This week’s Moth podcast deals with life, death and trash.
Eco Brooklyn Inc. is a contracting, landscape and design firm run by Gennaro Brooks-Church, who relies nearly exclusively on reclaimed materials and coined the phrase “Build it Forward.” In the corporate world, “Live the Brand” is a phrase you hear a lot. Brooks-Church embodies the concept. He and his family live in an ever-improving green show house implementing and testing creative ways to eliminate waste (grey water systems), breath second and third lives into discarded building materials (beautiful reclaimed wood floors, an old fire escape fashioned into stairs), and create a space connected to the neighborhood and local environment (a natural pool). A while back, I took a tour of this whimsical space complete with a roof garden and bee hives.
Ever since, I have followed the company Facebook page, where I recently learned they have stocked their pond with local fish and frogs. Track new projects undertaken by Brooks-Church and his team of interns via social media, or schedule a tour and head over to Gowanus to check it out for yourself.
World renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson has a blog and you should read it. In a recent post entitled “By the Numbers: Food Waste” he shares key stats on our wasteful nation as well as four great recipes for using up leftovers.
In addition to advocating freezing, composting, cooking with wine and saving bread for various recipes, Samuelsson imparts one recipe each for a delicious-sounding soup, salad, slaw and taco. I love this combination of recipe ideas as a mantra for anyone with a bit left over after a meal—especially tacos. I often make soups or salads out of surplus dinner party fare, but tacos just make leftovers sound more fun!
The whole post reminds me of my grandmother who, borrowing from the tradition of Samuelsson‘s home of Sweden, would occasionally declare a smorgasbord lunch. She would empty out the fridge and put out little bits of this and that, some served cold and some served hot, left over from the amazing array of gourmet offerings created in her farm kitchen each week.
“The world sends us garbage. We send back music.”
If you haven’t already, watch this video. Then head over to Kickstarter to ensure this trashtastic documentary is widely released.
Having just moved apartments and hemorrhaged my savings into a range of unforeseen costs and untold hours of unregulated Etsy surfing, I find this DIY project utterly charming. It reminds me of that kids book, Katy No-Pocket written by Emmy Payne and illustrated by the same dude who drew Curious George. Did you have that one growing up? It’s about a kangaroo who has no pocket with which to tote her kid. She consults other animals about how they carry around their babies before scoring a sweet pocket-covered apron from a handyman. I am sure there is an important conversation to be had about the White-man-saves-the-day theme, but man did little me dig that apron.
Stay tuned, this may inspire a longer series on the global need for more pockets in women’s clothing and how to upcycle our way out of that crisis.
Trash Cams—pinhole cameras constructed by German binmen out of dumpsters—were easily my favorite finding of Decorative Dumpster Day last year.
So I was delighted to be reminded of the project by a recent unconsumption post. The project’s Flickr page hosts a number of wonderful images including an adorable folder called The Tonnographers comprised of photos of the men taking photos with dumpsters; as well as the eery, arty pinhole images they captured.
I just love the photo captions noting the type of camera as a “1.100 litre garbage container.”
The Aspen Institute posted today a new report on global food waste from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Horrifying findings indicate that 30–50% (or 1.2–2 billion tons) of all food produced worldwide never makes it to human stomachs and that in developed countries like the U.S. 30–50% of the food people buy to eat gets thrown in the trash.
As Dan Glickman, author of the post, points out:
Thinking about the United States, where one in seven citizens is on food stamps and many more partially reliant on food banks (which regularly complain of shortages), even a fraction of that wasted food making its way to the dinner table would change the lives of millions of Americans.
Not coincidentally, food waste guru Jonathan Bloom reports today on Wasted Food:
Exciting News: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Environmental Program and several other partners have joined forces to create Think. Eat. Save, a one-stop shop for your anti-food-waste needs.
Update: My favorite of the tips from the UN campaign is:
Buy Funny Fruit—many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
Discard Studies, one of my favorite garbage resources, shared this link today to a screening next week of the documentary Trash Dance. I just RSVPed. Here’s the trailer, via the film’s official website.
A choreographer finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks, and against the odds, rallies reluctant city trash collectors to perform an extraordinary dance spectacle. On an abandoned airport runway, two dozen sanitation workers—and their trucks—inspire an audience of thousands.
Artist Gabriel Orozco has what looks like an incredible sculpture and photo installation on view now at the Guggenheim in New York. Sandstars comprises natural detritus found in a wildlife reserve in Mexico while Astroturf Constellation comprises trash found near a playing field in New York City. Here’s a whimsical video on the show.
Thanks for the tip, Sarah.
Who wants to start a trash-themed book club?
Hey kids, thought you’d enjoy this kiss off to consumerism and ode to the thrift store from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz.
Everything old is new again!
Landfill Harmonic is a documentary filmed in Paraguay about an orchestra whose musicians—young residents of a slum built on top of a landfill—play instruments made from trash. Here’s the trailer, which opens with a beautiful quote from the orchestra director: “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” Gives me chills. I can’t wait for this film to be released.
Like the project on Facebook, here. Thanks for the tip, Brigitte. I am sure we’ll be posting more on this project as the film is released.
The European Commission wants the people of Europe to cut down on food waste by not buying food they will toss. As you can tell from the video, they especially mean you, white people.