Posts Tagged ‘water’

my plastic obsession confession

July 6, 2011

UPDATE: All of the plastic bits were claimed by a budding fashion designer, Sarah, who will make plastic couture with them. I’m so excited to have found someone who’s going to put all of my trashy treasures to use!

I’ve admitted this before, but I think I’ve lapsed into denial for a spell. Here’s my confession: I can’t throw plastic away. Mainly because I’m fully aware there is no “away.” Away is a hole in the ground in the best case scenario, and in the worst, away is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (there’s also a North Atlantic version, though it seems to get less press) and perhaps eventually our bodies (by way of the fish who are eating the plastic thinking it’s smaller fish or plankton). I think of the harmless creatures who end up living with and consuming this eternal flotsam. How can I discard all of these plastic bits that inevitably end up in my home in seemingly benign ways? Surely I won’t stop buying glass bottles of olive oil (with a plastic cap) or milk (with plastic cap), or stop buying plants (that come in plastic starter pots). And so I collect.

{bucket o’ plastic}

obsession #6

My collection started back when I had a regular day job and still drank coffee. I started thinking about my daily cup and the plastic (#6 polystyrene, or PS) lid that kept hot java from spilling on me or my computer. I thought about how just little old me was using up at least 250 of these plastic lids a year (now think of all of the people in the office, in the building, on the block, in the city, &c). For some time, instead of bringing my own travel mug, I continued to utilize this “free” paper cup and plastic lid as my vessel. And I began collecting. But then I quit my job and coffee along with it. To freelance gigs, I’d bring my own mug and tea. Though I still had that collection sitting in a box at home…

{PS. i hate you. yes, i’m talking to you, smiley plastic bear!}

 

what doesn’t get trashed, gets stashed

The #6 obsession was just the beginning. Plastic tabs from bread bags, bottle caps, grocery store vegetable conveyances – it all became fair game. Whatever bits of plastic I can’t recycle now get stashed in what has been deemed the crap closet, aka The Library of Trash (we are blessed with abundant closet space). The intention with the collection was to create something, a sculpture perhaps, that would heighten public awareness to the plastic pollution problem. My inspiration was an image that is deeply embedded in my psyche, encouraging my obsession to thrive: a dead albatross, stomach cut open to reveal about a half a pound of plastic bits.

{tragedy as a source of inspiration}

 

obsessions are obstructive

The collection sits and grows. And although my library of trash has proved useful for other projects, this sculpture I dreamed up has not come to be. I’ve decided it’s time to move on and find a new home for all the petroleum-derived bits & pieces. I know it will never really have a rightful home because it will outlast us by many millennia (no known organism has been found to degrade #6 plastic – move over Iron Age, the Plastic Age will live on in infamy!). But I imagine it will make a good material for kids’ art projects or might make a fellow trash artist happy for a while. I’m posting it on Craigslist, Freecycle, Krrb, Facebook, Twitter & right here. Any takers?

{polystyrene comes in many forms}

{#3 plastic, aka, PVC, polyvinyl chloride. another plastic i love to hate}

{this sticker is likely made of vinyl}

{i bring this form of polystyrene to the local postal shop for reuse}

{i’ll reuse some of these as packing material}

{it’s hard for me not to picture some kind of sea creature caught up in these nets}

For more about how to avoid the dangers of plastic & other toxins, check out Plastic Albatross.

related posts:

when will demand for virgin resources be exhausted?

revisiting the 3 Rs

 

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a weed is a plant out of place

June 15, 2011

Jewelweed, ally against poison ivy.

I love city life. I can step out of my apartment building door and arrive at just about any place I please in as little as 5 minutes, without getting in a car and even without mass transit. For example, there’s a good bodega on my corner with some decent organic products. There’s a delicious ice cream shop about 5o paces away that sells ice cream made from dairy that comes from pasture-raised cows. Up the hill is a museum, and the botanic gardens. And just 2 blocks away is my urban refuge – Prospect Park. I spend much of my time there foraging, wildcrafting tenacious “exotic invasives” (aka, weeds), or just staring at the open sky. But despite all of these spoils, I still long for more. More green, more wilds, more open space.

There’s nothing as restorative as a visit to the country. Just a few miles north of the city there’s this place most city folk call “Upstate” (there’s also the westward land, like rural New Jersey where I’m from). Though real upstate probably doesn’t start technically until you reach the Catskills. And that’s where I found myself last week, and just south of there the weekend before.

wild weed plant ID field trip with Peeka Trenkle

At the end of winter I completed an herbal medicine course with Peeka Trenkle. At that time, very little was growing to ID, so we had to wait for the plants to emerge to have a worthwhile field trip. So Saturday before last, we went traipsing through the woods and fields of Stone Mountain Farm in New Paltz. I’ve been on several plant ID walks, all inspiring and fruitful, and this was no exception. Of the plants I could readily identify there was: plantain (Plantago major & Plantago lanceolata), sassafras, wild geranium/cranesbill (Geranium maculatum), Jack-in-the-pulpit, cleavers (Gallium aparine), jewelweed (Impatiens), burdock (Arctium lappa), violet, Japanese knotweed, mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris – one of my favorites), curly/yellow dock, wild cherry, wild raspberry (Rubus idaeus), viburnum, goldenrod (Solidago sp), red clover (Trifolium pratense), juniper, oak, white pine, wild rose, buttercup, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), and willow. I was grateful to meet some other plant allies which I hadn’t seen growing in person: wild angelica (Angelica atropurpurea), potentilla, greater celandine (Chelidonium majus), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), monarda, chicory, yellow sweet clover, milkweed, motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) elder (Sambucus nigra), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), and lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea).

Some of the allies we encountered, plus some of their benefits…

Lesser stitchwort, so named for its ability to relieve a “stitch” or cramp in one’s side.

Elder, before blossoming. Elder protects us from viruses like cold and flu. I’ve heard her berries also make a good wine.

Motherwort, ally during times of anxiety.

Horsetail, the great re-mineralizer, ally for strengthening bones and teeth.

 

farm stay at Newton Farm Cooperative

In the tiny hamlet of West Kill lies a beautifully diverse place called Newton Farm Cooperative. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who’s part of this cooperative, farming the land part time. During the short time we spent there, we created long days full of small adventures. Weeding, sowing, watering, weeding. (What is a weed but a plant out of place?) I arose earlier than usual with the sun shining in the large window next to my bed, the dewy meadow calling me to explore. Barefoot, I wandered, inspecting weeds that I’d later craft into medicines, transfixed by tiny insects, distracted by red wing blackbird calls and the whooshing wing beats of barn swallows. The two resident roosters and mess of hens completed the symphony of bucolic sounds.

My morning view.

Weedin’ and hoein’.

Barn swallow nest.

Dewy daisy.

Yarrow.

We ate well, harvesting a little bit of radish and lettuce from the farm beds, adding in some weeds – wild thyme and wood sorrel – as seasoning. Dinner was al fresco, by fireside (Meg is a skilled firestarter). Once it truly got dark – something that doesn’t happen in the city, unless there’s a blackout – we could see the stars. I saw a meteor fall (a shooting star) and we watched satellites blink across the sky. And then the fireflies came out, fervently flashing to find their mates.

We harvested gallons of spring water from a roadside spot in Hunter (Justin did the heavy lifting), and went strawberry picking at Greig Farm in Red Hook (Meg picked the reddest berries, and not surprisingly harvested the quickest). On the way back to the farm we dropped into the Mountain Brook Inn for a drink and chat with Lyndon, resident of the area for 28 years. He was full of useful tips for enjoying the area.

Just a few strawberries and a couple of drops of mountain fresh spring water.

Red clover. I harvested some and left much for the bees.

Lovely lettuce.

Flower of Plantago lanceolata.

Something for the bees to build on.

Before we reluctantly left for home, Ron stopped by with his delicious dark chocolate-covered frozen fruit Trop Pops for us to sample. Then Sarah and I walked down to the creek to dip our feet in. Next time, we declared, we’ll come here to sun on the rocks, maybe bring some inner tubes and float around.

In contrast to the plentiful spaciousness around us, the four of us crowded into my jam-packed Prius (which I affectionately call “Turtleboat rollerskate”) full with our bounty of fresh eggs, buckets of strawberries, gallons of Catskill mountain spring water, plus all we brought with us. It was as if we were trying to take back to the city all we could of this country retreat. Taking our time, we savored as much of the countryside as possible before returning to urban life. First, a stop at Grandmere Yvonne’s for her homemade paté, rillette, jams, mustards, and vinegars to take home. I especially enjoyed hearing how the venison paté I was buying was made with a deer that was struck by a car right in front of Yvonne’s home. The cop on the scene butchered the fallen creature, taking half for himself and giving half to Yvonne. Next we scored $1 clothing items at the Tibetan thrift shop in Kingston (the checkout lady says, “this is a dollar, is that alright?”). The last detour was to New Paltz for a picnic lunch of tasty leftovers, afterwards picking up chocolates from The Cheese Plate (where I’d been doing the same thing just the week before after the plant ID trip).

Though our stay was only two and a half days, I returned feeling restored in some deep way. Resting my eyes on the open, living & verdant world versus the cluttered, hard & constructed one in which I live cleared my mind and gave my heart a space to open into. Having just read Stephen Harrod Buhner’s The Secret Teachings of Plants gave me a newfound perspective and helped keep me present to the pulse of life around me. I plan on returning to Newton Farm soon.

 

no new clothing challenge

November 4, 2010

(Image: Posh Girl Vintage)

I dare you to buy no new clothes for the next 3 months!

(GASP!) Is it possible? You can bet your bottom dollar it is. I buy just about all of my clothes from second-hand/vintage shops (except for the intimates, that is). I’ve scored lovely clothing items at swaps, too (read: free clothes!).

What inspired this dare? The Brooklyn Green Team – self-described as a team of Brooklyn superheroes dedicated to reducing our environmental impact and inspiring othershas started a new challenge to buy no new clothes. They didn’t give a time frame in their message (below), but if my memory serves me – and I have been eating my ginkgo nuts these days – their challenges last for 3 months. (Also see below several compelling reasons why one would want to eschew new clothes.)

How will I accomplish this 3-month marathon of nothing new? I can take some cues from The Uniform Project or Brown Dress and wear the same dress in different ways for many days. If I’m craving something “new” I can scour Etsy and ebay for retro duds, or seek out unique finds following Brooklyn Based’s timely post on Brooklyn’s bevy of vintage boutiques. I can also make or remake my clothes a la Threadbanger. Or I can just make do with what I’ve got – limitation leads to creativity!

So I’m taking the challenge to buy no new clothes for 3 months – won’t you join me?

From the Brooklyn Green Team…

We’re going old-school (is 3 years old school?) and digging in our closets to bring back our
No New Clothing Challenge!*
Join us in going vintage, thrift, recycled, hand-me-down or eco-friendly. Every single action has an impact in some way somewhere on this planet. Because of globalization, we are often disconnected from the impact of our everyday choices. For example, our new fall shirt might be made with cotton that requires 1/3 lb of chemicals to produce and manufactured in a pollution-emitting factory far away.

Let’s make a positive impact and equal the balance. Support local shops owned by locals that dig out wearable treasures from the past and present. This will make you more stylish because five other people aren’t wearing it to work. Unleash your inner fashionista, while helping the planet. Worried about bedbugs? Us too. Throw your clothes in a dryer right away to kill them off OR you could put them in the freezer for 2 weeks (really)!

More compelling reasons to do it:

  • The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.
  • 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.
  • The materials used to make our attire are often environmentally toxic and require significant amounts of energy and water during the manufacturing process.
  • The 12 to 15 percent of people who shopped at consignment and thrift stores in 2006 saved 2.5 billion pounds of clothes from re-entering the waste stream.
  • The manufacturing of nylon emits nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with a carbon footprint 310 times that of carbon dioxide.
  • According to the USDA, in one year alone over 50 million pounds of pesticides were used on U.S. cotton fields. Pesticide and fertilizer use on cotton has been linked to ground and surface water contamination, and the pollution of drinking water. In California, cotton ranks third in the state for total number of pesticide-related illness. Fish and wildlife and also impacted, with pesticides causing migration die-offs and diminished reproductive capacity.

For those of you living in the New York City area, we’ve attached a list of vintage and second-hand clothing stores in our area.

Resources:
Brooklyn is Vintage Store Mecca. Here are a few we know and like:

There are also clothing swaps:

Want to host a Clothing Swap? Rachel Avalon lays out the fundamentals in this video.

If you would like to join the Challenge, please email brooklyngreen@gmail.com
and say, “Yes! I’m ready to join the No New Clothing Challenge !”

Questions? Email us. (brooklyngreen@gmail.com)
Read our [blog] (http://brooklyngreenteam.blogspot.com/) for occasional updates and helpful bits of information.
Stay tuned for an invite to a challenge encouragement get-together…

You are all Super-Duper Heroes!
POW! YOU’VE BEEN GREENED!

*Challenge does not apply to underwear or environmentally friendly clothing. We think it’s only fair.

can you see the sea?

January 8, 2010

Check out my latest post on Aribra!

From where I live, I can hear cruise ships sound warnings in the night. I can see sea gulls pausing in church towers. Sometimes, I think I can even smell the sea, or at least feel its misty kiss.

But from where I live, in my apartment or on terra firma (the sidewalk outside) I cannot see from where these signs come. I cannot see the sea.

Read more…

i do 30, do you?

December 14, 2009

Some like it hot, but I like it cold. The water temp setting on my washing machine, that is. That baby is locked in at the cold position for every load of wash. If everyone in Europe alone kept their laundry setting at 30°C (86°F – though I think mine is colder than that), it would mean the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road, according to ido30.org. Wah? For real? Seems so. So heed the advice of New Edition and ‘Cool It Now’ – turn your washer setting to cold.

And watch this fun vid featuring a tiny washing machine in the streets of Copenhagen from I do 30. May as well join their facebook page while you’re at it, too.


Oh, Bobby B, what happened?

restoring the ecuadorian amazon with mycoremediation

November 14, 2009


Macrolepiota procera [image: Wikipedia]

Between 1964 and 1992, Texaco (now Chevron) dumped over 18.5 billion gallons of oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Birth defects, cancer rates and general malaise are exceedingly common in the city of Lago Agrio and other communities living near the 627 open, unlined waste pits that remain full of crude petroleum. The toxins have seeped into the groundwater, poisoning crops and livestock while leaving many residents with no choice but to drink contaminated water. Mycorestoration uses a host of mycological technologies to rehabilitate ecologically degraded habitats. Mycoremediation applies the natural capacity of mycelium to break down or remove toxic substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, PCBs and heavy metals.

Cloud Forest Institute & Amazon Mycorenewal Project
Ecuadorian Political Ecology, Oil Pollution, and Mycoremediation
Service Learning Course with Spanish Language and Science Labs
Dec 15, 2009 – Jan 15, 2010 (or select dates)

The Cloud Forest Institute in collaboration with the Amazon
Mycorenewal Project and The Clean Up Oil Waste Project invite
undergraduate, graduate and lifelong students to attend our 2009
Winter Service Learning Course on Ecuadorian Political Ecology, Oil
Pollution, and Mycoremediation.

Mycoremediation is a developing scientific field experimenting with
mushrooms to sequester toxins. Mycelium is now being tested in Ecuador
in an effort to clean up billions of gallons of toxic oil wastes left
behind by Chevron Texaco during its 20 years of operation there (for
which the company is currently on trial in perhaps the largest
environmental lawsuit in history).

This course will take students to Quito, Lago Agrio, Mindo and
Cuyabeno to experience the striking biological and cultural diversity
of Ecuador’s many regions including the Andes Mountains and Amazon
Rainforest. Students will participate in the development of ground
breaking mycoremediation technology and study Latin American political
ecology. Service learning with local community members will help heal
lands polluted by the oil industry. Students can receive independent
study credit through their existing college or universities.

Students may enroll in four week-long sections individually or for the
entire month long course in which we will examine Ecuadorian cultural
traditions, political ecology, oil economics, toxicity and
bioremediation. You may also pick and choose which courses you would
like to attend in sections of one-week, individually.

COURSE DESCRIPTION & ITINERARY*

A Country Study: Introduction to Ecuadorian Culture, History and Ecology

Monday, December 14th: Arrive in Quito, evening introductions, welcome
and orientation. Tuesday, December 15th: Morning tour through colonial
Quito, we spend the first day learning about Ecuador’s history and
culture, including do’s and taboo’s and the importance of respectful
behavior while in a foreign country. Afternoon travel to Lago Agrio
for the first Mycorenewal Workshop.

Section 1 – Field Study: Mycorenewal of Toxic Sites
Wednesday, December 16th – Monday, December 22nd

Students journey to Lago Agrio with the Amazon Mycorenewal Project.
This Service Learning mycoremediation course will run in conjunction
with community workshops training locals to utilize mycorenewal
techniques to clean toxic petroleum pollution. A seed germination
toxicity experiment will be installed to test the effectiveness of
previous AMP experiments of soil mycoremediation by observing seed
ability to germinate and grow. This will take place during two week-
long workshops.

Section 2 – Cloud Forest Conservation Holiday Retreat
Tuesday, December 23rd – Sunday, December 28th

While the seeds germinate, students journey to Mindo where they enjoy
the cloud forest while learning about Ecuador’s incredibly diverse
ecology. Students will be able to participate in a wide range of
activities while in Mindo including bird watching, hiking, mushroom
hunting, river rafting, visiting waterfalls, orchid and butterfly
attractions, and just relaxing by the riverside amongst the
butterflies and hummingbirds. Topics to be covered include Biology of
the Cloud Forest, Threats to the Cloud Forest, and Conservation of the
Cloud Forest. Spanish language instruction is available during this
session. Sunday 28th: Leave Mindo and go back to Quito for the night.

Section 3 – Journey Into the New Year
Monday, December 29th – Monday, January 5th

In this session, students foray into the Amazon wilderness in Cuyabeno
to observe an intact Amazonian environment. Activities include hiking,
mushroom hunting, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. Students will meet
with indigenous community members and spend time in ritual with
shamans of the community.

Section 4 – Myco Workshop II
Tuesday, January 6th – Thursday, January 14th

Peak Oil Issues – Production: Destruction of Ecology, Community and
Traditional Ways of Life

The course then returns to Lago Agrio for the final session and
completion of the seed germination experiment. Stops along the way
introduce students to communities and show toxic sites abandoned by
the oil industry, including pipeline ruptures, abandoned wells, and
communities located near active wells. Thursday 14th: Farewell dinner.
Program ends.
Itinerary dates subject to adjustment.

COSTS
$1,000 per section or $3,600 when enrolled in all four sections. Cost
covers food, lodging and in country transportation, special gear, as
well as all activities listed in the itinerary. Spanish language
instruction is optional and costs $10 per hour for individual
instruction; this cost may be split between up to 5 students of the
same ability level. Additional costs not covered may include, but are
not limited to: airfare, required travel insurance, optional travel
immunizations, suggested reading, beverages, souvenirs, tips and
donations. $100 articulation and curriculum fee for students seeking
college credit through independent study. Spanish instruction is
included in the $1000 individual section cost for the Cloud Forest
Holiday Retreat.
Limited scholarships are sometimes available. Students may inquire
with Cloud Forest Institute to find out more.

FACULTY & STAFF

Freeda Alida Burnstad, Director Cloud Forest Institute
Course organizer and promoter. Acts in a supportive capacity to the
course and course leaders while in Ecuador. Guest speaker during Cloud
Forest portion. AMP team member.

Lindsay Ofrias, The Clean Up Oil Waste Project LLC Founder
New York City liaison. Person of contact for students interested in
attending the workshops. Collaborates with universities, NGO’s, and
Ecuadorian leaders. Spanish translator and project coordinator.
Assistant teacher, Globalization.

Cristian Vaca, Environmental Activists and Eco-tourism Organizer
Cloud Forest Institute coordinator in Mindo. Provides in country
logistical support. Guest speaker during Cloud Forest portion.

Mia Maltz MS, RITES Project Founder
Permaculturist and Mycoremediation Specialist. Workshop presenter for
this course, Solar Living Institute, and many other venues. AMP team
member.

Auriah Milanes, Environmental Engineer
Cloud Forest Institute Alumni. Course leader.

Donaldo Moncayo, Amazon Defense Coalition
President (Mayor) of the community Santa Cruz. Local host and
experiment lead. AMP team member.

Nicola Peel, Eyes of Gaia
Amazon Mycorenewal Project Founder. Documentary Artist. Guest speaker.

Dr. Robert Rawson, International Wastewater Solutions
Bioremediation and Waste Water Specialist. Course workshop presenter.
Part-time faculty for Santa Rosa JC. AMP team member.

Silvia Sornoza, Executive Assistant Cloud Forest Institute
Provides in country logistical support. AMP team member.

Ricardo Viteri, Ecuadorian Mycological Society Kallambas
Commercial mushroom grower in Quito. AMP team member.

Language instruction is provided by the licensed instructors of
Amazonas Spanish School. Other guest lecturers and local experts will
be featured in the course.

SERVICE PARTNERS
Amazon Defense Coalition, Amazon Mycorenewal Project, Cloud Forest
Institute, Ecuadorian Mycological Society Kallambas, The Clean Up Oil
Waste Project LLC.

***Contact Luz at the Clean Up Oil Waste Project for questions or inquiries regarding this program: cleanupoilwaste@gmail.com, (631) 645-0021.

hop on the waterpod while you still can

September 17, 2009

Have you caught a glimpse of that fantastic vessel, the one growing squash & tomatoes & chickens? The one that composts, harvests rainwater & sustains its shipmates? Perhaps you have, perhaps you’ve stepped on board. But if you haven’t, and have the slightest inkling of curiosity as to what the Waterpod holds, you only have 2 weeks to quench your thirst.

The Waterpod is about to sail off into the sunset (well, technically, it doesn’t “sail”). Below, a message from the pod regarding their last hurrah.

The Waterpod would like to invite you to join us for our final two weeks open to the public on New York waterways. We will celebrate the closing of our amazing four-month journey with “Future of Mobility, Urbanity, and Water(pods)” at the World’s Fair Marina Pier 1 in Flushing, Queens from September 16 – 27th. Visit our website for up-to-date information and events: www.thewaterpod.org.

This celebration will include events with The Queens Museum of Art, Conflux Festival, Underwater New York, Swimming Cities, Terreform, Wicked Delicate’s Truck Farm, Andrew Faust and the Center for Bioregional Living [aside: this is who’s teaching me the wonders of permaculture], hands-on workshops for Thriving After the Flood by artist Christopher Robbins, Secret School and the K.I.D.S and Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Response Systems.

We will conclude with an all day “I Remember Future” party on Sunday, September 27, 2009 from 11am-11pm in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art. There will be trolley service from QMA to the Waterpod. The day will include, “Ascend” a pirate television broadcast/planetarium installation by artist James Case Leal, a globular sound installation curated by Lauren Rosati, and DJ Trent Wolbe from WFMU, among other futuristic happenings.

We are at the Worlds Fair Marina Pier 1 from Sept. 16- Sept 27.
We are open to the public Thursday/Friday 8am-4pm and Saturday/Sunday 11am-7pm.

Here is schedule of events, please join us!

Friday 9/18:
Conflux Festival 2-4:30pm on the Waterpod. Waterpod team talks about life on board.
5pm Piledrivers music

Saturday 9/19:
3pm Urban Permaculture workshop with Andrew Faust; Regenerating Today’s Cityscapes
5pm Betsy Bradley,Father Knickerbocker Meets the Future: Lecture about the World’s Fair

Sunday, September 20:
1pm Christopher Robbins & Matt Bua –Waterborn edibles in New York / Build a solar cooker
3pm Underwater New York Readings
6-10pm Swimming Cities Fundraiser Party

Saturday, 9/26:
1pm- Christopher Robbins & Douglas Paulson-Jerry-rigging 101: Build your own boat from urban detritus/Knot tying-bring stuff that might float
3pm Secret School and the K.I.D.S. host a “wild tea party”: a workshop on making jam and tea from foraged wild edible fruit.
4pm: Terreform Lecture founders Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim. talk about the Future of Urbanity
6-7pm Artist Hector Canonge “Utopia” video showing
6-8pm Jérémie Gindre and Frédéric Post, Special show case and sound performance, co-curated by Espace Kugler in Sweden

Sunday 9/27: Final Day of Waterpod
11a-11pm “I Remember Future” all day Goodbye Waterpod Party in conjunction with The Queens Museum of Art (Trolley from QMA to Waterpod)
12pm Barbara Flanagan “Water Homes” lecture and book signing
1pm – Christopher Robbins & Ian Warren-Making portable gardens, Cereal banks (D.I.Y. protectionism) and food preservation
2-6pm Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis present their Truck Farm
3pm Urban Secret School and The K.I.D.S. make jam and tea and Cassie Thornton Barter System Beauty Salon
4-6pm Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Response Systems
6-8pm Lauren Rosati curates sound installation in dome
4-11pm James Case Leal’s Ascend Planetarium video installation in dome and broadcast at The Queens Museum of Art
8-11pm Trent Wolbe of WFMU will DJ
9-11pm Band TBA

Subway Directions: From Grand Central Station take the 7 train to Willets Point Blvd – Mets Station. Head towards Citi Field. Take the sidewalk to the left of Citi Field until it ends. Cross the Whitestone Expressway and the World’s Fair Marina Pier 1 is across the street and to the right. Waterpod™ is located at the end of Pier 1.

Google Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=108226320777055742290.0004739489a1697c86cf6&ll=40.76148,-73.85381&spn=0.010792,0.021265&z=16

Thank you,
The Waterpod Team

skills to pay the bills (or at least save a little dough)

August 26, 2009

Got a hankerin’ to make stuff, but don’t know how? In a time when people are pinching pennies out of necessity or just to consume less for the good of the planet, it helps to know there are some free ways to learn a few new tricks.

Check it out…

Thursday, August 27 (that’s tomorrow!)

Lori Gibbs and Atom Cianfarani want to teach you how to GreenIt Yourself this Thursday with a green roof and gardening in small spaces Workshop. At the Toyota Children’s Garden (one of New York Restoration Project’s babies) from 7 pm to 8 pm. And there will be refreshments!

Toyota Children’s Garden
603 East 11th Street, New York, NY

Friday, August 28 (in prep for Saturday, October 10)

Okay, this one’s a little bit preemptive, and maybe not so free, but it comes pretty darn close. This concert, featuring local bands, will help fund a day of skill sharing on October 10 at the Brooklyn Skillshare.

On Saturday, October 10, you’re gonna learn all kinds of crazy stuff: ricotta-making, liquor-infusing, kombucha-brewing, screenprinting, and a whole lot more. The door price is based on a sliding scale ($10 suggested), so pay what you can.

The fundraising show that’s this Saturday, on the other hand, is $7 and features local acts like The XYZ Affair and Gunfight!.

Get all the details for the event and the fund-raising-music-show at the trusty e-newsletter of my favorite borough, Brooklyn Based.


Monday, August 31

So you want to use a reusable shopping bag but don’t want to shell out the dollars to get one? How’s about making one for yourself? Learn how at this free workshop – 3rd Ward’s Sweatshop Social. You supply the fabric (an old t-shirt perhaps?), they supply the notions and the (cheap) beer. Bring your own cup and the suds are just a buck.

[via Brooklyn Based]

And for all you green thumb wannabes…
More free events coming soon to Brooklyn Botanic Garden through their GreenBridge Program (these are free, but ya gotta register – so sign up right quick!).

Street Tree Care
Thursday, September 17, 6 to 8 pm
Thursday, November 5, 6 to 8 pm
Street trees do much to improve our environment, but they often receive little care. In this class, learn the benefits of street trees and how to improve the health of a street tree by caring for its bed. Get tips on amending soil, mulching, watering, pruning, and tree-bed gardening. Bring your street-tree care questions and find out more about the city’s efforts to increase and protect the urban forest canopy.

Starting a Children’s Garden
Thursday, October 15, 6 to 8 pm
Would you like to develop a children’s garden at your school, block association, or neighborhood organization? This workshop will provide tips for adult leaders who want to organize a children’s gardening program. Learn how to plan your program and what tools and plant materials are needed to get growing. You will receive a free activity booklet and visit our children’s education greenhouse for hands-on activities.

Getting to Know Your Soil
Wednesday, October 28, 6 to 8 pm
Interested in knowing more about your soil? Concerned about safely growing food in urban soils? This class will demonstrate several easy diagnostic activities for learning about your soil. How to take a soil sample for testing will be demonstrated as well as interpreting lab results. You’ll also receive tips on improving urban soils.

Rainwater Harvesting
Thursday, October 22, 6 to 8 pm
Learn the benefits of reducing your dependence on NYC water and minimizing storm water flows into our sewers by collecting rainwater for use in your garden. It’s easy to use roofs from nearby buildings and garden sheds to harvest rainwater. Come learn about the different types of rainwater harvesting systems being used throughout NYC community gardens from simple pickle barrels to large tanks, and get tips on how to build your own.

Introduction to Permaculture
Tuesday, November 10, 6 to 8 pm
Permaculture is a design approach based on interpreting natural patterns for human benefit. Learning how to read the land and planning for long-term development are two objectives of this workshop. Permaculture works on all scales and levels. Discussion will cover topics ranging from choosing and using plants in groupings to observing and utilizing the elemental forces of wind, water, and sun.

do chickens get seasick?

August 19, 2009


Below the BQE, in a barren industrialized part of Brooklyn, was docked the Waterpod

Do chickens get seasick? Does sea air help or hinder the tomatoes? If you get a chance to visit the Waterpod – 3,000 square foot living ‘art-installation’ barge – could you do me a favor and ask these questions? A combination of heat and a weekend’s worth of permaculture lessons fried my noodle when I went to visit the operation on the Brooklyn waterfront last Sunday.

Here are some things to look forward to on your visit (they’re currently docked in Staten Island):


Bucky, eat your heart out.


Hey, your squash is hanging out!


These ladies are just minding their own business.


Grey water filtration system – awesome!


There shouldn’t be a mutiny on this bounty. (Ouch!)


Looks like a healthy tomato crop – no scurvy here


Some worthy shipmates saving amaranth seeds


Inside the living room – it was pretty cozy I’ll have to admit

Get the poop on the Waterpod

And some press on
NY Times

is the gowanus canal really sponge worthy?

July 22, 2009


The Gowanus Canal Issues, dlandstudio

Most New Yorkers, especially Brooklynites, know the beloved Gowanus Canal is teeming with nasty things: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum, raw sewage, and even gonorrhea. Since the late 1800s, the canal has been an unregulated dumping grounds for industry along its banks.

The canal is finally getting the attention it needs. Whether it ends up being an EPA Superfund site, or – if Bloomie get’s his way – the city cleans it up without the Feds, there is one organization ensuring the clean up and beautification happens – The Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

The Conservancy is working on, among other things, a Sponge Park that will make the Gowanus an inviting place for a leisurely stroll or sit, instead of the putrid, toxified wasteland it currently is. The “sponge” in this case are plants that filter out the nasties (sewage, heavy metals, petrol) that seep into the canal – water which eventually flushes out into the East River and the Atlantic beyond. A tall order indeed, but I’m optimistic that it’ll happen. All government agencies are on board and $300,000 was recently earmarked to help fund the park.

You can help out by donating or by volunteering for on one of their Clean & Green days. There’s one this Saturday, July 25. Sign up via email:
volunteer@gowanuscanalconservancy.org
(include your name, phone number and dates you’d like to participate).