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Elise Hunchuck en Instagram: “An account of Iceland, an account of Berlin: hardness of water is the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water and is measured in units…”
"An account of Iceland, an account of Berlin: hardness of water is the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water and is measured in units of German hardness [°1dH, where 1dH = (Calcium (mg / l) x2, 497 + Magnesium (mg / l) x4, 116) / 17.9]. The scale runs from 0 and 4°dh (very soft) to 8 to 12° dh (hard) to very hard at greater than 30°dh. The water here in Berlin ranges from 14 to 25 °dH (pretty hard to hard). It is the reason that many people complain about calcified deposits anywhere water flows – from sinks to toilets to showers to espresso machines to our skin and to our hair. You might not notice it as first, but after a while, the deposits make their mark, changing composition and appearance everywhere they’re left. After spending a few weeks out of the country, and some time in Iceland, where the water’s hardness is less than 2, and in the Reykjavik area it is particularly soft between 0.2 and 0.6°dh, I noticed the difference in my skin and, especially, my hair. I washed it and let it dry, on its own, and it finally responded, unencumbered (for the first time in almost two years) by the minerals – that particular heaviness – of Berlin.

A small thing, you might think, until you recall, for example, as Heather Davis so eloquently wrote, “we become the outside through our breath, our food, and our porous skin. We are composed of what surrounds us. We have come into existence with and because of so many others, from carbon to microbes to dogs. And all these creatures and rocks and air molecules and water all exist together, with each other, for each other. To be a human means to be the land and water and air of our surroundings. We are the outside. We are our environment.” So, in a way, one could say I was, for awhile, becoming Iceland. And now, slowly but surely, coming back to Berlin."
berlin  iceland  water  hardness  2018  elisehunchuck  reykjavík  chemistry 
december 2018 by robertogreco
anja kanngieser on Twitter: "this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine
"this is a long thread on #nauru, where i spent last week. nauru is currently most visible as a site for australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers and refugees. it is also the location of a longstanding #phosphate mine which covers over 2/3 of the island 1/22

#nauru is experiencing considerable #climatechange. im going to outline some of the social-environmental stresses i observed that nauruans, refugees and asylum seekers are facing, and why we need to talk about #colonialism and #environmental racism for #climatejustice 2/22

#nauru is a beautiful island. its main resource is #phosphate. germany colonised nauru in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s the british found phosphate and started to exploit it for fertiliser and munitions with australia and nz, who became nauru’s trustees in the 1920s 3/22

during both world wars #nauru was a strategic imperial site and was occupied by multiple nations. in the 1960s nauru gained independence and took over mining activities 4/22

these days its extremely hard to get onto #nauru. i was invited to do work on community #mitigation and #adaptation measures. my work involves speaking with community leaders, environment organisations, government workers, activists 5/22

it also involves making #bioacoustic recordings of environments - #nauru's mine, the reef, the lagoon. this means i spend a lot of time listening. this is some of what i was told: 6/22

#nauru is running out of land. there are too many people living on the coast, as topside (the mining site) has not been rehabilitated. its a moonscape up there - huge phosphate pinnacles segregated by steep drops. its hot - it feels like 50 degrees, and its super humid 7/22

no one really goes up there, except people working in the mine, ihms employees and the border force. and refugees and asylum seekers, because thats where the detention centres are. you cant play there or just hang out, its too hot, and if youre not in aircon its unbearable 8/22

#coastal erosion is bad around the north of #nauru. sea walls protect one area but then other areas get flooded. #kingtides flood the single road that runs around the island, meaning people cant get around to access services 9/22

houses on the coast side of the main road on #nauru get #inundated. because of a lack of land, people cant really move far 10/22

much of the ground water in #nauru is #contaminated, by waste, from overpopulated cemeteries leaking into the water lens, run off from the mine and sea water. there is a huge stress on water supplies 11/22

most of #nauru gets its water from the desalination plant, but it takes a long time to get water and if it breaks experts need to be flown in to fix it. not everyone has a water tank, so there are water shortages 12/22

its hard to grow food on #nauru so food is imported. there are long lines of people whenever a shipment of rice is due to arrive. cucumbers cost $13AUD, a punnet of cherry tomatoes $20AUD. people do not earn anywhere near enough money to be able to afford it 13/22

kitchen gardens have been established on #nauru, but they only feed the families that have them, a lot of people feel their soil is not adequate to growing food 14/22

reef fish stocks are depleted on #nauru, so there is a plan to build milkfish supplies in peoples home ponds. as the water is contaminated that means that the fish are contaminated. if people feed the fish to the pigs and eat the pigs, then that meat is also contaminated 15/22

the #phosphate dust from the mine causes respiratory issues in #nauru. it covers houses near the harbour and people refer to it as snow. while primary mining is almost complete, secondary mining is planned. this should last around 20 years, then the phosphate is gone 16/22

#nauru is getting hotter. its so hot that kids dont want to walk to school, which is not aircon. its so hot that no one is really outside during the day. the heat on the coast is not as bad as the heat on topside. but its still hot enough that you dont want to move 17/22

i was told that people remember it being 20 degrees cooler when they were kids. #nauru goes through extreme #droughts 18/22

there are issues with #biodiversity loss and strange movements of sea creatures. i recorded a dusk chorus at a mining site and heard only one bird. at the start of the year dead fish littered the reef. this happens periodically, no one could tell me why 19/22

the noddy birds, which people rely on for food, got a virus earlier this year and there were fallen noddy birds all over the roads. people have spotted orcas in #nauru’s waters. a dugong also washed up on shore. they are not known to inhabit that area 20/22

as i said, these issues affect everyone on #nauru. nauru is highly vulnerable to #climatechange. it is also hugely economically reliant on aid, on the money from the incarceration of refugees and asylum seekers and a rapidly diminishing natural resource: phosphate 21/22

this is why conversations about human rights and environmental justice in #nauru and the #pacific also need to include strong critiques of #neocolonialism, #racism and #paternalism. nauru wasnt always like this. these are ongoing impacts of colonisation 22/22"
nauru  climatechange  globalwarming  2018  anjakannigieser  environment  climatejustice  colonialism  islands  polynesia  australia  newzealand  activism  adaptability  oceans  fishing  health  biodiversity  multispecies  pacificocean  vulnerability  neocolonialism  racism  paternalism  colonization  birds  nature  animals  wildlife  water  waste 
october 2018 by robertogreco
Offering a more progressive definition of freedom
"Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is a progressive Democrat, Rhodes scholar, served a tour of duty in Afghanistan during his time as mayor, and is openly gay. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone [https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/pete_buttigieg-36-year-old-mayor-south-bend-indiana-2020-713662/ ], Buttigieg talked about the need for progressives to recast concepts that conservatives have traditionally “owned” — like freedom, family, and patriotism — in more progressive terms.
You’ll hear me talk all the time about freedom. Because I think there is a failure on our side if we allow conservatives to monopolize the idea of freedom — especially now that they’ve produced an authoritarian president. But what actually gives people freedom in their lives? The most profound freedoms of my everyday existence have been safeguarded by progressive policies, mostly. The freedom to marry who I choose, for one, but also the freedom that comes with paved roads and stop lights. Freedom from some obscure regulation is so much more abstract. But that’s the freedom that conservatism has now come down to.

Or think about the idea of family, in the context of everyday life. It’s one thing to talk about family values as a theme, or a wedge — but what’s it actually like to have a family? Your family does better if you get a fair wage, if there’s good public education, if there’s good health care when you need it. These things intuitively make sense, but we’re out of practice talking about them.

I also think we need to talk about a different kind of patriotism: a fidelity to American greatness in its truest sense. You think about this as a local official, of course, but a truly great country is made of great communities. What makes a country great isn’t chauvinism. It’s the kinds of lives you enable people to lead. I think about wastewater management as freedom. If a resident of our city doesn’t have to give it a second thought, she’s freer.


Clean drinking water is freedom. Good public education is freedom. Universal healthcare is freedom. Fair wages are freedom. Policing by consent is freedom. Gun control is freedom. Fighting climate change is freedom. A non-punitive criminal justice system is freedom. Affirmative action is freedom. Decriminalizing poverty is freedom. Easy & secure voting is freedom. This is an idea of freedom I can get behind."
petebuttigieg  freedom  democracy  2018  jasonkottke  everyday  life  living  progressive  progress  progressivism  education  water  healthcare  universalhealthcare  health  climatechange  politics  policy  poverty  inequality  decriminalization  voting  affirmitiveaction  guncontrol  liberation  work  labor  salaries  wages  economics  socialism  policing  police  lawenforcement  consent  patriotism  wealth  family 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Atlas by Terisa Siagatonu | Poetry Magazine
"If you open up any atlas
and take a look at a map of the world,
almost every single one of them
slices the Pacific Ocean in half.
To the human eye,
every map centers all the land masses on Earth
creating the illusion
that water can handle the butchering
and be pushed to the edges
of the world.
As if the Pacific Ocean isn’t the largest body
living today, beating the loudest heart,
the reason why land has a pulse in the first place.

The audacity one must have to create a visual so
violent as to assume that no one comes
from water so no one will care
what you do with it
and yet,
people came from land,
are still coming from land,
and look what was done to them.

When people ask me where I’m from,
they don’t believe me when I say water.
So instead, I tell them that home is a machete
and that I belong to places
that don’t belong to themselves anymore,
broken and butchered places that have made me
a hyphen of a woman:
a Samoan-American that carries the weight of both
colonizer and colonized,
both blade and blood.

California stolen.
Samoa sliced in half stolen.
California, nestled on the western coast of the most powerful
country on this planet.
Samoa, an island so microscopic on a map, it’s no wonder
people doubt its existence.
California, a state of emergency away from having the drought
rid it of all its water.
Samoa, a state of emergency away from becoming a saltwater cemetery
if the sea level doesn’t stop rising.
When people ask me where I’m from,
what they want is to hear me speak of land,
what they want is to know where I go once I leave here,
the privilege that comes with assuming that home
is just a destination, and not the panic.
Not the constant migration that the panic gives birth to.
What is it like? To know that home is something
that’s waiting for you to return to it?
What does it mean to belong to something that isn’t sinking?
What does it mean to belong to what is causing the flood?

So many of us come from water
but when you come from water
no one believes you.
Colonization keeps laughing.
Global warming is grinning
at all your grief.
How you mourn the loss of a home
that isn’t even gone yet.
That no one believes you’re from.

How everyone is beginning
to hear more about your island
but only in the context of
vacations and honeymoons,
football and military life,
exotic women exotic fruit exotic beaches
but never asks about the rest of its body.
The water.
The islands breathing in it.
The reason why they’re sinking.
No one visualizes islands in the Pacific
as actually being there.
You explain and explain and clarify
and correct their incorrect pronunciation
and explain

until they remember just how vast your ocean is,
how microscopic your islands look in it,
how easy it is to miss when looking
on a map of the world.

Excuses people make
for why they didn’t see it
before."
poems  poetry  maps  mapping  terisasiagatonu  2018  california  samoa  pacificocean  oceans  colonization  water  globalwarming  islands  migration 
april 2018 by robertogreco
PlanetVision
"A Planetary Perspective
Our planet is changing dramatically, and changing fast—all because of human activity. The vast majority of Earth’s species extinctions, resource depletion, freshwater decline, and climate change are caused by how we use and produce food, water, and energy. Changing course to build a better future is still within our grasp. By working together and looking to science and nature for guidance, we can find a new way forward.

A Plan for the Future We Want
To tackle our biggest environmental challenges, we should zero-in on their direct causes: how we use and produce food, water, and energy. Once we address these systems, we can rethink the ways we live our lives. What are the underlying causes of our environmental crises, including population growth and our unsustainable consumer throw-away culture, and how can we learn to avoid them in the future?

Rethinking Food, Water, Energy, and Ourselves
Food:Fixing our food system
Water: Protecting our water resources
Energy: Reimagining our energy system
Us: Reinventing ourselves

Solutions in Action
PlanetVision is here to inspire communities, businesses, governments, and individuals to turn world-changing ideas into action. How can you help? Explore impactful actions you can take to help the environment by addressing food, water, energy, and our everyday lifestyle choices. Individual actions can scale to be a big part of the solutions we need. Discover how you can multiply your inspirational and environmental impact for a better future.

Join PlanetVision
Incredible things are possible when we work together, focus on solutions, and cultivate hope for a better world. Join the community and stay up to date."

[See also: https://www.calacademy.org/planetvision
https://www.planetvision.com/actions ]
planetvision  californiaacademyofsciences  climatechange  eneregy  food  water  science  nature  sustainability  systems  systemsthinking  population  classideas 
january 2018 by robertogreco
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission : Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours
"Have you ever wondered what happens to the dirty water from your shower, laundry and toilet after it goes down the drain? What about the runoff from lawns and gardens, and rainwater and car washing?

Find out by taking a free tour of one of San Francisco's Wastewater Treatment Plants. You'll learn about the history of wastewater treatment in San Francisco and plans to upgrade our aging sewer system, tips on preventing pollution of our Bay and Ocean, and best of all, you'll go behind the scenes to see (and smell!) how this vital infrastructure works."

[See also: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/plant-tours-sf-public-utilities-commission-sfpuc-14807893713 ]
sanfrancisco  classideas  tours  water  wastewater  sewer 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Autumn Peltier | I am Indigenous - YouTube
[See also: "I am Indigenous"
http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/i-am-indigenous-2017/
From across this land, the people you are about to meet see a brighter future for all Canadians. Their personal journeys and stories are different, but are all connected by heritage and pride. As Canada marks a historical occasion, their roots and culture go well beyond 150 years. For them, this is a time to look back, and to also look forward. They are trailblazers, innovators, leaders and deeply proud to be Indigenous.

"Meet Autumn Peltier — the 12-year-old girl who speaks for water"
http://www.cbc.ca/2017/meet-autumn-peltier-the-12-year-old-girl-who-speaks-for-water-1.4168277

"Autumn Peltier Talks Pipelines | APTN News"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEDqbzLFOlc
She's only 12 years old, but Autumn Peltier of Wikwemikong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island in Ontario is already building her legacy of fighting for clean water.

A day after presenting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a gift, Peltier herself was given time at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly to have her say about pipelines and clean water.
]
autumnpeltier  2017  classideas  water  environment  youth  voice  indigenous  firstnations  canada 
july 2017 by robertogreco
The Myth of a Desert Metropolis: Los Angeles was not built in a desert, but are we making it one? – Boom California
"The question is posed like this. You’ve probably heard it or asked it yourself. Perhaps at a cocktail party. Probably not in LA—but hey, maybe even here in the heart of the folly.

Why on Earth would you build a city for millions of souls in a desert?

Someday, and maybe sooner rather than later, the water is going to run out, and Los Angeles will dry up and blow away.

Alex Prud’homme, author of Ripple Effect: The Fate of Water in the Twenty-First Century, prophesied that Perth, Australia, “could become the world’s first ‘ghost city’—a modern metropolis abandoned for lack of water.” And, he warned, “similar fates may await America’s booming desert cities: Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Los Angeles.”[1] Prud’homme’s description of Los Angeles as a “desert city” has a distinguished lineage. Boyle Workman, a 1930s booster, recalled Los Angeles’ “desert” beginnings when he described the Los Angeles Aqueduct as a triumph of human ingenuity and engineering. Workman praised “the men who diverted streams into ditches and fed waving fields of grain, vineyards, glossy orange groves and rich gardens that blossomed where once desert brooded.”[2] A 1977 article by the famed aqueduct critic Remi Nadeau was headlined “Los Angeles is by Far the Largest City Ever Built in a Desert.”[3] And nine years later in Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water,[4] Marc Reisner referred to Los Angeles as being second only to Cairo as the most populous desert city on earth.

The myth of desert Los Angeles suggests that if not for the Los Angeles Aqueduct—and if the city were ever to lose the water that comes from Owens Valley—LA could be Ozymandias: that “colossal wreck, boundless and bare,” around which “the lone and level sands stretch far away,” in the immortal words of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. But is Los Angeles the once and future desert? And should the LA Aqueduct be seen as Mulholland’s greatest gift? Or a curse because it gave rise to an ultimately unsustainable metropolis?

That Los Angeles is a “desert city” is, in large part, a myth. Writers have chipped away at the myth of the desert metropolis before.[5] Here my objective is not simply to dispel the myth but to explore the history that underlies the mythology and to consider its potential for becoming true—because sometimes myths have a strange way of becoming true. Could we, through our own actions, be transforming the myth of desert LA into a self-fulfilling prophecy? It turns out, we have in fact gone a long way down that road.



Water Wars, Real Estate and the Birth of the Desert City Myth

So, where did the “Los Angeles is a desert city” myth originate? Historian Ralph Shaffer has laid the blame on Harrison Gray Otis, the Chandler family, and their use of Los Angeles Times as a propaganda vehicle to secure water and ensure development.[12] However, I think it’s a little more complex than that. In the writings of city boosters during the first real estate boom in the 1880s, one finds no overt reference to Los Angeles as a desert. The following assessment in Los Angeles Times comes from 15 August 1886: “The water supply of Los Angeles is abundant, and while not everything that it should be or can be made, it is better than the water of Boston, Philadelphia, and other Eastern cities.”

There were, however, other forces at work that may have contributed to conceptions of Los Angeles as a desert at the time. The 1877 Desert Lands Act classified as desert those tracts of land that “will not, without irrigation, produce an agricultural crop.”[13] Private citizens could be granted title to such lands if they intended to “reclaim” them through the provision of irrigation waters. The area of Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles was a region of such activity, although it is arguably not a true desert either.[14]

Closer to Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley in the 1880s was explicitly referred to as desert that could be made to bloom with irrigation.[15] Here is one example from Los Angeles Times, on 4 June 1886: “It was said by somebody years ago, that the man who made a blade of grass grow where none grew before was a public benefactor. What can we say of the man who brings water from the bowels of the earth and causes a fresh, pure living stream to flow where there never was one since the world’s creation? Streams shall break out in the desert, and the thirsty lands become pools of water.” We begin to see the desert city myth taking hold in what would become the greater Los Angeles area, appropriately enough in the San Fernando Valley, where water from the LA Aqueduct would enable urban development in the twentieth century.[16]

The image of Los Angeles collapsing and returning to desert can be seen in a remarkable Los Angeles Times article, “When the Desert Came Back,” which was published29 May 1927, just twelve years after the aqueduct first brought water to the city. Nathaniel Davis’s ostensible subject was the Roman ruins at Timgad, Algeria, but he used the occasion to warn about the potential environmental collapse of Los Angeles and the need for the conservation of water and surrounding forest lands. Uncannily, his voice can seem to speak directly to us from over eighty years ago about topics starkly relevant today. As many would do after him, Davis employed the desert motif in his plea: “I stood on the heights of Hollywood’s hills and looked seaward and then toward the mountains. It is a stirring panorama, a drama in orchards, steel and stone, and brawn and brain and heart. And I was pessimistic enough to imagine that self-confident Los Angeles had forgotten Babylon, Palmyra, Palestine, China and Timgad. What I now saw was our own beloved land. And I saw sand dunes, sage brush, aridity, stately ruins, idle derricks, desolation.” Much of what has since been written about Los Angeles’ fated return to desert echoes this refrain.

What About William Mulholland?

But what about William Mulholland, the father of the LA Aqueduct? Did he ever subscribe to this view of the desert city? Or use it to sell the aqueduct? In 1905, Mulholland claimed that he originally thought the city would never need water from anywhere else. “Thirteen years ago Fred Eaton first told me that Los Angeles would one day secure its water supply from Owens Valley,” Mulholland told Los Angeles Times. “At that time the Los Angeles River was running 40,000,000 gallons of water daily, and we had a population of less than 50,000. I laughed at him. ‘We have enough water here in the river to supply the city for the next fifty years,’ I told him. ‘You are wrong,’ he said, ‘You have not lived in this country as long as I have. I was born here and have seen dry years, years you know nothing about. Wait and see.”’ Mulholland concluded: “Four years ago I began to discover that Fred was right. Our population climbed to the top and the bottom appeared to drop out of the river.”

The cause was drought. Mulholland’s case for the aqueduct was not built on making a barren desert bloom, but accommodating population growth and providing protection against drought, arguments that have been used to justify importing more water to the city ever since.[17]

In 1907, Mulholland urged voters to support bonds that were critical to building the aqueduct, arguing: “Our population has doubled since 1904, while our water supply has diminished. At times we have faced a veritable water famine.”[18] Drought, of course, was no stranger to Angelenos even prior to Mulholland’s arrival. A devastating drought from 1862 to 1865 eviscerated the region’s cattle-based economy.[19] A prolonged dry spell from 1893 to 1904, coupled with dramatic population growth—the city tripled in size during that period—motivated Mulholland’s quest, not a vision of creating a city in the desert.

Myth Made Real?

But are we turning the city into a desert? To see, let’s get a view from on high, above the city, from a satellite orbiting Earth, which gathered data to create an image while I was writing this piece. What has Los Angeles become since the pastoral eighteenth and nineteenth century views we encountered earlier?

Now we see the gray tones of our metropolitan area blanketing the entire Los Angeles basin, San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley to the north, and Inland Empire to the east. The San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, which seem so imposing from the ground and separate us from the true desert to the east, appear like tiny green islands in a sea of city and desert. Indeed, because it now veritably merges with Palmdale, Lancaster, Victorville, and Palm Springs, it is the growth of the megacity that encroaches upon the Mojave Desert and not vice versa. The cities merge physically and in terms of the daily flows of people, energy, and commerce. Taken as a whole, Greater Los Angeles has grown from its Mediterranean core outward and has merged with the true deserts to the east. The “fertile vales” that once separated city from desert are no more. This image shows a huge city that blends in with vast deserts to the north and east.

That is not all. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, to which Los Angeles has contributed directly, threaten to bring the true desert climate closer to the city’s core. A recent projection of the impacts of climate change shows the city of Los Angeles warming by some 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century, while foothill, mountain, and desert regions could warm even more.[20] At the same time, other models suggest that precipitation patterns are likely to change in ways that will reduce the snowpack in our mountains and diminish our water supply. The result is likely to be increasing general aridity in the Southwest, Southern California, and the Los Angeles region coupled with longer droughts that will tax an already stressed … [more]
losangeles  california  myth  2017  deserts  glenmacdonald  cities  climate  history  williammulholland  realestate  future  water  landscape  ralphshaffer  propaganda 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Six Strange Maps of California | KCET
"Disorientation is usually the opposite of what we hope for from a map, but allow these six to guide you somewhere unexpected. With their deliberate distortions and their fanciful imaginings, they'll challenge your preconceptions about the Golden State. That might leave you feeling a little disoriented, but sometimes losing your bearings is the best way to rediscover as familiar a place as California.

California as an Island…

California as New Albion…

Wet California…

When L.A. County Bordered New Mexico…

A State on Its Side…

California in 15 Million Years… "
california  mapping  maps  history  water  2016  1852  1860  naturalhistory  1650  1775  1851  centralvalley  newalbion  future 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Off the Grid on a Homemade Island - YouTube
"Floating off the coast of Vancouver Island, a 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, is a sustainable island fortress complete with a dance floor, art gallery and garden. For artists Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this is home: a labor of love 24 years in the making."

[via: http://www.designboom.com/design/freedom-cove-vancouver-island-floating-sustainable-island-08-12-2016/ ]
homes  britishcolumbia  water  art  artists  catherineking  wayneadams  vancouverisland  subsistenceliving  floating 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Iceland’s Water Cure - The New York Times
"Can the secret to the country’s happiness be found in its communal pools?"
iceland  swimming  water  pools  swimmingpools  2016 
april 2016 by robertogreco
USGS - Streamer
"Stream is a new way to visualize and understand water flow across America, With Stream you can explore our Nation’s major streams by tracing upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty. In addition to making maps, Streamer creates reports about your stream traces and the places they pass through.

Stream is fueled by fundamental map data [http://nationalmap.gov/small_scale/ ] for the United States at one million-scale from The National Map Small Scale Collection."
usgs  maps  mapping  us  streams  water  watershed  tools  classideas 
april 2016 by robertogreco
The Ominous Story of Syria's Climate Refugees - Scientific American
"Farmers who have escaped the battle-torn nation explain how drought and government abuse have driven social violence"



"Climatologists say Syria is a grim preview of what could be in store for the larger Middle East, the Mediterranean and other parts of the world. The drought, they maintain, was exacerbated by climate change. The Fertile Crescent—the birthplace of agriculture some 12,000 years ago—is drying out. Syria’s drought has destroyed crops, killed livestock and displaced as many as 1.5 million Syrian farmers. In the process, it touched off the social turmoil that burst into civil war, according to a study published in March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. A dozen farmers and former business owners like Ali with whom I recently spoke at camps for Syrian refugees say that’s exactly what happened.

The camp where I meet Ali in November, called Pikpa, is a gateway to Europe for asylum seekers who survive the perilous sea crossing from Turkey. He and his family, along with thousands of other fugitives from Syria’s devastated farmlands, represent what threatens to become a worldwide crush of refugees from countries where unstable and repressive governments collapse under pressure from a toxic mix of climate change, unsustainable farming practices and water mismanagement.

40 YEARS OF FURY

Syria’s water crisis is largely of its own making. Back in the 1970s, the military regime led by President Hafez al-Assad launched an ill-conceived drive for agricultural self-sufficiency. No one seemed to consider whether Syria had sufficient groundwater and rainfall to raise those crops. Farmers made up water shortages by drilling wells to tap the country’s underground water reserves. When water tables retreated, people dug deeper. In 2005 the regime of Assad’s son and successor, President Bashar al-Assad, made it illegal to dig new wells without a license issued personally, for a fee, by an official—but it was mostly ignored, out of necessity. “What’s happening globally—and particularly in the Middle East—is that groundwater is going down at an alarming rate,” says Colin Kelley, the PNAS study’s lead author and a PACE postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s almost as if we’re driving as fast as we can toward a cliff.”

Syria raced straight over that precipice. “The war and the drought, they are the same thing,” says Mustafa Abdul Hamid, a 30-year-old farmer from Azaz, near Aleppo. He talks with me on a warm afternoon at Kara Tepe, the main camp for Syrians on Lesbos. Next to an outdoor spigot, an olive tree is draped with drying baby clothes. Two boys run among the rows of tents and temporary shelters playing a game of war, with sticks for imaginary guns. “The start of the revolution was water and land,” Hamid says."
johnwendle  2015  syria  drought  climatechange  globalwarming  environment  climate  agriculture  water  crisis  refugees  land  revolution 
december 2015 by robertogreco
When San Diego Hired a Rainmaker a Century Ago, It Poured | JSTOR Daily
"Critics claimed Hatfield was a huckster who merely benefited from coincidence. As Spence pointed out, many so-called rainmakers “were little more than gamblers, betting their time and what reputation they may have had that rain would fall while or after they commenced their machinations.” By working only in the midst of dry spells, Hatfield could improve his odds of timing an impending rainfall. Indeed, Hatfield likely profited from his keen knowledge of meteorology and close examination of weather records. Knowing when storm fronts were imminent, he could target cities in advance of the rain and claim success when moisture fell from the skies.

Others saw Hatfield as a forerunner of modern-day cloud-seeding, in which chemicals such as dry ice and silver iodide—perhaps among those used by Hatfield—are introduced into cloud banks to foster the formation of ice crystals and raindrops. These chemicals provide particles around which water vapor can condense and eventually fall as rain once the droplets reach a sufficient size. The condensation process generates its own heat, which causes air to rise and fosters the growth of additional rain clouds.

While Hatfield relied on the ascension of chemical vapors into the skies, rainmaking went airborne with the advent of the aircraft. The U.S. Army Air Service began experiments to determine if rain could be produced from electrified sand in 1921; however, the modern science of rainmaking truly began in 1947 with Project Cirrus, a joint venture of General Electric and the U.S. military under the direction of Nobel laureate Irving Langmuir that seeded clouds with dry ice. “The results of Project Cirrus gave scientific credence to the mystic works of such pioneer rainmakers as California’s now famous Charles Hatfield,” wrote Donald D. Stark in the California Law Review.

A century after Hatfield’s exploits, the science of rainmaking and the effectiveness of cloud-seeding remain points of contention, as Virginia Simms wrote in a 2010 article in The International Lawyer. Even so, cloud-seeding is on the rise. A 2014 report from the World Meteorological Organization found that 52 countries had active cloud-seeding programs, up from 47 the previous year, and 39 weather-modification programs were in place west of the Mississippi River.

Even after its experience in 1915, San Diego continued to be seduced by the hope offered by rainmakers. Incredibly, in 1961, the city council considered hiring Edmond Jeffery, who promised he could make it rain 40 inches in 40 days for a fee of $8,000. This time, with memories of “Hatfield’s Flood” still echoing in their minds, San Diego’s councilors refused the offer."
sandiego  california  drought  history  charleshatfield  rain  water  via:vruba  1915  1961  edmondjeffery  cloudseeding 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Thirst-quenching as Los Angeles heats up: Next Wave @ UCLA | News | Archinect
"Last week, UCLA’s Hammer Museum hosted the final iteration of its 2015 program "Next Wave: Quality, Quantity, and Accessibility of Water in the 21st Century," a robust discussion series that has gathered experts in various fields to explicate and consider the most pressing issues surrounding water in the 21st century. This final event, subtitled "Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles," grappled with issues closest to home, largely under the purview of the goals articulated by the ambitious "Sustainable LA Grand Challenge," a UCLA initiative dedicated to achieving water and energy sustainability in the county by 2020.

Claudia Bestor, the director of public programs at the Hammer, began the evening by introducing the speakers: Mark Gold, Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability (among other titles) at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, UCLA; Alex Hall, the faculty director at the UCLA Center for Climate Change Solutions; Eric Hoek, the founder and CEO of Water Planet, Inc. and a professor (currently on leave) of engineering at UCLA; and Liz Croon, the Water Policy Advisor for the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti.

According to Bestor, this is “a group of people using their collaborative brain power to survive and even thrive in the face of increasing temperatures and drought." Their overarching goal is for Los Angeles to having a 100% local water supply in the future.

Each participant gave a short survey of the issues most relevant to their area of expertise before they sat down for a panel and answered audience questions. Gold, who was also the moderator of the panel, was the first to speak and provided essential facts that contextualized the larger conversation:

• As the global climate warms, the region is projected to get 4-5 degrees hotter on average, varying wildly depending where you live. This is largely unavoidable, involving greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

• Currently, in Los Angeles, only about 11% of water comes from local sources.

• LA County uses about 1.5 million acre feet per year of water. The city's water consumption counts for about 1/3 of that.

• The region receives about 1.6 million acre feet per year of rain, but the vast majority of this is wasted.

• The City of LA's sewage treatment plants could potentially yield about 240,000 acre feet / year of recycled water.

• A new stormwater capture master plan has the potential to provide somewhere between 200,000-300,000 acre ft./year of water, which could be captured and fed into the ground or used for irrigation.

• There are vast potentials for using aquifers for groundwater storage, but they are currently heavily polluted.

• Without even bringing desalination or grey water reclamation into the conversation, 100% local water supplies are feasible.

• Los Angeles has achieved some success in reducing its water consumption – currently 107 gallons/capita/day – but this can be reduced even further. In parts of Western Europe and Australia, the per capita water consumption is only 50 gallons per day.

"Just realize, it's not technology that's the biggest hold up," Gold stated, articulating a sentiment that was repeated throughout the evening. "It's probably governance."

Alex Hall followed, discussing the local and regional implications that can be expected of global warming.

“The Sierra Nevada snowpack is an especially important resource in our current water management regime," Hall began. "It acts as a natural reservoir, storing water as snow and ice until it gradually melts throughout the spring and into summer.”

Currently, the Sierra Nevada snowpack provides about 60% of the region's water, but it's a resource highly vulnerable to climate change. Hall explained that under a "business as usual" scenario, we can expect that more than half of the volume of the snowpack will be lost by the end of the century. Even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, significant loss will be essentially inevitable.

One of the main reasons for such a significant loss is the "snow-albedo feedback cycle," in which loss of snow cover contributes to increased local warming as the exposed land absorbs more solar radiation. In turn, this leads to greater snow loss. Additionally, global warming will lead to more precipitation as rain rather than snow, overtaxing infrastructure like dams. In short: "non-local resource is really at risk, and it will become more and more expensive as we continue to rely on it.”

But rainfall in the local region, on the other hand, will likely be consistent despite temperature increases, even if it appears more often in the form of extreme weather events that are more and more variable. With that in mind, higher temperatures also result in increased demand for water, and evaporation rates increase exponentially.

With these phenomena in mind, Hall stated that it was unlikely we could hope to rely on Sierra Nevada snowpacks, and rather called for more stormwater capture, as well as the priorities underlying how we use the water we have.

Eric Hoek went on next, describing himself as "the technology guy." He enumerated the complex relationships between energy production and water use (the energy-water nexus), asking, “How do we enable water technology to exist and be useful while maybe conserving some energy in the process?”

Hoek and his collaborators have pioneered the invention and development of new technologies to this end. Notably, they created a new type of reverse-osmosis membrane that greatly improves the efficiency of desalination.

Hoek also touched on the "energy-water-food nexus," such as the fact that about two-thirds of water is devoted just for irrigation, and that 80% of water consumption world-wide is for food production. He advocated for employing advanced technologies to greatly reduce energy and water usage in agriculture, through indoor, efficient farming.

Liz Croon, the first-ever water policy advisor for the Mayor's Office, was the final panelist to speak. Croon outlined the City's current initiatives, in particular the Sustainable City Plan, which she called "a very comprehensive roadmap to how we get to both shorter and long-term goals.”

She noted existing initiatives that have been successful, such as rebates for homeowners to replace lawns with native plants and to install cisterns. At the same time, she acknowledged difficulties, such as the potential to lose momentum as the heavy rains of the impending El Niño may make people lose sight of the overarching reality of the drought.

For Croon, the path to 100% local water and sustainable resource use must involve issues pertaining to economics and social equity alongside the ecological questions. “There’s challenges, but there’s also a lot of potential," she stated.

To watch the full video, or listen to the Q+A, visit the Hammer Museum's website here."
losangeles  climatechange  globalwarming  drought  water  claudiabestor  markgold  erikhoek  alexhall  lizcroon 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Internet is Like Water — Global, with Extreme Differences in Access — Medium
"Turn on a faucet in Manhattan, and you can be pretty certain the water you get out of the tap is potable. Though famously a dirty city, New York City provides some of the cleanest water in the United States, easy and at ready for those who live there. Internet access in much of the city is a little like that, too. Turn on your phone or tap into a wireless network, and data flow through seamlessly, thanks to powerful infrastructure that’s largely invisible to the average user.

The experience of the internet in a developing country can be quite different. Take, for instance, Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Many people access the internet via pocket wifi routers, which can be more readily available than physical landline connections. These routers work semi-reliably — in spurts, rather than a constant stream — , and people often carry multiple routers and network subscriptions to optimize for the best flow. On occasion, and sometimes far too frequently, the routers don’t work at all.

A young woman in Uganda gathers water from a well to carry back to her family. Photo by the author.

In other places, like Beijing, the internet and its infrastructure can be fairly reliable. But what comes through the pipes may need to be questioned and filtered. Many citizens of means curse the Great Firewall for slowing down or blocking entirely their access to the web, and they find other ways to go online, thanks to VPNs, proxies and other services. Most, however, live with an internet that is censored by both algorithmic and human means; depending on their priorities, this may or may not matter. But the fact remains that choice of what to access is limited.

And in a more rural area like the Oyam District of northern Uganda, internet access can often look more like a well. As I shared in a recent essay for The New Inquiry and a talk at the Theorizing the Web conference this year, “sneakernets” of data crop up in unexpected places. In very rural, no-bandwidth contexts, people find ways to trade data thanks to Bluetooth transfers, USB sticks, SD cards and other methods. The access point to the formal backbone of the internet might be hundreds of miles away, and in this regard, data is transferred hand to hand, rather than node to node. (This is literally how many rural Ugandans access their water, too.)

In other words, data flow, data spurt and data can be gathered. This metaphor matters because, just like with water access, the way people access the internet is highly stratified. Understanding this should inform how we think about policies and development strategies, especially as the web extends into the global south.



1. Shifting from a connectivity binary to a spectrum gives us a much richer view of the diversity of ways people access the internet.



The connectivity binary is the view that there is a single mode of connecting to the internet — one person, one device, one always-on subscription— rather than a spectrum.
The connectivity binary makes other modes of access invisible.



2. The internet probably has a larger impact than is currently measured, and we need better maps that reflect this.



3. In the face of scarcity, early internet access is often motivated by joy, social connection and entertainment — more so than education or politics per se.

…"
2015  anxiaomina  internet  infrastructure  water  nickseaver  sneakernet  access  uganda  beijing  china  philippines  nyc  us 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Imperial Designs | The Unforgiving Minute
[via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/667000828113260544 ]

"[image]

Here’s an example: the Chand Baori Stepwell in Rajasthan, built in the 8th and 9th centuries. (You can watch a video about Chand Baori, and another about stepwells, based on an article by journalist Victoria Lautman.) Stepwells were a critical part of water management, particularly in western India and other dry areas of Asia, the earliest known stepwell forms date from around 600AD. The Mughal empire encouraged stepwell construction, but the administrators British empire decided that stepwells should be replaced with pumped and piped water systems modelled on those developed in the UK – a ‘superior’ system. It was of course also a system that moved from a communal and social model of water management to a centralised model of water management – and the British loved centralised management, because it’s easier to control.

[image]

Here’s another model of water management – the Playpump, which received a lot of media attention and donor support after it was proposed in 2005. The basic idea was that kids playing on the big roundabout would pump water up from the well for the whole village. This doesn’t seem very imperial at first sight: it looks like these kids are having fun, and the village is getting water. Unfortunately it was a massive failure because it flat out didn’t work, although the Playpumps organisation is still around; if you want to know more about that failure, read this article in the Guardian and this lessons learned from the Case Foundation, and listen to this Frontline radio show on PBS. TL;DR: the Playpump didn’t work because it was designed by outsiders who didn’t understand the communities: a classic case of design imperialism. There are lots of examples just like this, where the failure is easy to see but the imperialism is more difficult to spot.

About 5 years ago there was a big hoo-hah about an article called “Is Humanitarian Design the New Imperialism?” by Bruce Nussbaum. Nussbaum accused people and organisations working on design that would alleviate poverty as yet another imperial effort. This depends on defining “empire” as a power relationship – an unequal power relationship, where the centre holds the power (and resources) and the periphery will benefit from those resources only when the centre decides to give it to them. At the time, there was a lot of discussion around this idea, but that discussion has died now. That’s not because it’s no longer an issue: it’s because a new imperial model, more subtle than Nussbaum’s idea, has successfully taken root, and few people in the design world even realise it."



"Q&A:

During the talk I mentioned that I was planning to show video of robot dogs, but I didn’t because they freak me out. They don’t really freak me out – I think they’re astonishing feats of technology – but what they say about our attitudes towards warfare worries me. They’re being built by Boston Dynamics, who started out under military contracts from DARPA, have recently been acquired by Google X, and who post a ton of promo videos. Particularly funny is this supercut video of robots falling over.

One question raised the issue of whether our education system enables people to recognise the trap that they might be in, and give them the tools to make their own way. The short answer is no. The industrial model of education is not equipped for the 21st century, although I remain hopeful that the internet will also disrupt education as it has other sectors. At the same time I am sceptical of the impact of the most-hyped projects (such as the Khan Academy and the wide range of MOOCs) – it seems to me that we need something that learns from a wider range of educational approaches.

We also discussed whether there is an underlying philosophy to the invisible empire of the internet. I believe that there is, although it isn’t necessarily made explicit. One early artefact of this philosophy is A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace; one early analysis of aspects of it is The Californian Ideology. Evgeny Morozov is interesting on this topic, but with a pinch of salt, since in a relatively short time he has gone from incisive commentator to intellectual troll. It’s interesting that a few Silicon Valley big beasts are trained in philosophy, although to be honest this training doesn’t seem to be reflected in their actual philosophy."

[See also: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2009/nov/24/africa-charity-water-pumps-roundabouts
via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/667031543416623105 ]
designimperialism  design  via:tealtan  humanitariandesign  2015  africa  paulcurrion  control  colonialism  technology  technosolutionism  evgenymorozov  siliconvalley  philosophy  politics  mooc  moocs  doublebind  education  bostondynamics  googlex  darpa  robots  yuvalnoahharari  californianideology  wikihouse  globalconstructionset  3dprinting  disobedientobjects  anarchism  anarchy  legibility  internet  online  web  nezaralsayyad  smarthphones  mobile  phones  benedictevans  migration  refugees  fiveeyes  playpumps  water  chandbaori  trevorpaglen 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Orion Magazine | Thoughts in the Presence of Fear
"I. The time will soon come when we will not be able to remember the horrors of September 11 without remembering also the unquestioning technological and economic optimism that ended on that day.

II. This optimism rested on the proposition that we were living in a “new world order” and a “new economy” that would “grow” on and on, bringing a prosperity of which every new increment would be “unprecedented”.

III. The dominant politicians, corporate officers, and investors who believed this proposition did not acknowledge that the prosperity was limited to a tiny percent of the world’s people, and to an ever smaller number of people even in the United States; that it was founded upon the oppressive labor of poor people all over the world; and that its ecological costs increasingly threatened all life, including the lives of the supposedly prosperous.

IV. The “developed” nations had given to the “free market” the status of a god, and were sacrificing to it their farmers, farmlands, and communities, their forests, wetlands, and prairies, their ecosystems and watersheds. They had accepted universal pollution and global warming as normal costs of doing business.

V. There was, as a consequence, a growing worldwide effort on behalf of economic decentralization, economic justice, and ecological responsibility. We must recognize that the events of September 11 make this effort more necessary than ever. We citizens of the industrial countries must continue the labor of self-criticism and self-correction. We must recognize our mistakes.

VI. The paramount doctrine of the economic and technological euphoria of recent decades has been that everything depends on innovation. It was understood as desirable, and even necessary, that we should go on and on from one technological innovation to the next, which would cause the economy to “grow” and make everything better and better. This of course implied at every point a hatred of the past, of all things inherited and free. All things superseded in our progress of innovations, whatever their value might have been, were discounted as of no value at all.

VII. We did not anticipate anything like what has now happened. We did not foresee that all our sequence of innovations might be at once overridden by a greater one: the invention of a new kind of war that would turn our previous innovations against us, discovering and exploiting the debits and the dangers that we had ignored. We never considered the possibility that we might be trapped in the webwork of communication and transport that was supposed to make us free.

VIII. Nor did we foresee that the weaponry and the war science that we marketed and taught to the world would become available, not just to recognized national governments, which possess so uncannily the power to legitimate large-scale violence, but also to “rogue nations”, dissident or fanatical groups and individuals – whose violence, though never worse than that of nations, is judged by the nations to be illegitimate.

IX. We had accepted uncritically the belief that technology is only good; that it cannot serve evil as well as good; that it cannot serve our enemies as well as ourselves; that it cannot be used to destroy what is good, including our homelands and our lives.

X. We had accepted too the corollary belief that an economy (either as a money economy or as a life-support system) that is global in extent, technologically complex, and centralized is invulnerable to terrorism, sabotage, or war, and that it is protectable by “national defense”

XI. We now have a clear, inescapable choice that we must make. We can continue to promote a global economic system of unlimited “free trade” among corporations, held together by long and highly vulnerable lines of communication and supply, but now recognizing that such a system will have to be protected by a hugely expensive police force that will be worldwide, whether maintained by one nation or several or all, and that such a police force will be effective precisely to the extent that it oversways the freedom and privacy of the citizens of every nation.

XII. Or we can promote a decentralized world economy which would have the aim of assuring to every nation and region a local self-sufficiency in life-supporting goods. This would not eliminate international trade, but it would tend toward a trade in surpluses after local needs had been met.

XIII. One of the gravest dangers to us now, second only to further terrorist attacks against our people, is that we will attempt to go on as before with the corporate program of global “free trade”, whatever the cost in freedom and civil rights, without self-questioning or self-criticism or public debate.

XIV. This is why the substitution of rhetoric for thought, always a temptation in a national crisis, must be resisted by officials and citizens alike. It is hard for ordinary citizens to know what is actually happening in Washington in a time of such great trouble; for all we know, serious and difficult thought may be taking place there. But the talk that we are hearing from politicians, bureaucrats, and commentators has so far tended to reduce the complex problems now facing us to issues of unity, security, normality, and retaliation.

XV. National self-righteousness, like personal self-righteousness, is a mistake. It is misleading. It is a sign of weakness. Any war that we may make now against terrorism will come as a new installment in a history of war in which we have fully participated. We are not innocent of making war against civilian populations. The modern doctrine of such warfare was set forth and enacted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who held that a civilian population could be declared guilty and rightly subjected to military punishment. We have never repudiated that doctrine.

XVI. It is a mistake also – as events since September 11 have shown – to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a global economy and at the same time act exclusively in its own interest by abrogating its international treaties and standing apart from international cooperation on moral issues.

XVII. And surely, in our country, under our Constitution, it is a fundamental error to suppose that any crisis or emergency can justify any form of political oppression. Since September 11, far too many public voices have presumed to “speak for us” in saying that Americans will gladly accept a reduction of freedom in exchange for greater “security”. Some would, maybe. But some others would accept a reduction in security (and in global trade) far more willingly than they would accept any abridgement of our Constitutional rights.

XVIII. In a time such as this, when we have been seriously and most cruelly hurt by those who hate us, and when we must consider ourselves to be gravely threatened by those same people, it is hard to speak of the ways of peace and to remember that Christ enjoined us to love our enemies, but this is no less necessary for being difficult.

XIX. Even now we dare not forget that since the attack of Pearl Harbor – to which the present attack has been often and not usefully compared – we humans have suffered an almost uninterrupted sequence of wars, none of which has brought peace or made us more peaceable.

XX. The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual “war to end war?”

XXI. What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being. We should recognize that while we have extravagantly subsidized the means of war, we have almost totally neglected the ways of peaceableness. We have, for example, several national military academies, but not one peace academy. We have ignored the teachings and the examples of Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and other peaceable leaders. And here we have an inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money.

XXII. The key to peaceableness is continuous practice. It is wrong to suppose that we can exploit and impoverish the poorer countries, while arming them and instructing them in the newest means of war, and then reasonably expect them to be peaceable.

XXIII. We must not again allow public emotion or the public media to caricature our enemies. If our enemies are now to be some nations of Islam, then we should undertake to know those enemies. Our schools should begin to teach the histories, cultures, arts, and language of the Islamic nations. And our leaders should have the humility and the wisdom to ask the reasons some of those people have for hating us.

XXIV. Starting with the economies of food and farming, we should promote at home, and encourage abroad, the ideal of local self-sufficiency. We should recognize that this is the surest, the safest, and the cheapest way for the world to live. We should not countenance the loss or destruction of any local capacity to produce necessary goods.

XXV. We should reconsider and renew and extend our efforts to protect the natural foundations of the human economy: soil, water, and air. We should protect every intact ecosystem and watershed that we have left, and begin restoration of those that have been damaged.

XXVI. The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or “accessing” what we now … [more]
via:anne  education  capitalism  economics  wendellberry  peace  war  terrorism  consumerism  food  farming  sustainability  9/11  violence  humanism  environment  children  parenting  responsibility  military  self-sufficiency  technology  technosolutionism  progress  innovation  nature  decentralization  newworldorder  growth  degrowth  prosperity  labor  work  poverty  freemarket  business  corporatism  freetrade  vulnerability  freedom  civilrights  government  security  peaceableness  islam  soil  air  water  thrift  care  caring  saving  conservation  agriculture 
november 2015 by robertogreco
SAIC - Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects: Kunlé Adeyemi
"Kunlé Adeyemi is an architect, urbanist, and designer. His recent work includes Makoko Floating School, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon in the heart of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project, African Water Cities, being developed by NLÉ, an architecture, design, and urbanism practice founded by Adeyemi in 2010 with a focus on developing cities. NLÉ is currently developing a number of civic, research, and architectural projects in Africa—one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center, the amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA he led the design, development, and execution of several large prestigious projects in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These include the Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower in China, Qatar National Library in Doha, and Prada Transformer in Seoul. He served as a member of the International Advisory Council for the World Design Capital 2014 and a juror for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. For the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, on view October 3, 2015–January 3, 2016, Adeyemi has partnered with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to develop and build a functioning vendor kiosk for exhibition in Millennium Park. After the Biennial exhibition, the kiosk will be moved and installed permanently on the Chicago Lakefront."
architecture  kunléadeyemi  schooldesign  schools  makokofloatingschool  lagos  nigeria  africa  nlé  water  cities  urban  urbanism 
october 2015 by robertogreco
On the Political Dimensions of Solarpunk — Medium
[via: http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/131978924858/dont-ask-permission-from-a-state-beholden-to]

"Don’t ask permission from a state beholden to oligarchs, and definitely don’t expect those oligarchs to do any of this for you. Guerilla gardening is the model, but look further. Guerilla solar panel installation. Guerilla water treatment facility restoration. Guerilla magnificent temple to the human spirit construction. Guerilla carbon sequestration megastructure creation.

Figure out what a community needs to be prosperous, peaceful and sustainable in as long a term as you can wrap your head around, and start building whatever piece is most in reach before the absent state notices. Doing so just might create pockets of more effective, horizontal politics. As the state wanes, these pockets can grow in size and influence, creating a better world even if some government claims the authority of law and holds a monopoly on violence.

Now, political choices got us into this mess, and political choices could get us out. I for one argue for a comprehensive set of reforms that were inspired by the discussions held around the world during Occupy: a global debt jubilee to free both countries and individuals from debts that impoverish and enslave them; a tax on extreme wealth to control inequality and rein in the power of oligarchs; a guaranteed basic income to provide for the poor, the infirm and those more useful as caregivers, artists and thinkers than employees of businesses; a dramatic reduction in the workweek to slow down unsustainable levels of economic expansion and to eliminate the countless “bullshit jobs” that serve no function but to bore those who hold them; the regulation or even abolition of usury (once considered as great a sin as slavery), so that investments in sustainable infrastructure that will pay off in cathedral time are not hampered by interest payments that will eventually exceed principal."



"As I argued in my discussion of cities, solarpunk should be careful not to idealize either the gothic high tech or the favela chic. No matter how many High Line-style parks or vertical farms they build, Manhattan will be useless if it is only filled with the luxury condos of absentee financiers. And favelas may be full of jugaad-innovation and dense with diverse entrepreneurialism, but they feature a fatal flaw: no fire codes. Slums are fascinating from a design perspective right up until they burn down or wash away. In a world of more extreme weather, disasters will strike down favelas before their recycling-centric, low-carbon lifestyles can save the climate.

Instead, I like the idea of focusing on large-scale infrastructure projects that will provide value for communities into the long term. A seed bank; a hyper-dense vertical permaculture farm engineered for carbon fixing; a massive, low-maintenance desalination system; a space elevator. These projects could themselves be the organizing principle around which unique solarpunk communities are organized."



"I’ve seen many people describe solarpunk as optimistic. My last suggestion is this: don’t be optimistic, be hopeful. As Vaclav Havel explained: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Havel, an artist turned activist turned statesman who led his nation out of a time of crisis, in many ways embodies the transformational power of ideas and aesthetics — and thus the potential of a movement like solarpunk to do real good in the world.

This essay has been long, and it has discussed many troubling situations and possibilities. I wrote these things because I think it is important for any cohesive body of political thought to contrast what it wants with what it opposes: for transparency and privacy, against surveillance and deception; for conservation and abundance, against hoarding and exploitation; for neighborhoods and collaboratives, against gangs and police.

I also wrote this because I believe the enormity of our problems doesn’t have to paralyze us. Quite the opposite: seeing the world as it is is vital if you are going to figure out how it could be. Now is the moment to be galvanized, to know that we are on to something, and to make acting on these ideas a real part of our lives."
solarpunk  2015  andrewdanahudson  politics  favelachic  gothichightech  recycling  diy  optimism  hopefulness  scale  activism  jugaad  infrastructure  organization  horizontality  sustainability  solar  water  climatechange  gardening  hope  refugees  longnow  longnowfoundation  williamgibson  madmax  paolobacigalupi  bladerunner  overconsumption  overpopulation  thecomingrevolution  cities  urban  urbanism  brucesterling  drought  blackswans 
october 2015 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
6, 55: Dilution of precision
"Some things are hard to understand until you’ve stood in them. Anthropologist Genevieve Bell (at 1:09, in the third video down) told executives at Intel how small living spaces in China could be, but when they went and stood in the places that she had described clearly, they were still surprised. “I can touch all the walls!”

Travel is a way of accumulating this embodied knowledge. Gazing up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Climbing up the passageway in the Great Pyramid at Giza. Standing in the shadow of redwoods. When we decided to take a weekend roadtrip in California, we really didn’t have to discuss what we’d go see: both of us have been thinking a lot about infrastructure and about the California drought, so we drew up a tentative plan, woke up early, and headed east from Santa Cruz towards Interstate Highway 5, to visit one of the most significant pieces of water infrastructure in California."



"Infrastructure is the set of systems that enable you to do what you do that you never think about. Power, water, heating, communications – all the things that (if you’re lucky enough) is just piped to your house – are never noticed until something goes wrong. As Warren Ellis put it this morning, “The victory condition [of utilities] is silence.” Then there’s the larger-scale infrastructure, like the highway system. We spent a lot of time on I-5, an economic backbone of the West Coast, running from Tijuana, Mexico to Blaine, Canada. But because it’s not in crisis, we don’t think about it much. We don’t take a weekend to stand on hills overlooking it. Likewise GPS, and stable currency, and mobile phone coverage."

[Also available here: http://tinyletter.com/metafoundry/letters/metafoundry-35-dilution-of-precision ]
perspective  infrastructure  2015charlieloyd  debchachra  2015  californiaaqueduct  california  water  californiastatewaterproject  agriculture  centralvalley  sanjoaquinvalley  sanluisreservoir  perception  scale  warrenellis  landscape  genevievebell  china  housing  i5  interstate5  i-5  food  farming 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Wings Over Water - YouTube
"Relying on precipitation, gravity flow, exquisite engineering and ingenuity is the California State Water Project. Come join us for an extraordinary flight on Wings Over Water."
water  california  infrastructure  2012  californiastatewaterproject 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Have You Eaten Your Last Avocado? -- Grub Street
"If the most dire climate predictions for California prove prescient — those that foresee, for example, a 30-, 40-, even a 100-year drought — the avocado is not the agricultural product most likely to disappear from the state. (That would be dairy, which is water-intensive and not geographically dependent.) It’s not the food most likely to be permanently priced out of your diet. (That would be almonds — 99 percent of which come from California, and the wholesale price of which has more than tripled since 2001.) But if you draw a Venn diagram with “West Coast drought-affected agriculture” in one circle and “East Coast foodie-fueled manias” in the other, smack-dab in the ovoid intersection of these circles would sit the avocado. And so, having only just recently become a tattoo-worthy symbol of foodie obsessiveness, the avocado could become the symbol of a pre-climate-change era, when we could reasonably expect anything, from anywhere, at any time, to appear on our dinner plate. “Once it hits Chipotle, people think, Wow, we better do something about this climate-change thing,” says Eric Holthaus, a climatologist who writes for Slate. “You can see all these satellite photos of melting Arctic ice, and read reports about changes in the jet stream, but when it starts hitting Chipotle, that’s when people pay attention.”"
avocados  fallbrook  sandiego  water  drought  california  2015  agriculture  food  adamsternbergh 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Apocalyptic Schadenfreude — Matter — Medium
"In other words, even if this drought is a sign of climates to come, California has plenty of water to support its lifestyle. It just won’t have enough to support its crops, without significant changes to make those farms more water-efficient. It seems bizarre that a region like the Central Valley with just six million people — barely more than 10% of the state’s population — should use so much of the water. But then you realize that the vast majority of people benefiting from that water don’t live in California at all. The Central Valley takes up only 1% of the landmass of the United States, but it produces 25% of the food we eat, and almost half of the fruits or nuts we consume. California is running through its water supply because, for complicated historical and climatological reasons, it has taken on the burden of feeding the rest of the country. The average Times reader sneering at those desert lawns from the Upper West Side might want to think about the canned tomatoes, avocados, and almonds in his or her kitchen before denouncing the irresponsible lifestyles of the California emigres. Because the truth is California doesn’t have a water problem. We all do."
2015  california  drought  water  economics  farming  agriculture  stevenjohnson  efficiency  deserts  centralvalley  climate  climatechange  nytimes  food 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Seriously, Stop Demonizing Almonds
"Look at this report using Department of Commerce figures which shows how demand from places like the UAE have exploded over the last few years—which have also been the years of extreme and exceptional drought in California. Now look at how much more alfalfa has been going to China. This is due to the trade deficit with the US, which hit a record high last year. The US is importing so many manufactured goods from China that the containers are often going back empty. It’s a steal to ship anything in them. It is actually cheaper to ship alfalfa to Beijing than it is to truck it from one side of the state to the other. This isn’t improving the economic standing of the US.

The equivalent of 100 billion gallons of water per year is packaged up in shipping containers and floated over the Pacific Ocean.

Californians don’t get any healthy local food, and California doesn’t get a healthy local economy.

These countries don’t have the water or the space to grow alfalfa, and California is sacrificing both to feed their growing penchant for beef and milk. Effectively they have outsourced their own droughts to California. Growing Asia-bound alfalfa is by far the poorest use of our resources no matter which way you slice it. And soon, it might be too dry here to grow it at all.

Suddenly, almonds are starting to look really, really good."
2015  drought  agriculture  farming  water  alissawalker  food  exports  commerce  california  almonds 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change
"Would any sane PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption — changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much — and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect?Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption — residential, by private car, and so on — is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one — if we avidly participate in the industrial economy — we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world — none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problem — and this is another big one — is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned — Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States — who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems."
via:caseygollan  2015  change  politicalchange  personalchange  environment  sustainability  environmentalism  derrickjensen  capitalism  consumerism  globalwarming  climatechange  reistance  inconvenienttruth  water  energy  consumption  kirckpatricksale  waste  simplicity  politics  doublebinds  success  wealth  culture  industrialism  activism  purity  morality  injustice  oppression  power  integrity  systemsthinking  systems  misdirection  2009  policy  organization  civilization  individualism  collectivism 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Bolivia passes "Law of Mother Earth" which gives rights to our planet as a living system | Minds
"The Law of Mother Earth ("Ley de Derechos de La Madre Tierra") holds the land as sacred and holds it as a living system with rights to be protected from exploitation, and creates 11 distinguished rights for the environment. It was passed by Bolivia's Plurinational Legislative Assembly. This 10 article law is derived from the first part of a longer draft bill, drafted and released by the Pact of Unity by November 2010. Can we please spread this law? There has to be a way for the free market to interoperate with reverence for this planet. Period.

In accordance with the philosophy of Pachamama, it states, "She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation."

"It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all," said Vice-President Alvaro García Linera. "It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration."

The law enumerates seven specific rights to which Mother Earth and her constituent life systems, including human communities, are entitled to:

• To life: It is the right to the maintenance of the integrity of life systems and natural processes which sustain them, as well as the capacities and conditions for their renewal

• To the Diversity of Life: It is the right to the preservation of the differentiation and variety of the beings that comprise Mother Earth, without being genetically altered, nor artificially modified in their structure, in such a manner that threatens their existence, functioning and future potential

• To water: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of water to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components

• To clean air: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of air to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components

• To equilibrium: It is the right to maintenance or restoration of the inter-relation, interdependence, ability to complement and functionality of the components of Mother Earth, in a balanced manner for the continuation of its cycles and the renewal of its vital processes

• To restoration: It is the right to the effective and opportune restoration of life systems affected by direct or indirect human activities

• To live free of contamination: It is the right for preservation of Mother Earth and any of its components with regards to toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_Rights_of_Mother_Earth

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/bolivias-law-of-mother-earth_n_848966.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/science/earth/14bolivia.html

http://www.newser.com/story/116229/bolivia-to-give-nature-same-rights-as-humans.html "
bolivia  law  legal  environment  sustainability  motherearth  2014  air  water  life  biodiversity  cleanair  restoration 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Hustle and Flow: Here's Who Really Controls California's Water | Mother Jones
"The Golden State's historic drought has made these water power brokers more powerful than ever."
water  california  power  control  2014 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Science Studio
"The Weight of Mountains

Here’s a short film by a children’s book illustrator about “the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed, based upon the work of British geographer L. Dudley Stamp.” It’s eye-meltingly gorgeous and starkly scientific. The tone is meditative and incantatory, turning geological terms into epic poetry. If you’ve ever wanted to read John McPhee’s “Annals of the Former World” but only have 11 minutes, watch this."

[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/87651855

"This is a short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. It is based upon the work of British geographer L. Dudley Stamp, and was shot in Iceland.

Physical geography and geology is an enormous and fascinating subject, and this film only touches upon the surface of the discipline. For those who wish to further advance their knowledge in this field, additional reading and research is recommended.

The film was created as part of The Weight of Mountains filmmaker residency program. For more information please visit twom.is/

Animation courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio" ]
via:vruba  2014  johnpablus  ldudleystamp  mountains  earth  science  earthscience  landscape  geology  film  scale  height  geography  history  naturalhistory  oceans  atmosphere  platemovement  platetectonics  sun  frost  eathering  wind  weather  erosion  glaciers  ice  rain  water  denudation  nature  gravity  johnmcphee 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Why Light Inspires Ritual - Issue 11: Light - Nautilus
"For Aboriginal cultures, light is a physical and spiritual guide."
"Tell me about how light creates “wonder.”
Wonder comes from all sorts of light. People tend to appreciate unusual light phenomena such as sunrises and sunsets, rays from behind clouds, exciting color contrasts, and rainbows. And while cultures vary, our shared sensory avenues for engaging with the world explain why we’re similarly affected by light. The Aboriginal people in Queensland, Australia, where I have worked for many years, may not have the same conversations that we do about the beauty of light and water, but they do sit and gaze at water bodies. And they generate ideas about what water and light mean.

What are some of these ideas?
The notion of visibility and invisibility is central to Aboriginal thinking. There is the invisible and immaterial world that is held within the land where ancestral beings reside. From there, they generate life and emanate power upward into the visible material world. The notion that it’s the ray of light that rouses the spirit is all around their mythology. Even the words they use to describe the spiritual movement from the ancestor to a human being can be translated roughly into English as “becoming visible” or “becoming material.”

So light makes the Aboriginal ancestral beings visible?
Yes, and it’s usually done through the interplay with water. Aboriginal Australia’s major ancestral being, the Rainbow Serpent is, in a sense, composed of water and its power is emitted by light or shine. Many other ancestral powers are contained in sacred water spots that are brought into the visible world through the shimmering water surface. A similar idea applies to rock and body art: The dots and patterns painted on the landscape or on the body represent the emanation of ancestral forces—their shimmer makes them manifest. In songs and stories too, “things that shine” are quite literally powerful and alive. The process of retelling the myths is meant to evoke the ancestors."



"Is there a reason why people are riveted by light and water?
In many cultures, but especially in the West, we tend to privilege our sense of sight above the other senses. Water’s capacity to reflect light is a particularly powerful sensory stimulus. So if you add together the fact that we prize visual experience, and that water and light in combination can produce large-scale, intricate, rapidly-moving patterns and effects with elements of both order and disorder, it seems reasonable to speculate that this is particularly stimulating and engaging to the brain, evoking something for which we can use the term wonder. There is, at least, a good research question here.

Is there a way to measure people’s emotional response to light and water?
A fruitful line of research, I think, would be comparing ethnographic accounts of watching the play of light on water with neuroscientific research on how light affects the eye, the brain, and the body. I suspect that the shimmer of light on water echoes what is going on inside our heads. This constant neurological “fizz” or “shimmering” of thoughts might remind us of the mesmerizing effect of sitting beside a glittering body of water, watching the light sparkle on the surface. This remains rather speculative, but when I interview people in cultures such as ours about their experiences with water, they very often talk about its powerful mesmerizing or hypnotic effects. The nascent science of how light and water affect the mind makes me understand better why indigenous peoples, such as the Aboriginal Australians, would have practices that involve it."
veronicastrang  light  water  casparhenderson  2014  culture  anthropology  australia  aboriginal 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Forget Shorter Showers | Derrick Jensen | Orion Magazine
"WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.

Or let’s talk water. We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen.

Or let’s talk energy. Kirkpatrick Sale summarized it well: “For the past 15 years the story has been the same every year: individual consumption—residential, by private car, and so on—is never more than about a quarter of all consumption; the vast majority is commercial, industrial, corporate, by agribusiness and government [he forgot military]. So, even if we all took up cycling and wood stoves it would have a negligible impact on energy use, global warming and atmospheric pollution.”

Or let’s talk waste. In 2005, per-capita municipal waste production (basically everything that’s put out at the curb) in the U.S. was about 1,660 pounds. Let’s say you’re a die-hard simple-living activist, and you reduce this to zero. You recycle everything. You bring cloth bags shopping. You fix your toaster. Your toes poke out of old tennis shoes. You’re not done yet, though. Since municipal waste includes not just residential waste, but also waste from government offices and businesses, you march to those offices, waste reduction pamphlets in hand, and convince them to cut down on their waste enough to eliminate your share of it. Uh, I’ve got some bad news. Municipal waste accounts for only 3 percent of total waste production in the United States.

I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one—if we avidly participate in the industrial economy—we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world—none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.

Besides being ineffective at causing the sorts of changes necessary to stop this culture from killing the planet, there are at least four other problems with perceiving simple living as a political act (as opposed to living simply because that’s what you want to do). The first is that it’s predicated on the flawed notion that humans inevitably harm their landbase. Simple living as a political act consists solely of harm reduction, ignoring the fact that humans can help the Earth as well as harm it. We can rehabilitate streams, we can get rid of noxious invasives, we can remove dams, we can disrupt a political system tilted toward the rich as well as an extractive economic system, we can destroy the industrial economy that is destroying the real, physical world.

The second problem—and this is another big one—is that it incorrectly assigns blame to the individual (and most especially to individuals who are particularly powerless) instead of to those who actually wield power in this system and to the system itself. Kirkpatrick Sale again: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

The third problem is that it accepts capitalism’s redefinition of us from citizens to consumers. By accepting this redefinition, we reduce our potential forms of resistance to consuming and not consuming. Citizens have a much wider range of available resistance tactics, including voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting, and, when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.

The fourth problem is that the endpoint of the logic behind simple living as a political act is suicide. If every act within an industrial economy is destructive, and if we want to stop this destruction, and if we are unwilling (or unable) to question (much less destroy) the intellectual, moral, economic, and physical infrastructures that cause every act within an industrial economy to be destructive, then we can easily come to believe that we will cause the least destruction possible if we are dead.

The good news is that there are other options. We can follow the examples of brave activists who lived through the difficult times I mentioned—Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States—who did far more than manifest a form of moral purity; they actively opposed the injustices that surrounded them. We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems. "
activism  consumerism  consumption  environment  politics  derrickjensen  2009  systems  systemsthinking  policy  simplicity  organization  civilization  sustainability  individualism  collectivism  via:caseygollan  2015  change  politicalchange  personalchange  environmentalism  capitalism  globalwarming  climatechange  reistance  inconvenienttruth  water  energy  kirckpatricksale  waste  doublebinds  success  wealth  culture  industrialism  purity  morality  injustice  oppression  power  integrity  misdirection 
march 2014 by robertogreco
American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga - The Atlantic
"A $25 billion plan, a small town, and a half-century of wrangling over the most important resource in the biggest state"



"It is an audacious plan, one that seems to come from another era, where governments were more ambitious in their transformation of the natural world. Brown explicitly invoked this grand spirit in unveiling an early version of the plan in mid 2012."
water  california  infrastructure  politics  2014  alexismadrigal  history  resources  government  publicworks 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Orion Magazine | A New Project from Orion
"Once a point of national pride and identity, America’s infrastructure is showing its age. Even in their heyday, the big infrastructure projects of the past were not always mindful of the communities in which they were built, nor did they reflect or respect the realities of life on a finite planet.

But this is a finite planet, and many communities are imagining new systems and structures for transportation, food, water, waste, energy, and information. In the process, they’re creating new, more beautiful, more resilient public works.

Welcome to Reimagining Infrastructure, a new series from Orion exploring infrastructure solutions for the next generation."
orionmagazine  infrastructure  environment  sustainability  2013  2014  erikhoffner  rownjacobsen  cynthiabarnett  rosemclarney  jeffreyharrison  peterbrewitt  hemersonblake  writing  poetry  essays  systems  systemsthinking  food  water  waste  energy  information  publicworks 
january 2014 by robertogreco
The L.A. Aqueduct at 100 - Los Angeles Times
"For 100 years, the Los Angeles Aqueduct has delivered water to a thirsty city, wending its way for more than 200 miles from the Owens Valley, through canyons and deserts, down to the modern metropolis. A feat of engineering and a product of political maneuvering, it nurtured the region's growth while leaving conflict in its wake."
california  history  water  socal  owensvalley  losangeles  aqueduct  2013 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Powering A Nation.org
"Our 2013 Fellows present a Powering a Nation special report, “Over Water Under Fire.”

The interactive documentary, "Over Water Under Fire," combines a video narrative with motion graphics and text to present the Colorado River as a living timeline of our nation's innovations and exploitations with water as the river's uncertain future echoes the precarious state of water resources in this country. The graphics and text pieces will focus on how humans have physically altered the environment along the river in response to limited water resources, how the river has responded to those changes and what choices the country will have to make in the future.

The narrative arc is integrated with a video story on Special Ops veterans who come back from battle zones with PTSD and take a river trip called "Warriors on Cataract" as a means of therapy. These veterans emphasize the human connection to water resources and subtly echo the theme of U.S. resource allocation."

[See also: http://www.poweringanation.org/water2013/ ]
activism  climate  coal  energy  water  veterans  storytelling  interactivefilm  interactive  ptsd  interactivedocumentary  documentary  climatechange  us  rivers  2013  coloradoriver 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Welcome to National Atlas Streamer!
"Explore America's larger streams as you trace upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty.

Learn more about your stream traces and the places they pass through in brief or detailed reports."
geology  maps  rivers  usgs  mapping  water  streams  watershed 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Objects | Underwater New York
"Underwater New York is a digital journal of stories, art and music inspired by the underwater objects and phenomena that surround New York City.

Artists and storytellers have long drawn inspiration from our cityscape, but underneath the water’s surface is another landscape entirely, ranging from the whimsical (a runaway giraffe, a fleet of ice cream trucks, mysterious white goo) to the historical (the steamship Princess Anne, the remnants of Coney Island’s Dreamland). These objects have been discovered by divers and scientists, detectives and engineers, environmentalists and everyday city-dwellers.

Underwater New York is interested in the stories that these objects evoke, in whatever form the stories take. Above all, Underwater New York is a work in progress, and we encourage submissions in any genre. Visit our submissions page to learn more."
nyc  underwater  lists  water  stories 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Fundación Chile
"Somos una corporación privada sin fines de lucro creada en 1976, cuyos socios son el Gobierno de Chile y BHP Billiton-Minera Escondida.

Misión

Nuestra misión es introducir innovaciones de alto impacto y potenciar el capital humano para aumentar la competitividad de Chile, promoviendo y desarrollando la economía a través de transferencias tecnológicas y en alianza con redes de conocimiento locales y globales.

En FCh creemos que en nuestro país también podemos hablar de innovación y estamos convencidos que es posible convertir a Chile en un polo de innovación y emprendimiento.

En nuestros 36 años, nos hemos consolidado como un “do tank”, siendo pioneros en habilitar nuevos sectores a través de un portafolio de empresas demostrativas, programas que crean capacidades y servicios tecnológicos.

Nuestras principales áreas de desarrollo son: Alimentos y Biotecnología, Acuicultura, Agua y Medio Ambiente, Energía y Cambio Climático, Capital Humano, Educación y Digitalización…"

[via: http://www.helsinkidesignlab.org/search?q=chile ]
bhp  innovation  entrepreneurship  technology  dotank  water  environment  digitalization  education  humancapital  climatechange  energy  food  biotechnology  biotech  aquaculture  nonprofit  chile  nonprofits 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Mare Liberum | thefreeseas.org
"The Free Seas / Mare Liberum is a freeform publishing, boatbuilding and waterfront art collective, based in the Gowanus, Brooklyn. Finding its roots in centuries-old stories of urban water squatters and haphazard water craft builders, Mare Liberum is a collaborative exploration of what it takes to make viable aquatic craft as an alternative to life on land. The project draws from sources as diverse as ocean-crossing raft assemblages, improvised refugee boats built in Senegal and Cuba, and modern stitch-and-ply construction methods which make complex, classic boat designs approachable by novice builders.

We are currently building a fleet of Liberum Dories, a design that we based on the historic 15′ Banks Dory. The frame of this boat can be constructed over the course of a single afternoon using minimal tools and basic building skills…"

[via: https://twitter.com/MatthewBattles/status/257171302991949824 ]
water  environment  boats  liberumdories  dories  cuba  refugees  senegal  mareliberum  brooklyn  collective  art  gowanus  gowanuscanal  nyc  waterways  boatbuilding 
october 2012 by robertogreco
Pruned: The 25-Year Riverine Journey of a Wooden Boulder Carved out of a Felled 200-Year-Old Oak Tree
"Beginning in 1978, when a spherical chunk of oak got lodged in a stream as he was moving it to his studio, the sculptor David Nash has documented its long riverine journey.

“For 25 years,” Nash writes, “I have followed its engagement with the weather, gravity and the seasons. It became a stepping-stone into the drama of physical geography. Spheres imply movement and initially I helped it to move, but after a few years I observed it only intervening when absolutely necessary - when it became wedged under a bridge.”

The journey is so extraordinary — made more so perhaps by the fact that it's so well-documented — that we can't help but quote the rest of Nash's accounts:…"
theelements  water  tides  dwyryd  rivers  landscape  wood  nature  motion  movement  time  davidnash  art 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Puget Sound River History Project
"The Puget Sound River History Project studies the historical landscape of Puget Sound's lowland rivers and estuaries as a dynamically linked geophysical, ecological, and human system. The historical emphasis is on conditions at the time of earliest Euro-American settlement in the mid-19th century, but also includes the landscape's post-glacial, Holocene (10,000 yrs BP) evolution and the last century and a half of change. We undertake interdisciplinary research that integrates archival investigations, field studies, and the tools of geographic information systems and remote sensing. We also apply the results to, and make data available for, regional problems of resource management, restoration and planning."
earthscience  quaternary  holocene  geology  geography  landscape  water  cascadia  pugetsound  washingtonstate  history 
january 2012 by robertogreco
The energy, and expense, of bringing water to the Southland - latimes.com
"The twin forces of power costs and climate-change regulations are threatening Southern California's long love affair with imported water, forcing the region to consider more mundane sources closer to home."
southland  southerncalifornia  california  water  aqueducts  infrastructure  socal  2011  losangeles  sandiego 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Presence and Perception [Xskool]
"Perceiving and re-connecting: Xskool will engage with artists in seeking ways to help us perceive the unseen, or the invisible: Ways to re-imagine the built world as a complex of interacting ecologies: energy, water, mobility, food. Ways to enrich our understanding of space, time, materiality, and process. Ways to steer our focus to open versus closed systems.

Presence and distance: It would be easier to travel less, and telecommunicate more, if the sensation of ‘being there’ were more engaging than it is now. Xskool will involve artists, theatre directors, fashion designers, psychologists, game designers – even philosophers – in effort to improve the design of remote communication.

Hosting and Coordinating: A whole-systems, transdisciplinary approach involves the need to connect and coordinate stakeholders with differing perspectives. How do we design conversations to be participative rather than directive? How to identify and organize hubs; the role of time-based events…"
xskool  ecosystems  systems  systemsthinking  ecology  networkedecologies  presence  perception  closedsystems  opensystems  open  complexity  complexsystems  energy  water  mobility  food  art  design  communication  johnthackara  process  materiality  transdisciplinary 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Ecology Center
"This first edition of Backyard Skills offers a collection of 19 Do-It-Yourself solutions, practices and projects to help get you going. Divided up into five themed chapters – WATER, ENERGY, FOOD, SHELTER and WASTE – Backyard Skills was inspired by The Ecology Center’s Do-It-Yourself workshop series held on site in 2009-2010.

This means that real-life folks, members of our local and your global community, have already gotten a taste of how these simple projects can make a big difference. And, now, it’s your turn to put these ideas to work on a bigger scale."
books  sustainability  food  backyard  classideas  environment  glvo  waste  water  shelter  energy  diy  systems  systemsthinking  bighere  theecologycenter 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Place Based Learning
"Place Based Learning is an educational approach that uses the most effective developments in teaching and learning to tackle critical issues of sustainability and community development in the actual context that young people are growing-up."

"Teaching and Learning; It is crucial that educators get better at engaging, motivating and empowering young people.

Yet, improving pedagogy whilst retaining an irrelevant curriculum is just ‘getting better at doing the wrong thing’!

Citizenship; It is crucial that our young people develop a sense of social justice and a desire to contribute to society.

Yet, attempting to squeeze another subject into the crowded curriculum treats each issue in isolation and fails to get to the heart of the problem.

Sustainability; It is crucial that the next generation commit to sustainable ways of dealing with energy, food, waste etc.

Yet, doom-laden global scenarios often immerse people in guilt and fear or render the issues too large and too distant."
education  place  locations  via:steelemaley  sustainability  uk  community  local  learning  schools  citizenship  civics  food  waste  water  energy  guilt  fear  socialjustice  society  lcproject  tcsnmy  change  pedagogy  curriculum  communitydevelopment  unschooling  deschooling 
march 2011 by robertogreco
History: What are the greatest challenges of our generation? - Quora
Rate of Technological Change…ill-equipped to deal with such blindingly fast change.

Energy. Depending on fossil fuels is bad for the economy, the environment, & politics.

Environment. Between global warming, melting ice caps, forest depletion, species extinctions and numerous other issues, the environment is changing faster (& more negatively) than at any other point in human history…

Water. The scarcity of fresh water for consumption & agriculture is going to be a major source of conflict btwn & w/in nations.

Education. Taking a USA-centric perspective, our increasingly fragile education system will challenge many generations to come, as this will have a direct correlation to the economic, political, & social health of the US.

Creativity / Innovation…

Overpopulation. Too many people in the world, not enough resources.

Wealth Distribution. The graphic below is from 1992. No doubt, it's even more of a gap now."
future  present  climatechange  energy  peakoil  economics  education  politics  policy  overpopulation  wealth  disparity  inequality  water  environment  deforestation  technology  change  creativity  classideas 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Diagonal Mar Park - WikiArquitectura - Buildings of the World
"born in sea & forks, as main branches of trees on 2 axes that branch. 1st axis: promenade where flows of people. 2nd: man's life. In turn these 2 lines are different in 7 areas:

* 'Branching of the square:' A walk through flowing where visitors to park, from central to sea & promenade.

* 'Branching of man's children - playground:' human life begins with his childhood...a game marked by a small pond & games for children.

* 'Street Taulat:' The park makes a break down this road, from which they have a stunning view of the new district Diagonal Mar.

* 'Gateway Lake:' A zigzag bridge over the lake & lake at foot waterfalls w/ surprising ways.

* 'The Magic Mountain:' The man moved forward in its evolution towards pre-teen age, playing area w/ slides of sinuous shapes in a large green mountain.

* 'Lake:' wide pond of water, twisting steel sculptures that expel water vaporized.

* 'La Plaza:' The meeting place btwn neighbors & intersection of park w/ city & Avenida Diagonal."
parcdiagonalmar  design  playgrounds  publicspace  space  place  barcelona  spain  architecture  landscape  water  españa 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Safe Agua: Change Observer: Design Observer
"The first collaboration between Designmatters and Chile’s Un Techo para mi País creates fresh ideas for water usage in a Santiago slum."
chile  santiago  ciudadescallampas  slums  design  designobserver  social  untechoparamipaís  water  activism  accd  designmatters 
november 2010 by robertogreco
How Much Does A Hurricane Weigh? : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR
"In our radio broadcast on Morning Edition, Andy Heymsfield of the National Center for Atmospheric Research used elephant–sized units of water to measure hurricanes, storm clouds and little white puffies. Years ago, in a story I did on ABC, another cloud measurer used elephant units, too. But for our new cartoon, Odd Todd and I switched to blue whales. Blue whales are bigger, which we thought would make the lesson more impressive. Either way, though, hurricanes are humongous."

[Entertainment, but there is a part of me that just wants the amount of water involved to compared to a well-know body of water.]
robertkrulwich  elephants  clouds  hurricanes  water  weight  measurement  moisture 
september 2010 by robertogreco
MicroPublicPlaces | Situated Technologies
"In response to two strong global vectors: the rise of pervasive information technologies and the privatization of the public sphere, Marc Böhlen and Hans Frei propose hybrid architectural programs called Micro Public Places (MMPs). MPPs combine insights from ambient intelligence, human computing, architecture, social engineering and urbanism to initiate ways to re- animate public life in contemporary societies. They offer access to things that are or should be available to all: air, water, medicine, books, etc. and combine machine learning procedures with subjective human intuition to make the public realm a contested space again."
mobile  ambient  opendata  architecture  pervasive  design  informatics  urban  community  public  human  humanintuition  intuition  air  water  medicine  books  society  ubicomp  humancomputing  computing  urbaninformatics  urbanism  socialengineering  ambientintelligence  ambientawareness  technology  information 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Spatial History Project: Chile's Aquaculture Industry 1950-2000
"Recognizing that it is difficult to ameliorate environmental problems without understanding their connections to associated social changes, we aim to research the complex feedback loops that connect environmental and social change in the salmon-farming industry of southern Chile. We propose to map and analyze the social transformations brought about by comparing the region before and after the advent of salmon-farming using methodologies from both the humanities and social sciences. Data will be gathered through both quantitative and qualitative surveys, archival research, and collaborations with ongoing research in Chile."
chile  environment  fishing  research  water  time  history  transformation  salmon  salmon-farming  data 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Theodore Watson - Funky Forest Moomah Edition
"‘Funky Forest’ is an interactive ecosystem where children create trees with their body and then divert the water flowing from the waterfall to the trees to keep them alive. The health of the trees contributes to the overall health of the forest and the types of creatures that inhabit it. The Moomah Edition of ‘Funky Forest’ expands on the original by introducing four seasons each with a unique environment and creatures to match. Each season also features an interactive particle system. For example in Fall leaves falling from the trees blow in the wind and in winter it snows. The Moomah edition is permanently installed at the Moomah Children’s cafe in New York City."
installation  ecology  illustration  inspiration  trees  water  interactive  children  art 
april 2010 by robertogreco
How did we become such suckers for bottled water? | Life and style | guardian.co.uk
"Anyone with the brains to read (outside the ad agencies that come up with this sort of rubbish) must by now be aware that the argument that water 'detoxes' is entirely spurious, that the 'two litres a day' myth is just that and that buying water shipped from places like Fiji - even if it can be 'greened' through some 'offsetting' sophistry - is as immoral as it is absurd. Yet somehow, we've programmed ourselves deeply. Stand, sometime, in the queue at the airport; the last few feet before the metal detector, where the travelling classes are having their bottles torn from their hands by stone-faced airport stormtroopers. Witness the genuine pain on their faces. ... what we really need, like the orchestrated howls of outrage when petrol prices hit a new high, is a campaign that strikes at the root of the problem: the idiotic belief that we need a constant supply of water or something awful will happen."
water  humor  health  waste  bottledwater 
april 2010 by robertogreco
@UCSD: Borderline
"The environmentally friendly pavers let rainwater drain through and slowly percolate into the soil. The process prevents erosion and reduces flooding hazards, as well as providing water for nearby plant life, before finally ending up adding to the underground aquifers.

With support from the Mexican and U.S. governments, the students are helping canyon residents—mostly women—build and install 70,000 of these handmade pavers to prevent runoff from flowing into the Tijuana River Estuary and adjacent San Diego Bay. Armenta’s shop is providing the materials at a discounted price. The city of Tijuana has agreed to install a sewer system once the pavers are laid."
coloniasanbernardo  oscarromo  ucsd  perviouspavers  pervious  pavers  runoff  contamination  pollution  water  borders  us  mexico  tijuana  2008  rainwater 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Academics make statement with project - SignOnSanDiego.com
"Because the promise of disentangling the ideological from the ethical in this American dream-turned-nightmare shimmers like a mirage on the horizon, we of Electronic Disturbance Theater/b.a.n.g. lab (a UCSD and University of Michigan artist-based research group), have opted instead to create a poetic gesture and safety device, equipped to identify water caches on the U.S. side of the border.

Housed on a GPS-enabled cell phone platform, the Transborder Immigrant Tool (TBT) will be distributed by Mexican nongovernmental organizations and churches who daily deal with individuals contemplating the Mexico-U.S. border trek."
via:javierarbona  borders  us  mexico  tijuana  sandiego  bordercrossing  mobile  phones  gps  safety  ucsd  art  water  tbt  transborder  immigration  migration  ricardodominguez  bretstalbaum 
march 2010 by robertogreco
the living: amphibious architecture
"'amphibious architecture' is a new project by the new york city design studio the living. the project specifically uses water as a surface, since it is so ubiquitous in the world, yet under-explored in art and design. the project consists of two networks of floating interactive tubes that feature light beacons on top and a range of sensors below. these sensors 'monitor water quality, presence of fish, and human interest in the river ecosystem', while the lights respond and 'create feedback loops between humans, fish, and their shared environment'. 'an SMS interface allows citizens to text-message the fish, to receive real-time information about the river, and to contribute to a display of collective interest in the environment.’"

[more: http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/ AND http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/amphibiousarchitecture.htm ]
realtime  fish  pollution  water  waterquality  art  design  sensors  iphone  nyc 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributors - Eight Ways to Rebuild Haiti - NYTimes.com
"When the immediate crisis passes, how can we ensure that Haiti becomes a functioning nation? Eight experts give their prescriptions." Concrete Solutions By JOHN McASLAN; Squatters’ Rights By ROBERT NEUWIRTH; Skip the Graft By JAMES DOBBINS; Learn From Postwar Tokyo By MATIAS ECHANOVE and RAHUL SRIVASTAVA; A Recovery Built on Water By STEVEN SOLOMON; Easy Money By DAN SENOR; Guantánamo to the Rescue By JONATHAN M. HANSEN; Keep the Economy Underground By SUDHIR VENKATESH
haiti  recovery  2010  rebuilding  development  policy  economics  construction  land  water  money  resources  health 
january 2010 by robertogreco
San Diego Reader | "SD's Drinking Water 9th Worst of Major Cities" by Scam Diego
"San Diego's drinking water is 9th worst among the 100 largest cities, according to the Environmental Working Group. In compiling the list, the group used water quality testing data from state health and environmental departments that compute records for water utilities and laboratories. Pensacola, Florida, has the worst water of the major cities. Arlington, Texas has the best. San Diego activist Mel Shapiro notes that this information has been around since last month, but mainstream media have not done their job giving it the coverage it deserves."
sandiego  water  waterquality  food  drink 
january 2010 by robertogreco
waterwall tanks
"rainwater reservoirs are nothing new, but the waterwall fatboy manages to hold 650 gallons of water in
homes  housing  design  materials  water  function  storage 
november 2009 by robertogreco
California's deficit of common sense -- latimes.com
"This is the usual problem of the United States, which is not just the richest and most powerful nation on Earth now, but on Earth ever, and one of the most blessed in terms of natural resources. We just collectively make loopy decisions about how to distribute the money and water, and we could make other decisions. Whether or not those priorities will change, we could at least have a reality-based conversation about them...Turn­ing Cal­i­for­nia into a Third World nation where the envi­ron­ment is neglected, a lot of peo­ple are gen­uinely des­per­ate and a lot of the young have a hard time get­ting an edu­ca­tion or just can’t get one doesn’t ben­e­fit anyone. We're not poor in money or water. We've just chosen to allocate them in ways that benefit tiny minorities at the expense of the rest of us. We should at least have a conversation about how we distribute our abundant resources. Derek is right: California is a place of abundance, except when it comes to political sense."
us  california  money  water  resources  budget  policy  politics  economics  thirdworld  economy  agriculture  latimes  culture  society  2009  priorities  education  colleges  universities  farming 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible -- latimes.com
"Oxygen depletion that is killing sea life off Oregon and Washington is probably caused by evolving wind conditions from climate change, rather than pollution, one oceanographer warns."
environment  sustainability  climatechange  pollution  pacific  ocean  water  oceanography  cascadia  oregon  washingtonstate  via:javierarbona 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Angkor — National Geographic Magazine
"Angkor is the scene of one of the greatest vanishing acts of all time...lasted from the ninth to 15th centuries & at its height dominated a wide swath of Southeast Asia, from Myanmar in the west to Vietnam in the east. As many as 750,000 people lived in Angkor...which sprawled across an area the size of New York City's five boroughs, making it the most extensive urban complex of the preindustrial world. By the late 16th century, when Portuguese missionaries came upon the lotus-shaped towers of Angkor Wat—the most elaborate of the city's temples and the world's largest religious monument—the once resplendent capital of the empire was in its death throes... long list of suspected causes...Recent excavations...of the infrastructure...are converging on a new answer...doomed by the very ingenuity that transformed a collection of minor fiefdoms into an empire...tame[d] Southeast Asia's seasonal deluges, then faded as its control of water, the most vital of resources, slipped away."
ankor  civilization  history  collapse  resources  water  drought 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Waterpod Is a Floating Green Home in New York City - NYTimes.com
"The Waterpod isn’t the only project exploring water-based living. Last year, Patri Friedman, a former Google engineer, co-founded the Seasteading Institute, based in Palo Alto, Calif., which is developing a floating home based on the design of an oil rig, with $500,000 in financing from Peter Thiel, a PayPal founder. Mr. Friedman, who said he sees the ocean as “a new frontier for pioneers to try things out,” plans to have a single-family prototype built next year, and has set a goal of housing 100,000 people in the next 25 years."
nomads  neo-nomads  environment  sustainability  art  design  architecture  homes  housing  shelter  future  mobility  floating  oceans  water  waterpod 
june 2009 by robertogreco
below the phreatic level - mammoth // building nothing out of something
"In 1998, Mexican architect Alberto Kalach and his colleague Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon published La Ciudad y sus Lagos, a bold proposal that examined the potential resurrection of Lake Texcoco, the largest of the lakes which Mexico City’s predecessor Tenochtitilan was founded on. The revitalization of the lake would serve to both benefit Mexico City ecologically and to invigorate the practice of urbanism in Mexico."
future  urban  landscape  mexico  water  lagotexcoco  df  albertokalach  mexicodf  mexicocity 
may 2009 by robertogreco
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