum “housing wage” is rising year over year.

[chart: "Remote Hawaii is an outlier for its extreme housing unaffordability, but some of the nation’s most populous states have huge shortfalls between average renter wages and “housing” wages."]

Even with a handful of states and cities celebrating recent “livable wage” victories (or defeats, if you ask a certain Georgia congressional candidate), there’s not a single state, county, or metro area in which a simple two-bedroom rental is affordable to a person working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, at the local statutory minimum wage. And in states with particularly in-demand urban housing markets, the shortfall between rent and housing costs is particularly staggering.

For example, a FMR two-bedroom apartment in Hawaii, with the highest statewide housing costs in the nation, is $1,830. That would require earning $35.20 per hour, close to four times the state minimum wage of $9.25, and $19.56 per hour less than what the average renter there earns. In Maryland, a simple two-bedroom costs considerably less on average—$1,470 per month—but renters would still need to draw in $28.27 per hour to afford it.

[maps: "The twelves counties in Oregon, Arizona, and Washington where a one-bedroom apartment is affordable to minimum wage workers (shown in yellow) are largely rural, far from job centers. (NLIHC)"]

In only 12 counties in Washington, Arizona, and Oregon (all states with minimum wages above the federal standard) can that worker afford a modest one-bedroom unit. Almost all of these are in sparsely populated rural areas, far from job centers. More than 76 percent of renter households reside in a county or metro area where it takes more than 60 hours per week of full-time, minimum-wage work to reasonably afford even a one-bedroom unit. In California, the nation’s most populous state, it would take 92 hours. In Virginia, it would take 109.

More than 2 million U.S. workers are paid wages at or below the federal minimum, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That represents nearly 3 percent of all workers paid hourly. For these workers, the affordable housing pinch is most acute. The struggle is real for the rest, too. Americans earning median wages in many of the country’s fastest-growing occupations—customer service agents, nursing assistants, health aides, retail workers—aren’t making enough to manage even a one-bedroom without dumping more than 30 percent of their income.

[chart: "Of the seven fastest-growing jobs, only nurses make enough to reasonably afford rent."]

What gives? Rents are declining in some of the priciest American cities; it seems the luxury rental bubble has finally sprung a leak. But a persistent shortage of affordable units is still pinching renters in lower income brackets. Fewer families are buying homes, often due to a lack of access to mortgage credit or insufficient savings for a downpayment. Demand for rentals continues to surge, and households across the income spectrum are competing for the same scarce units. Low-wage workers have seen pay increases over the past two years, but those haven’t kept up with the cost of living through an affordable housing crisis with no end in sight."
labor  housing  rent  2017  minimumwage  affordability  california  hawaii  jobs  wages  income 
june 2017 by robertogreco
A Low and Distant Paradise - Pacific Standard
"My grandmother was born to the Italian lira, grew up under the British pound, revolted against the Ethiopian birr, lived under the American dollar in order to raise me, and died, finally, buried under her country’s first currency, the Eritrean nakfa. She was home to me, my link to a land generations had fought for and to the sand in Florida on which I played. A reminder of how far and against what odds my blood had traveled for the promise of autonomy. And now she was gone.

It’s been 12 years since I lived in Miami, and yet enough of the city is embedded in me that I feel at home wherever I stand in it. It’s in every exhalation. I feel this connection to the land and my past more than any kinship with my remaining family. I am at once grateful for the freedom and devastated by this tangible unmooring of blood. It is only appropriate that things feel adrift.

Erasure is a prickly topic for members of the African diaspora. We want recognition, we who have lost so much to attain it and are severed from those who know this best. I still look for my country every time I see a globe. Did we exist yet? Were we our own? It is a validation I can’t stop myself from seeking having grown up in a state intent on its own destruction.

One can look to Hawaii’s volcanoes to see exactly how land is formed. Florida, then, is where we look to see land’s undoing. In Florida, we are racing New Orleans into the sea. I tell most inquirers South Florida is what happens when people build cities on sponges and call it salvation. I tell them we will learn."



"It is clear to me that the history of Eritrea and Eritreans in the 21st century has stopped being one of how to win, but of how we might lose the least by the end of the century’s first quarter. Here in America, I am the only person with whom each member of my immediate family interacts. Two out of the three live on separate continents. Sometimes I’ll like a new song because it is the type my sister would play and I need a thread to hold on to. Some streets I’ll walk, as my father taught me, because they show more of the sky. But most days I’ll hold the weightless braid of my family in my palm and wonder when it will find the wind. I am trying to keep my own two halves from fracturing; I never learned to excavate the dread.

It all feels like too much.

When politicians campaign on platforms of keeping Africans out of their country. When the anti­-blackness in the surrounding MENA region goes largely unreported. When the refugee camps in the country you gained independence from are overflowing with your people. When the journey to South Africa, a popular refuge for African migrants, is met with xenophobic attacks. When crossing the Red Sea into Yemen means entering a war zone; when Yemenis are crossing the Red Sea into the Horn you fled. When human traffickers are harvesting your organs in the Sinai. When the open ports of Libya have no despot to keep you on your side of the grave. When drowning is the best option. When the world asks wouldn't it be convenient to stay in place? To see your doom as your salvation? Now that they have all tried their hand at exploiting your land, your people, your geography—and since autonomy can only be granted by those who have control over the physical world. After all this, how, how, how. How can we keep you there?"
2015  rahawahaile  eritrea  diaspora  place  identity  belonging  cities  climate  miami  nyc  asmara  family  freedom  ethiopia  migration  immigration  refugees  history  yemen  redsea  joandidion  race  climatechange  inequality  water  labor  work  economics  politics  everglades  hawaii  erasure  florida 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Inside Kauai's Past - Archaeology Magazine
"Ideal conditions within an ancient cave system are revealing a rich history that reaches back to a time before humans settled the island and extends to the present day"
hawaii  kauai  anthropology  caves  history  humans  2015  archaeology 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Hawaii As 'Racial Paradise'? Bid For Obama Library Invokes A Complex Past : Code Switch : NPR
"Historically, the racial paradise myth has proven to be a winning rhetorical strategy. In the 1940s and 50s, champions of this myth effectively wielded it to achieve another unlikely political objective: Hawaii statehood. At the time, admitting Hawaii to the Union was a longshot because the territory had a majority-Asian population. Southern segregationists like South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond shuddered at the thought of an "Oriental" state that they imagined as too foreign and too colored to be American.

Savvy statehood proponents countered by reminding the country that Hawaii was a "Pacific Melting Pot" characterized by amity rather than hostility. Some, like Massachusetts Congressman John W. McCormack, even suggested that islanders' unparalleled record in race relations would have a "salutary effect" on the rest of the nation embroiled in the life-and-death struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The argument helped to convince the American public. The territory of Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959.

Crucially, the racial paradise claims made sense only by omitting the contentious, violent history of the United States' illegal seizure and colonization of the Independent Kingdom of Hawai'i. Native Hawaiians suffered greatly under U.S. rule. Many of them opposed both annexation (1898) and statehood. Erasing the struggles of Hawaii's indigenous peoples allowed Americans to portray themselves as inclusive and benevolent. For U.S. political leaders, this was a high-stakes maneuver. They believed that they needed to tell such a story to legitimate America's claim to being the leader of the free world in order to win the Cold War.

The mythology of Hawaii as racial paradise has enjoyed political utility well beyond the statehood debate. As the nation sought "law and order" fixes to the urban crises of the late 1960s, observers again praised Hawaii as a model. Journalists drew clear contrasts between the islands' residents and African American protesters in northern cities. As one put it, "In Detroit, Newark, and other big cities, it's the young Negro who is the disillusioned troublemaker. In Hawaii, it's the young generation which is building up a loyal citizenry, setting an example of racial understanding." The effect of such commentary was to undermine the legitimacy of black grievances.

It seems more than coincidental, then, that Hawai'i Presidential Initiative boosters are recycling an old story for this new purpose. Hawaii's "traditions of compromise and dialogue," reflected in Obama's "unifying vision," ostensibly supply a solution to an intractable problem. For a nation that is struggling to square the tensions between colorblindness and the surging Black Lives Matter movement, an American racial paradise — however mythic — might just be too seductive to pass up."
2015  hawaii  race  racism  diversity  barackobama  history 
march 2015 by robertogreco
A New Classroom That Produces More Energy Than It Consumes | WIRED
[See also: http://andersonanderson.com/2013/02/01/energy-positive-portable-classroom/ ]

"Creating an energy positive building is a give and take of inputs and outputs. The key to sustainability isn’t just producing more energy—the smartest (and cheapest) way to go about it is to reduce the amount of energy used in the first place. “The assumption is to achieve a net zero building, you have to get as many solar panels on there as you can,” says Anderson. But right now, energy conservation is cheaper than production.

The classroom does use roof solar panels to generate energy, though the roof’s saw-tooth shape helps to that end. The slating, jagged design is often referred to as a factory roof, deriving from its use in the design of factories more than a century ago. With north-facing windows, this roof shape is particularly efficient at capturing daylight, and paired with lower-lying windows too, it provides ventilation for hot air to escape. Not to mention a good way to shed rain water. Before electricity was widespread, these roofs were the main way massive factories could get both light and ventilation. It fell out of favor, replaced by flat roofs, once electricity became cheaper, but Anderson says it’s still a remarkably effective design. “It’s a reminder some of those things were there for very good reasons,” he says.

Every window in the classroom opens and closes, which means the amount of airflow is endlessly adjustable. It’s also more expensive. Anderson says sustainability often comes with a hefty initial price tag that pays for itself in the following years and decades. “We’ve typically been shortsighted,” he says. At this point, the classroom is really just a laboratory of sorts. It’s undergoing a two year testing period where every aspect of the structure will be monitored, tracked and quantified to see how well the it compares to its projected computer modeling.

If it works according to plan, the energy-producing building isn’t just good news for the school itself. It’s easy to imagine if you get enough of these networked classrooms built, you could offset less efficient structures on the school campus, perhaps with enough spillover energy to account for transportation and entire surrounding neighborhoods. That’s in the future, of course. And it will be a major challenge for locations less idyllic than Hawaii. But it’s an exciting vision nonetheless, and one Anderson thinks we should be actively working toward. “In some ways, the emphasis the world has on net zero is unfortunate,” he says. “It’s not enough for net zero to be the goal—we have to look at the bigger picture.”"
schooldesign  education  schools  design  energy  architecture  2014  andersonanderson  sustainability  environment  light  hawaii 
december 2014 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach
"Incredibly, a "new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii," Science reports.

This new rock type, referred to as a "plastiglomerate," requires a significant heat-source in order to form, as plastiglomerates are, in effect, nothing but molten lumps of plastic mixed-in with ambient detritus. Hawaii with its coastal and marine volcanoes, offers a near-perfect formational landscape for this artificially inflected geology to emerge—however, Patricia Corcoran, one of the discoverers of these uncanny rocks, thinks we'll likely find them "on coastlines across the world. Plastiglomerate is likely well distributed, it’s just never been noticed before now, she says."

We've been surrounded by artificial geologies all along.

But is it really geology? Or is it just melted plastic messily assembled with local minerals? Well, it's both, it seems, provided you look at it on different time-scales. After heavier chunks of plastiglomerate form, fusing with "denser materials, like rock and coral," Science writes, "it sinks to the sea floor, and the chances it will become buried and preserved in the geologic record increase." It can even form whole veins streaking through other rock deposits: "When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles," we read.

It doesn't seem like much of a stretch to suggest that our landfills are also acting like geologic ovens: baking huge deposits of plastiglomerate into existence, as the deep heat (and occasional fires) found inside landfills catalyzes the formation of this new rock type. Could deep excavations into the landfills of an earlier, pre-recycling era reveal whole boulders of this stuff? Perhaps.

The article goes on to refer to the work of geologist Jan Zalasiewicz, which is exactly where I would have taken this, as well. Zalasiewicz has written in great detail and very convincingly about the future possible fossilization of our industrial artifacts and the artificial materials that make them—including plastic itself, which, he suggests, might very well leave traces similar to those of fossilized leaves and skeletons.

In a great essay I had the pleasure of including in the recent book Landscape Futures, Zalasiewicz writes: "Plastics, which are made of long chains of subunits, might behave like some of the long-chain organic molecules in fossil plant twigs and branches, or the collagen in the fossilized skeletons of some marine invertebrates. These can be wonderfully well preserved, albeit blackened and carbonized as hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen are driven off under the effect of subterranean heat and pressure." Plastiglomerates could thus be seen as something like an intermediary stage in the long-term fossilization of plastic debris, a glimpse of the geology to come.

Ultimately, the idea that the stunning volcanic beaches of Hawaii are, in fact, more like an early version of tomorrow's semi-plastic continents and tropical archipelagoes is both awesome and ironic: that an island chain known for its spectacular natural beauty would actually reveal the deeply artificial future of our planet in the form of these strange, easily missed objects washing around in the sand and coral of a gorgeous beach."
bldgblog  geoffmanaugh  geology  plastics  plastic  2014  janzalasiewicz  hawaii  plastiglomerate 
june 2014 by robertogreco
MO`OLELO [mo-oh-Leh-low] Hawaiian story/legend/tale/narrative
"MO`OLELO [mo-oh-Leh-low] Hawaiian story/legend/tale/narrative
a community-focused, socially-conscious, equity theater company"

"Mo`olelo was recognized by The American Theatre Wing with their 2011 National Theatre Company grant.

Create
Mo`olelo exists to uncover and research stories within different communities and bring them to life on stage, using all the artistic and technical elements of the performing arts.

Produce
Mo`olelo exists to produce original stories by contemporary playwrights and lesser-known stories by master playwrights.

Educate
Mo`olelo exists to educate youth in technical theater and design, exposing them to potential careers, and grooming this new generation of theater artists so they can tell stories on stage with integrity.

Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company’s mission is to create, produce, and educate. Through all three aspects, we seek to broaden the scope of San Diego’s cultural environment by offering professional, socially-conscious theater that provides a voice for diverse and underrepresented populations, aesthetics, and issues on stage; generates participation and dialogue between local communities; and creates paid employment for local theater artists. Our commitment to paying artists union-level wages reflects our strong belief that professional, resident artists will make San Diego a nationally-competitive destination arts scene, thus improving the quality of life for all people of San Diego County. Mo`olelo serves the diverse general public, from youth to seniors, with particular focus toward providing a forum for those who are typically underserved in mainstream American theater. Mo`olelo means story in Hawaiian, and is a reflection of our vision to present powerful stories that are as diverse as the Islands of Hawaii."
sandiego  theater  hawaii 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Sarah Vowell | Books | Interview | The A.V. Club [via: http://snarkmarket.com/2011/6762]
"And when I first saw one of those [banyan] trees, I thought, “That is how I think.” Little thoughts just sprout off and drip down and take root, and then they end up supporting more and more tendrils of thought, until it all coheres into one thing, but it’s still rickety-looking and spooky. I like to think that my tangents have a point. I do love a tangent. I think part of it is inherent within the discipline of non-fiction.

I always found that when I was a college student and researching my papers always the night before—and this was before the Internet—I’d be in the library and I’d find one thing, and see something else and want to follow that, which now is how the Internet has taught us to think, to click on link after link after link. But there is something inherent in research that fosters that way of thinking, and then there’s this other interesting thing, and that builds and builds…"
classideas  tangents  libraries  howwework  howwelearn  distraction  cv  christianity  colonialism  hawaii  indigenousrights  missionaries  sarahvowell  nonfiction  fiction  writing  mind  internet  web  exploration  meandering  thinking  connections 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Surviving A Tsunami—Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan
"This report contains true stories that illustrate how to survive-and how not to survive-a tsunami. It is meant for people who live, work, or play along coasts that tsunamis may strike. Such coasts surround most of the Pacific Ocean but also include other areas, such as the shores of the Caribbean, eastern Canada, and the Mediterranean.
tsunamis  visualization  earthquakes  preparedness  geography  safety  weather  disaster  surfing  ocean  geology  travel  pacific  chile  japan  hawaii 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Lavaflow Exhibit at Mollusk Surf Shop - Dwell Blog - dwell.com
"The shop will be exhibiting images of San Francisco-based architect Craig Steely’s five Lavaflow homes (the fourth of which is featured in the current issue of Dwell; the second we wrote about in the July/August 2005 issue) and the amoebic-shaped paintings (below) of his wife, Cathy Liu. "
homes  hawaii  housing  art  events  sanfrancisco  architecture  design 
october 2008 by robertogreco
Exotic Hawaii: where Obama's racial outlook was forged | csmonitor.com
"Hawaii easily has the lowest percentage of non-Hispanic white residents of any state: just 23.5 percent. Hawaii's population breakdown, by percentage of race and ethnicity, according to infoplease.com:
hawaii  diversity  demographics 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Handhelds help turn kids into marine biologists | CNET News.com
"On a clear day in March, a group of 10-year-olds were playing marine scientists from a lookout point in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, at a spot known for its views of humpback whales."
technology  children  schools  learning  handhelds  1to1  laptops  education  science  biology  hawaii  whales  wireless  marine  oceans  teaching  students  1:1 
may 2007 by robertogreco
i shall proceed....and continue: Pele the Fire Goddess
"Pele Lives in Hawaiian Hearts and minds as the supreme personification of Volcanic majesty and power. Within the Hawaiian cosmos all natural forces are regarded as life forces, related to human life."
travel  myth  hawaii  culture  clothing  design 
february 2006 by robertogreco

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