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Posts Tagged ‘waste’

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.

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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.

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If you have not yet seen The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard, I highly recommend it. It’s a clever 20-minute video about the production/consumption/disposal cycle and what it is doing to the earth and to people. A la An Inconvenient Truth, you can sign up to host a screening (some schools have done this and posted their experiences) – my daughter loves to watch it and discuss how we can contribute less to the Golden Arrow.Watch a snippet here, and then click on the link above to visit Annie’s site.

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Winner of Friends of the Earth’s Best One-minute green film award. This simple film documents the horrors of plastic overpackaging of a child’s toy.  After wrestling with all the packaging, the child is too tired even to play with her new toys.

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