Archive for February, 2011

Indian weddings

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Indian government estimates that 15% of the nation’s food grains are served and “wasted” at lavish wedding ceremonies. In an attempt to regulate that waste and keep up with a growing economy, India is looking to ban or restrict lavish weddings.

Saffron pudding, the only photo of food I took at the not-so-lavish Indian wedding I attended in December.

As care2 puts it:

But the government shouldn’t just try to control how people organize events, they also need to be responsible for how they distribute food, and it’s entirely possible that those networks are corrupt and inefficient.  So perhaps they can do both – encourage people to cut down on lavish spending, but also improve their own internal channels for bringing food to the poor.

via Wasted Food

Newtown Winter

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nathan Kensigner, featured here before for his documentation of infrequently frequented industrial corners of New York City, turns his lens on Newtown Creek in photos posted on his blog today.

Nathan Kensinger Photography

I’ve been traveling a lot lately for work and watching a lot of forgotten movies of the 1990’s on African cable. I can’t remember where or what film or TV show, but sometime in the last couple of weeks I saw a clip of the Newtown creek digester eggs as part of a scifi plot that used the images to portray some sort of alien energy production or a spaceship or something. It reminded me of the tour of the creek I got this past November from photographer Anthony Hamboussi.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

While traveling in Kenya last week for work, I had the rare fortune to visit with Carolina for Kibera, a youth-driven urban poverty nonprofit and home to  Taka ni Pato aka the Trash is Cash project (featured in a recent post). Here are some photos from my walk through Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum. The population is a topic of much dispute and debate. To average the estimates, let’s say half a million people crammed into an area the size of Manhattan’s Central Park.


These kids aren’t part of the Trash is Cash project, they’re just some little ones I passed on the main road cutting through the slum. A colleague who works in Kibera advised against taking photos of people, especially kids because there is some resentment on the part of locals who think too many photographers come in, photograph their children and profit off the images. If I wasn’t careful with my camera, he said, people might hurl stones at us. I don’t know how true this is, but for the most part heeded the warning.


Side street


Layers of trash

As you can see, trash is such a part of the landscape it is indistinguishable from the ground. At times it was impossible to tell if we were walking on mud or plastic. Trash is Cash teaches youth from Kibera how to sort reusable material, collect it form their neighbors and wash and shred plastic to sell to Kenyan recycling companies. They started out just collecting plastic but soon discovered they could quadruple profits by cleaning and shredding. I didn’t have a chance to see any of this in action on this trip, but hope to get a trash-specific tour on my next visit to Nairobi. Here’s a blog post with a bit more info on the project.

And for anyone who missed it, here again is the Trash is Cash music video featuring Kenyan artists. I am truly humbled and inspired by these kids.

Apologies for the light posting of late, I’ve been traveling with shitty internet access.



P.S. This is’s 1000th post. Thank you all for sticking with me, especially those of you who send me tips and most especially my partner in trash, Victor. Here’s a link to the very first post published on August 27th, 2006.

Jennifer Beals to Chicago: “Recycle!”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jennifer Beals, star of (Flashdance, The L Word and) a new show called The Chicago Code,  wants the real life city of Chicago to start recycling. CLARIFICATION THANKS TO COMMENTER BELOW: CHICAGO RECYCLES, BEALS’ COMMENT IS ABOUT THE ART INSTITUTE IN PARTICULAR, WHICH SHE THINKS SHOULD LET HER BRING HER OWN WATER BOTTLE.

And, for no trash-related reason, the best dance scene from Flashdance (if you think it’s the flying somersault, you are wrong)!

Global Trash

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Are you  a fan of on Facebook? Check out our ever expanding album, Global Trash, made up of photos from Leila’s travels plus some amazing shots contributed by friends around the world.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

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