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The Bottle Project

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 Bottle Project - Web

The Bottle Project - Entryway Post

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.

Take a few minutes to watch this video: Chris Jordan Pictures Excess – TED Talk 2008

Artist Chris Jordan talks about his work at the TED Conference earlier this spring – in his own words here from his website:

Running the Numbers looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries in the U.S. every month.

This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.

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.

No Impact Man has asked for help from the blogosphere:

Next Friday, May 30, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York’s Eight Congressional District has kindly agreed to meet with me in his New York office. As one of his constituents, I intend to ask Representative Nadler to support an effective global warming mitigation policy that is based not on what is politically possible but on what is scientifically necessary.

More specifically, I intend to ask him to:

  • Introduce, as soon as possible, a non-binding resolution to the House of Representatives asserting that we need a climate change mitigation policy with a goal of no more than 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide (read why here). Furthermore, the resolution should say that the United States must collaborate with the international community to achieve an effective successor to the Kyoto Protocol that will achieve the 350 goal or better (depending on how the science progresses).
  • Pledge to support the 1sky.org policy platform that also includes creating five million green jobs (through, for example, weatherizing our buildings and manufacturing solar panels and windmills), and placing a moratorium on the building of new coal power plants.
  • Pass on to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter addressed jointly to her and Representative Nadler, in his position as Assistant Whip, asking them both to push for the introduction of new and the strengthening of currently pending climate change legislation to reflect the crucial 350 goal. This means, at the very least, aiming for an 80% reduction in climate emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 and a 25% reduction by 2020.

Now then, here’s how I was hoping you could help. My dream is to present Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi with between 350 and 3,500 (10 x 350) emails of support for these policy objectives.

Can you help? All it requires is a cut and paste job (see below).

Fellow bloggers: would you be willing to pass this request onto your readers?

Everyone: would you email this around and get your friends to pitch in?

Two bits of good news:

  1. Representative Nadler has been an ardent supporter of environmental issues ranging from the thorough cleanup of the World Trade Center site to securing federal funding for state conservation and wildlife grants. He received a score of 95% for his voting record in the 1st session of the 110th Congress from the League of Conservation Voters.
  2. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping have provided me with five copies of their new DVD, What Would Jesus Buy (watch the trailer here). I’m going to give the DVDs to people who send in their emails of support (the 1st, the 35th, 100th, the 350th and the 1000th).

Here’s how to send in your email of support:

Simply cut and paste the below, making sure to substitute in your name, mailing address and email address, and send it to noimpactman+nadler+pelosi@gmail.com (it looks like a weird email address but, don’t worry, it will work).

Dear Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi–

Thank you for your hard work on behalf of the people of the United States. It is indisputable that the health, happiness and security of the American people depends upon the well-being of our planetary habitat. It is also indisputable that the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases is causing changes in our habitat that will adversely effect Americans on every level–from our health to our economy.

On May 30, Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man will visit Representative Nadler to express to him support for a number of climate change mitigation policies that are much stronger than those currently passing through Congress. Please consider this a letter of support for the measures Colin Beavan will be advocating.

Specifically, I support Colin Beavan in requesting that Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi both, together or separately:

  • Introduce, as soon as possible, a non-binding resolution to the House of Representatives asserting that we need a climate change mitigation policy that accords not with what is politically possible but what is scientifically necessary–a goal of no more than 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide (read why here). Furthermore, this resolution should assert that the United States must collaborate with the international community to achieve an effective successor to the Kyoto Protocol that will achieve the 350 goal or better (depending on how the science progresses).
  • Pledge to support the 1sky.org policy platform that also includes creating five million green jobs (through, for example, weatherizing our buildings and manufacturing solar panels and windmills) and placing a moratorium on the building of new coal power plants.
  • Push for the introduction of new and the strengthening of currently pending climate change legislation to reflect the crucial 350 goal. This means, at the very least, aiming for an 80% reduction in climate emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 and a 25% reduction by 2020.

Yours sincerely,

<Your Name>
<Your Mailing Address>
<Your Email Address>

You may or may not wish to send your mom this Mother’s Day card from GRIST, depending on her sense of humor and sensibilities….

Project Vulcan

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):
Top 20 U.S. Carbon Emitting Counties

Knowledge is Power

I believe knowledge is power – the power to change our behavior for the better. Driving a hybrid car with dashboard feedback on fuel efficiency lets you know instantly how you can change your driving habits to reduce the amount of gas you use.

What if you could see instantly how much electricity, natural gas, and water you were using in your home? Would you turn off the lights more often? Plug in fewer gadgets? Turn down the gas on the stove when not needed?

To this end, I got myself a new gadget called Kill-A-Watt which provides feedback on electricity usage by standard appliances. So far I’ve tested it on my cell phone charger (0.01 kWh/h) and table lamp with CFL bulb (122.3 kWh/h). I’m going to test more appliances and gadgets around the house and will keep track of the results here. I’m especially curious about comparisons between lamps with CFL bulbs and conventional; computer in active vs. hibernate mode, etc.

In Georgia we are paying about 4 cents/kWh until June. Cost isn’t my concern (I think power is way too cheap), but it is easier to deal with psychologically than kilowatts. I’ll translate the figures to dollars eventually.

Cell phone charger (Blackberry charging and not charging, but wall wart plugged in) = 0.01 kWh/h
Table lamp with CFL bulb = 122.3 kWh/h [I think this is an error – I was looking at the wrong setting]
Computer equipment plugged into UPS = 11.3 kWh/h

To be continued…..

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