President Trump’s full speech on two national monuments in Utah:
I wanted to post an update on my sustainable style midterm project. So far, I have been working off of the idea of upcycling old garments into new pieces, as well as creating original garments out of scrap materials leftover from previous projects. I have created a new pair of jeans from an old, oversized pair. The pants were originally black coated denim, but through wear became a charcoal color. I dip-bleached the color out of the bottom to get the two-tone effect. I then altered the fit through two seams running up the front of the legs. The design of the pants, was inspired by the imagery I found in my visual research of the large pools of wastewater created through the process of fracking.
This process also inspired the top that I have paired with these pants. I have created a shirt in four panels, using the grain lines to create converging lines in a downward formation. The fabric and construction plays into the ideas of the geological formations, gas, oil, and ground water, which are interrupted in the process of fracking.
I wanted to allude to the process of fracking as outlined by the EPA, which consists of 5 stages. The stages are as listed: Water Acquisition, Chemical Mixing, Well Injection, Flowback and Produced Water, and Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal. I believe this look beings to explore the ideas of fracking and the damage that it does to the environment. By connecting this form of consumerism of fossil fuels to the consumerism of fashion, I hope to begin a conversation about sustainability.
I cannot wait to see how Alex will frame these garments with his photography.
With my compiled and expanded research, I sat down to brainstorm how my concept of merging environmental image and clothing might manifest in the made garments. I envisioned upcycling denim, using recycled and leftover fabrics, and adding in unconventional materials in order to create these looks. They will mirror aspects of the environmental imagery they renderings are imposed on through color, silhouette, texture, or material. I have begun to find old garments that I will be using as well as excess materials I have found to recycle. I am curious to explore the deconstruction and reconstruction aspects of this process and how they may tie to relate to our connection to the environment. Pictured below are my initial ideas.
As police are now using Facebook check-ins to target those in protest at Standing Rock, people are taking to social media to support the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline by checking in to the Standing Rock Reservation via Facebook to dilute the check-in system and stand in solidarity with those physically protesting at Standing Rock.
Internet activism is not particularly new, and it is far from perfect. It is not necessarily the best way to participate but it is the most accessible and in the end it is an incredibly effective means to raise awareness about issues and start conversations around them. It’s amazing to see people taking a public stance at the intersection of an environmental and human rights issue. Making climate change a tangible issue to the public can be difficult as its effects are not often seen immediately, but when factors of climate change are directly correlated to human rights as well I think it is easier for people to sympathize with and take action to fight the unjust. Issues such as the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Sioux reservation exhibit how human lives, particularly an indigenous tribe, are being displaced by actions of large corporations extremely similar to many of the articles we read last week concerning Monsanto and Dartmouth. This directly reflects how the U.S. government has continued to marginalize Native American communities. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline would carry over 570,000 barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Not only would this harm the surrounding environment and jeopardize safe drinking water, but sacred burial grounds and cultural traditions would be destroyed in the process.
The gallery below is just a few of the increasing posts I saw when scrolling through Facebook in the last couple of days. If there is an issue that you believe in, there is always something you can do even if it is as simple as clicking a button and sharing a link:
Within our day-to-day lives, it can be difficult to see past what is only visible on the surface. We choose to investigate, dig deeper, and find out how the world around us is functioning. Often times, we rely on visual cues to set us into question. Through connecting these visuals to our investigative work, we aim to find answers that connect with our bank of knowledge. Once we find transparency, we often want to share this with others and make it more accessible to them than it was to us.
The film, “Merchants of Doubt” set me into thinking about this idea of transparency between consumer, company, and in this case, our third party, the environment. The tool used by these big CPA’s was doubt. The doubt acted as a layer of opacity, blocking the consumers from being able to pull back the curtain, and view the truth of the situation. This idea of transparency is a driving force in the concept of my midterm project in which I would like to explore the lines of capitalism and the environment through clothing.
The article, “The Fashion Industry and Its Impact on the Environment and Society” brings a level of awareness to the destructive impacts the fashion industry, specifically fast fashion, has on the environment globally. It is claimed “that the garment industry is the world’s second biggest world polluter” although it is hard to decipher exactly what impact it is having as the production process is much larger than one might think. The process spans the agriculture of fibers, manufacturing textiles, dying, printing, bleaching, construction, and shipping and that is only up to the point of the sale of the garment. In this line of manufacturing is the demand for water, fertilizers, dye chemicals, and waste in product.
Past its life on the line of manufacturing, a garment may be worn and then discarded as the next style comes in. A garment is either then resold, or disposed of. Only 15% of discarded clothing is resold or recycled. As highlighted by the article, the resale of clothing may not be a globally conscious act. It states, “not only does the availability of such a great quantity of second-hand clothes create unemployment within the garment sector of developing countries, but it also negatively impacts economic growth and destroys the designs inspired by local cultures and traditions.” This is not something the average consumer would know or be expected to infer even though it is something they interact with daily.
Fashion is not only a form of expression, but it is a form of communication. We send a message to those around us with our dress. I want to tap into this tool for communication to bring the issues discussed about capitalism and the environment to the forefront. Bringing these topics into our every day through dress allows it to be more visible. Placing it in context of our own bodies brings a point of interest to the closeness of these issues.
The looks will be created through styling, constructing new pieces, and altering old clothing. I plan to use the process of upcycling, taking an old garment and creating something new from it, as a key part of these conversational pieces. Putting these larger devices in conversation with one another, I hope to create curiosity and questioning. I aim to use my visual tools to set others into question and find a new level of transparency.
Shown below is the beginnings of my visual research aiming to begin a vocabulary of the organic, inorganic, human, non-human, industrial, and natural and how they may manifest themselves in art and fashion.
I write in response to these heavy articles:
The above image makes me feel many things. The main takeaway is that when you intermingle the industrial world with the natural world, there is something greatly off-putting. When you look at the image, the first uncomfortable detail is the smoke. It suffocates two-thirds of the image like a looming annoyance.
But after I see the smoke, I start to focus on many other issues. The industrial giant: carving out the horizon with its harsh lines.
The cows: grazing in peace while their lungs fill with mysterious byproducts.
The trees: cut down to make space for the industrial giant
The invisible organisms: the animals and plant life that were pushed out of their ecosystem long ago.
The ones that may never return.
All of this sounds very harsh and depressing, but it is real. After reading these articles, my mind was racing in a similar way. When you dive into a big issue like the fossil fuel industry depleting the state of Wisconsin or DuPont poisoning communities nationally with unknown chemicals, it is hard not to watch your brain spin.
The articles uncovered many aspects of industrial corruption and coverup. They revealed the true power of these industries: A power that can profit meanwhile destroying the health of the people, community, and ecosystems surrounding them.
In Bryan Schutmaat’s article, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” Lawyer Rob Billot went through the treacherous journey of these discoveries. The issues he found were much more serious then he had ever thought before. Like the image of the cows in front of the industrial giant, he was lost in a world where all the issues intertwined.
A similar dilemma is described in Emily J. Gertz’s article, “How the West Was Lost: Ranchers Devastated by Fossil Fuel Boom.” The powerful industries of an area were able to maneuver their way through laws and land and they could quickly take the health of that whole environment into their hands. If this was not true, Wisconsin would still be the Wild West.
Instead… I think the “FORWARD” thinking that Wisconsin had prized has become something more like:
The scariest part of all of this, though, is not just the effects it has put on these ecosystems and communities; with the great power of these industries comes great resources to fight, fight, and fight.
Although Rob Billot fought DuPont for much of his career, his battle was not a full victory. They are still using chemicals that are quite similar to PFOA, and many of these chemicals are still floating around our everyday lives.
If there is anything to be learned, it is that these battles cannot be fought alone. Wisconsin farmers are just a few. They watch their land degrade but they stand little chance against professional schemers. Similarly, civilians of a community with poisonous water might develop cancer but not even be aware of the cause because their water companies do not have to list the levels of chemicals that it contains.
They must be helped by others that can put up a fair fight against the professional schemers. They must join forces with members of the community that can challenge and try to change the laws put in place. Only TOGETHER do I think that anything can change.
Although he did not win it all, Rob Billot did a brave and incredible amount of work. He opened up the conversation about environmental protection in relation to the world of Justice.
This is where Earthjustice comes into play. There is hope at the end of the tunnel if we have someone to help us take on these big industries. Earthjustice thrives on taking down the powerful and profiteering so that the communities from near and far can be improved. Because they are nonprofit, their drive will never be one like these industrial powers: they understand that a piece of paper is not as important as others make it out to be.
Earthjustice has proven to work. They have helped environmental groups and movements throughout their history on a range of different issues. They understand that many of these environmental issues intercept, therefore they fight for healthier land, oceans, air, and animals.
It is always important to remember, though, that these lawyers cannot help if they don’t have many others willing to bring the issues forward. As they describe on their website: “The generous support of hundreds of thousands of individuals like you allows us to take on the most important cases and stick with them for as long as it takes.
They also highlight that awareness and education is essential in the battle against environmental issues. For this reason they have advocacy campaigns that focus on this. It is important that every environmentalist joins in spreading awareness.
The case against DuPont is well known, but how well known? If it had been spread around even more, how might things be different?
Reconsider this photo:
Take a breath.
While all of these issues at once might be overwhelming, when you break them down and fight together, it is possible to make change.
There is a powerful documentary from 2005 called “Why We Fight.” I urge you to watch it, especially if you are curious about how the politics of war in the US operate. Below is a trailer:
To summarize what I found educational about this film is that is shows you how big of a corporate business our war is in America. It elaborates on the strategies in the war on Iraq and wars today. In relation to environmentalism, it talks about how they use resources and develop weaponry for MASSIVE profit.
I saw that the actual film can be watched section to section on YouTube or rented through Netflix DVD )
After a long journey, filled with a lot of new information, not only about Indian Point Energy Center but also about nuclear power in general, Tucker and I have completed a cut of our documentary for the class. This cut is only five minutes long and our work is certainly not over. We have hours of information about Indian Point and the nuclear power process from a variety of experts including Dr. Irwin Redlener director of Columbia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, Arthur Ginsberg, an ex-engineer at Indian Point, and Physician’s for Social Responsibility board member Alfred Meyer. We would like to continue to work on building this documentary and adjusting it to fit the issue as the debate evolves. The issue of Indian Point remains to be a current issue locally and the debate over nuclear power as a resource remains contested nationally and globally.
Issues We Researched:
Some of the most interesting, and unexpected issues we learned about during our research and interview processes were
• The Algonquian Pipeline and the issues with its expansion so close to Indian Point.
• The effects of thermal-pollution on surrounding aquatic environments.
• In depth knowledge about the inner workings of nuclear power plants, including how they have evolved over time and the various safeguards installed.
• The history of Indian Point and the activist movement against it.
• Nuclear Power as compared to other forms of harnessing energy such as solar power, oil, and natural gas.
Arthur Ginsberg, an ex employee of Indian Point, drew Tucker and me a diagram of the closed circuits within a nuclear power point.
Tucker and I went to Peekskill to see Indian Point’s proximity to the Hudson river for ourselves. Tucker couldn’t resist the selfie.
We saw the power plant from pretty close up, our ability to reach the plant so easily sparked our curiosity about the possibility about Indian Point as a possible terrorist target.
Tucker attended and participated in a rally by the activist group SAPE (Stop Algonquian Pipeline Expansion) and noticed the very small amount of young individuals protesting.
Through our research, in particular our interview with Alfred Meyer, we discovered that Indian Point rests upon not one but two (Stamford-Peekskill and Ramapo) fault lines.
Initially Tucker and I were inspired to do our final project on the Indian Point Energy Center (Nuclear Power Plant) when Alfred Meyer came in to discuss the issue with our class. The more research we did on the power plant the more interested (and upset) Tucker and I became about the issue. After our interview with Alfred, Tucker and I were led to some interesting sources including the group SAPE. Through this exposure to activist groups we realized that we were not the only ones who were upset by this issue. But it would’ve been too easy to round up these activists and make a documentary arguing against Indian Point with their semi-credible knowledge.
So we looked for sources who could help us understand the multi-faceted debate surrounding Indian Point. I contacted several individuals from both the NYU Langone Medical Center and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. One source who was especially helpful in steering me in the right direction was Lorcan Folan, an engineer at Tandon who put me in touch with Dr. Redlener and Arthur Ginsberg. Dr. Redlener, director for Colombia’s Center for Natural Disaster Preparedness, gave me great insight as to how a problem at Indian Point could affect the entire surrounding community and coastal areas. Arthur Ginsberg was a very essential source as he spent 36 years of his life working for Indian Point in various positions from managing the control center to acting as one of the head engineers. He told Tucker and I about some of the inner workings of the plant such as their emergency plans and the training required to work at Indian Point. He also provided a counter-view that was in favor of the re-licensing of Indian Point and the continued use of nuclear power.
Tucker and I learned an incredible amount on this journey. But we do not plan to end the project here.
Arthur Ginsberg has discussed with us the possibility of visiting the facilities at Indian Point Energy Center, and we intend to take him up on this offer. We have an ample amount of footage to continue editing and we intend to stay informed on the still developing issues. We would like to eventually have a cut to send to film festivals and to organizations that could use our film to educate and empower others.
We hope that you join us in saying no to extractive industries and fighting for a cleaner, safer energy future!