Archive for September, 2009
…and her visual columns in the New York Times. This is especially true of her recent piece on trash and sewage.
So Laurapalooza yesterday was a big hit. I burned my face in the New Jersey sun again, but not as much as last time. Our flip flop hippo was item of the day, and we got pix with a president (coming soon). Also realized that people in Pennington have the cutest kids in the world. Many of them run around. Some are excellent trashion models:
We’re headed to Jersey today to take part in Laurapalooza. In preparation, I am finally read this New Yorker article about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose that everyone keeps talking about (kind of dark); and asked friends to share any anecdotes they remember about the Ingalls family reusing things and making things from scrap. Hands down the most vividly recalled example was Laura and Mary making a balloon out of a pig bladder and playing catch. Things made from scrap fabrics was a close second. What do you remember from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Little House on the Prairie the TV show?
Artist Maya Lin’s “Recycled Landscapes” is showing at Salon 94 in Manhattan through November 13th. Yay trash art. Thanks for the tip, Alexandra!
I am behind the trash times, people, I hope you’ll forgive the lag in posts and subsequent flood. During the hiatus, an exciting thing happened, trash artist Kuros Zahedi finished his long-awaited installation “Finding Away” using the trash blogger Ari Derfel collected over the course of one year. Here’s a snap, courtesy of the artist. Look out for it at the Green Festival in San Francisco in November.
More images available here. Kudos, Kuros! It looks great.
As you probably read in last week’s Sunday Times, the Egyptian government may now regret having killed all the pigs in Cairo in a misguided effort to prevent the spread of Swine Flu. With no pigs to feed, the Zabaleen have no reason to go door to door collecting food scraps anymore, which means more trash ends up in the streets.
Filmmaker Mai Iskander emailed me after the piece ran to remind me that her documentary Garbage Dreams about three young men growing up in Cairo’s trash picking community touches on one of the core issues of the day: source separation.
It’s an interesting lens to put to the developed world. What distinguishes modern countries from those struggling to “catch up” isn’t just the fact that we have high-tech recycling facilities, it’s that we are more or less willing to sort our trash in our own homes.
The Zabaleen hope that by encouraging their neighbors to pre-sort trash, they can hang on to a piece of the profits from the waste industry before foreign waste hauling companies eclipse the need for local trash pickers. And it looks like their campaign is finally getting some buy-in from local authorities.
Sadly, there no longer seems to be much call to sort out food waste as well. Let’s hope the increased trash in the streets at the very least serves as a political tool encouraging Egyptians to think about what happens to trash after it leaves the home and what they might do to reduce waste and recycle more.
Ever thought of why people keep alarming there are too many people on the planet, creating too much trash, but never discuss what happens when we ourselves become trash, in that crude, horrible form of corpses? Swedish marine biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak has, and she is up to something. Actually, she has been for many years, but I just recently learned about it from the September issue of the Swedish magazine Filter (who refuse to publish articles online).
Wiigh-Mäsak started pondering sometime in the late 90’s on the bad logic that we don’t really smoothly return to earth and become shadow and dust, but rather rot in coffins and at long length make it out of the coffins in the form of harmful liquids tainting the soil and subsoil water, or are disbanded all over the atmosphere in cremation. While I personally like the idea of being sent of in particles too small to see, one must admit she has a case.
Wiigh-Mäsak’s sollution, soon to be rolled out by her enterprise Promessa Organic Inc., is to freeze-dry corpses with liquid nitrogen, and then bury them in coffins made of corn starch, just a foot below ground. She further suggests a tree or bush to be planted above the coffin, as primary beneficiary of the soon-to-be-mould corpse and coffin. This new method obviously sparks questions on ethics (“liquid nitrogen” has a rather unethical ring to it, no?), questions to which Wiigh-Mäsak gave this reply, to Filter:
I would like to show [the Swedish IRS] a twenty year old grave. After that, we could discuss ethics.
Fall is a wonderful time to visit the Bronx. In addition to the changing seasons, this weekend you have an even greater incentive to head to the borough of parks: Jill Sigman‘s ” Our Lady of Detritus.”
“A portable, interdisciplinary performance installation about trash and transcendence; a traveling grassroots campaign fueled by experimentation, green energy sources and community interaction.”
via the Freshkills Park Blog
By now, you surely know all about the super hip Trash Track. For our UK readers, there are possibilities of getting your very own refuse involved! New Scientist are currently accepting applications for UK trash to be tracked, closing September 30th. As there’s only one spot open, make sure to carefully craft that 75 word motivation on what you would like to tag and why. And do let us know what you submit!
Back from the motherland, thinking “honestly, what are they thinking?”
Background: Swedish Public Radio are reporting today on food waste. Previously, this discusson has been focusing mainly on households (who throw out about 11 pounds of edible food every week). Today our lovely radio turned the attention to supermarkets: Annualy, supermarkets in Sweden (population 9 million) throw away 110 000 us short tonnes of perfectly edible food. Value US$ 292 million. Food giants are saying that they only do what customers want them to do, and that putting “old” food on sale is bad for their corporate image.
Again: What are they thinking? (I’m thinking I should resaddle and head into the food business. There’s obviously lots of tra$h to collect.)
For those of you who now feel guilty, check out Love Food Hate Waste, a nice little UK resource on how to at least avoid this in your home. They have recepies!
I’m back! So much trash to catch up on. For starters, last week the Wall Street Journal compared the environmental impact, usability and, of course, stylishness, of reusable shopping bags in this slide show.
I’m heading to Rio, Vic is heading to Stockholm, it may be a slow week for garblogging. Catch you on the other side of the long weekend. Hopefully we’ll return with fun tales of foreign trash. Like this rad ecological center in Brazil. Thanks for the link, Keith!