Just a quick note to feature this beautiful beadwork illustrating global warming in North America.
By Peggy Dembicer on flickr.
What a beautiful piece of artwork to bring attention to this threat to our global ecosystem.
This Saturday, November 15 is Americal Recycles Day and I was planning to take a trunk full of E-Waste (broken radios, calculators, toaster oven, lamp) to a local high school which is collecting it to recycle. However, this Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes made me question whether this action is simply dumping the problem on China: The Electronic Wasteland.
So now I’m unsure what to do with my E-Waste.
Here’s some more information on organizations that are trying to do something about this problem:
There was an interesting article in the New York Times today about a plan by the Netherlands to build a tulip-shaped island off-shore to help protect its coast from sea level rise. Here is the photo that appeared:
From the article:
The idea, Mr. de Boer went on, would be not only to gain land and protect the coast, but also to showcase Dutch engineering skills. At the same time, an island could be an energy powerhouse, shaped like a ring to create so-called blue energy by using the contrast of fresh and salt water to generate electricity, or the ebb and flow of the tides. Wind turbines could also produce even more energy, he said.
A green project all-around? I’m skeptical, but the concept is quite interesting on many levels.
Posted in Art, Books, Environment, Fun, Geography, Maps, The Stuff of Life, Urban Nature, tagged architecture, Center for Land Use Interpretation, design, landscape, non-profit organizations, Photography, transit, trash on August 4, 2008 | 2 Comments »
Here is a group I want to find out a lot more about: The Center for Land Use Interpretation. I discovered them from a little sidebar in the New York Times on the Hudson River which mentioned their new book, Up River: Man-Made Sites of Interest on the Hudson from the Battery to Troy. According to their website, the CLUI:
is a research organization involved in exploring, examining, and understanding land and landscape issues. The Center employs a variety of methods to pursue its mission – engaging in research, classification, extrapolation, and exhibition.
But that seems to be putting it mildly. They seem to have a fascination for all the many ways that man and landscape intersect for good or for bad. And their medium is based in the visual. They have many other books, online features, newsletters (going back to 1995!), and exhibitions on everything from trash to parking spaces. I’m going to have to spend a lot more time checking them out.
Posted in Endangered Species, Environment, Urban Nature, tagged birds, brunswick, coast, endangered, georgia, harris neck, harris neck national wildlife service, mycteria americana, national wildlife refuge, species, stork, travel, u.s. fish and wildlife service, wood stork on July 14, 2008 | 2 Comments »
Last week I was on the Georgia coast for a work trip. I stayed an extra day to tag along on a couple of field trips arranged by one of my colleagues and got to visit a huge nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Stork, Mycteria americana at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
Here are a couple of my photos from the visit, taken from the bird observation tower that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists use to study the birds:
Earlier in the week, an article appeared in The Brunswick News about the Wood Stork in Georgia:
Wed, Jul 9, 2008
By ANNA FERGUSON
Perched in a towering thin tree on Jekyll Island, a colony of tall slender birds sits above the sand.
It is an unusual site, causing passersby to stop and take a second look.
What the spectators are seeing is more than a striking scene. It is proof of nature restoring itself.
When wood storks began nesting on the Georgia coast about 50 years ago, the endangered species was seeking refuge. In the decades since the birds have been nesting in the area, their numbers have steadily increased, although they are still listed on the federal endangered species list.
In recent years, the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Interior, as well as other private entities, in an attempt to restore the wood stork population by monitoring the birds, creating protected wildlife areas and artificial nesting platforms.
It seems these efforts have paid off.
This year, the Coastal Resources Division has declared that the birds are making a strong comeback. When counting nests throughout the region, the CRD tallied an estimated 2,225 nesting wood stork pairs, said Brad Winn, program manager for the DNR Nongame Conservation Section.
More than 500 pairs of nesting birds were found in the Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge in McIntosh County, making up about a fourth of the state’s entire wood stork population.
Because the refuge can manipulate water levels, it makes nesting and feeding easier for the bird, allowing them to thrive, Winn said.
“Those are impressive numbers,” Winn said. “But I wouldn’t give us the credit. That belongs to the birds. They are most responsible for their own growth.”
Historically, the long, skeletal-looking birds made their home in the Florida Everglades. But development and massive changes to water sources created harsh conditions for the birds, pushing them to find a new home on the Georgia coast.
The recent high count of wood storks is proof that the birds have successfully adapted to their Peach State habitat, Winn said.
How long that will hold remains to be seen. The draining of wetlands along the coast to make room for development is threatening the habitat and nesting areas of the birds.
“Humans are taking water off the marshes and wetlands, and they can’t successfully nest,” Winn said.
Despite the disturbance of human development to nesting grounds, Winn has hopes the creatures will continue to thrive.
“Wood storks have a long life, about 20 years,” he said. “As long as we can maintain a healthy wetland system and as long as they are able to reproduce, we expect the wood stork numbers to increase.”
Last night, I went to see a screening of The Lord God Bird, a movie produced and directed by George Butler of Pumping Iron Fame. The event was co-hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy. I really enjoyed seeing it, although I don’t feel strongly about whether or not the Ivory Billed Woodpecker is alive or extinct. If it can be a symbol for the importance of conservation, then that’s great, but the important thing is that unique habitats are disappearing and we are leaving the earth in horrifically bad condition.
John Fitzpatrick, the Director of the Cornell Lab and Scott Simon, the State Director of the Arkansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (hosted by my State Director) were there and answered questions at the end with the producers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel.
My favorite parts of the movie: Nancy Tanner (what a pistol), photos of a baby IBW, learning about the methods scientists are using to survey likely habitats for IBW.
Anyway, I’m not a movie reviewer and there are several good reviews written by specialists in a couple of interesting areas:
Cryptomundo – a group seaching for sasquatch and the like
John Trapp – a birder (post includes a trailer of the film)
Hillbilly M.F.A. – an Arkansas nature writer
I saw a Pileated woodpecker a few weeks ago at FDR State Park near Columbus, Georgia and although they are not the least bit rare, I can honestly say my reaction was, “Lord God! Look at that bird!” And the IBW is supposed to be much more impressive.
Somehow, I managed to miss all pre-press about The Bottle Project in Atlanta, an installation in a park walking distance to my house. Last night, I was walking over there, and happened upon part of it that remains – it was supposed to be installed through September, but it looks like the Department of Watershed Management destroyed it as part of a runoff control project. Here is the part that I saw (photos are from my cameraphone, sorry for the poor quality):
The igloo or dome was gone. I hope they’ve simply moved it during the watershed project and will return it when that is complete.
I was curious about the artists and any other info about The Bottle Project, so I looked it up when I got home and found the above linked Blogspot page, along with the following coverage from the local Public Broadcasting station: Sunken Garden Park – The Bottle Project, including a recorded interview with one of the artists, Pam Longobardi.
Here is info on the project from the Blogspot site:
The Bottle Project is a temporary public art project created for Atlanta’s Sunken Garden Park by artists Craig Dongoski, Pam Longobardi and Joe Peragine. The project explores the invisible network of connectedness that runs through everything, whether human or non-human, built or naturally occurring. This network can be made visible by examining the flow of water, both local and global. Atlanta is experiencing the longest drought in our collective memory, and yet very little conversation about conservation has occurred. The reaction of habit and convenience is to buy bottled water. The natural network of water flow has become artificial and commodified. Plastic that never disappears off the earth is being produced and used by the billions every day to contain and transport this naturally mobile substance. We are attempting to make visible a problematic cycle that needs to be re-thought.
Posted in Environment, Geography, tagged cleanup, design, government accountability, pollution, Superfund, Superfund365, toxic cleanup, toxic waste, toxics, waste, web design on June 11, 2008 | Leave a Comment »
Superfund – what’s that? Just a little program that made polluters pay to clean up after themselves – spurred by the infamous Love Canal case. But it was more or less killed by the Bush Administration (well, it has been defunded, which is the same thing).
I just ran across a review in American Scientist of a website devoted to shedding light on the remaining Superfund Sites (there are hundreds). This site, called Superfund365 is a wonderful blend of detailed scientific, demographic, and geographic information pulled together with a very pleasing and easy to understand interface. A new site is featured every day for 365 days (it started in September 2007) but you can browse all of the sites at any time.
There’s been a lot of discussion lately of the marriage of science and design and this is an excellent example. My only wish would be that there were a way to navigate all of the sites geographically (a la Center for Public Integrity’s Superfund site, Wasting Away), but that’s my personal bent. Once you have selected a site, there is a very nicely built in Google Map where you can navigate around the site.
Check it out – you might learn something while you enjoy the elegant design.
In the categories of maps and carbon emissions, I present Project Vulcan (and it has nothing to do with Star Trek, except perhaps some inspiration in naming). This is a project at Purdue University to distill information about carbon emissions by economic sector (power, industry, transportation) into useful visualizations. It is funded by NASA and DOE (I wonder if the administration knows about this heresy).
Too lazy to check out the website? Here is a video that summarizes the work:
Here’s a graphic they created of the top 20 carbon emitting U.S. Counties (I find it morbidly humorous that #11 is Carbon, PA):