Category Archives: Global Warming

Hurricane Sandy Five Year Anniversary

On this fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the producers of the series Years of Living Dangerously have made two episodes from the first season free to view on YouTube.

Years of Living Dangerously, Season 1 Episode 5: True Colors
Years of Living Dangerously, Season 1 Episode 7: Revolt, Rebuild, Renew


“Everything we needed to know about climate change, we knew in 1988.”
Naomi Oreskes



 

Inspirational Videos

These are two videos that have inspired how I want my final project to look. I love how the first video is edited. It helps tell the story, and this can only happen through video. People are used to watching dance on a stage, but this new form is becoming increasingly popular. This story is unique in the way that the video aids the plot of the dance. Also video lives forever, and because of that this dance will continue to shared for a very long time.

This video is another new way to view dance. Although I would love to go to the Arctic and film the dance there, that is near impossible. So I can not accomplish what this video does with using the environment as part of the dance, but I hope to have the environment sill present in my choreography.

“Embracing All Kinds of Nature”

Since my last update, I have changed a piece I previously made, and created a few new garments. Below are pictures I took of the clothes on a friend of mine. I tried to start to think about how we may want to frame the pieces through photography. And now that I have seen them on someone, I can begin to create an idea of styling or how each piece might connect to a larger scene. Some of the fabric used was found in a recycling container at Parsons, and some of the other fabric was left over from previous projects and costumes. I have not been finishing the edges on most of the pieces because I like having an allusion to the idea of incomplete, or unsolved. I believe this quality is echoed in the state of our environment and the choices we now get to make.


I listened to a podcast recently that has shaped my idea of what is occurring to our planet and what role we play in the destruction, preservation, and reshaping of the natural earth, animal species, and plant diversity. I came across the podcast while listening to the TED Radio Hour sponsored by National Public Radio. The topic: Age of the Anthropocene, or a new geological age, defined by humans and their unprecedented impact on Earth. It is broken down into six segments answering, “What’s The Anthropocene? How Do We Embrace All Kinds Of Nature? Are We Headed Into Another Mass Extinction? How Can Dinosaurs Help Us Understand Our Own Species?” and “Can We Preserve Seed Diversity For The Future?” The topics discussed were varied and allowed me to question the environment in ways beyond how we usually approach our consumption crisis. The podcast balances hope and concern well as well as addresses topics we may not know about and deepens topics we may know well.
In this new light, I continue with my final project, thinking of ways to deepen its impact and meaning. Finding out where I can express concern and where we can find hope and activism in the project. Alex and I are in talks right now about how to frame the garments and I know the ideas that have stuck with me must be interwoven. Especially, what I have gained from the segment Emma Marris did on embracing all kinds of nature. Marris brings us back to being a child and experiencing the wonders of life beyond us through the lens of raising her own children. The ideas that the younger generations will hold of the environment will inevitably be different from ours. But, it is still our responsibility to foster a care within them for the same thing we have loved, and lost in some cases. She brought light to something I too often lose sight of, nature in an urban setting. I know that at the very least, this is something that will come through in my final project.

Final Project Update

Throughout my time in Greenworld, I’ve become extremely uncomfortable knowing and witnessing firsthand how common illegal idling occurs every day in New York City. I will be writing and directing a short film concerning the urgency of addressing illegal engine idling on a local level in New York City, especially now that America has a new President-elect. This matter has never been more urgent than right now. The President-elect’s notions regarding climate change or preserving and protecting our environment are pitiful and terrifying. I am not one to claim someone is wrong. However, scientific facts exist to prove his statements are based on opinions, not facts and are therefore incorrect.

Anyway, back to the project… I first learned from George Pakenham that there has been an anti-idling law on the books in New York City since 1971 and has gone almost unenforced, all the more emphasizing the blatant disregard and terrifying indifference this important health and environmental issue brings to light. Ultimately, I will be using this filmmaking platform to make idling enforcement more of a priority as well as to educate people of Bill 717, an anti-idling bill currently being proposed and reviewed in New York City, the monetary incentive New Yorkers could receive by reporting illegal idling if Bill 717 passes (which happens to be a comfortable yearly salary), core traits and reasoning behind human behavior (specifically why people do not take action when they know what they’re doing is wrong or is not helping a good cause), and finally, distributing information on how to continue moving forward with this issue, which is by going from the top down and inundating specific members of the NYPD with statistics regarding the immediate action necessary to make anti-idling enforcement more prevalent in NYC and to begin discussing this issue more around the internet to increase awareness of what tremendous damage this is contributing to the environment.

My new friend, Isabelle B. Silverman of the Core Fuel Engine Group has been kind enough to discuss my final project with me and she’s provided me with some excellent places to start taking action prior to knowing whether Bill 717 gets passed or not. For instance, anyone could send countless email to the NYPD Chiefs Michael Pilecki and Chief Chan.  Chief Chan is the head of the NYPD Transportation Unit and Pilecki is his Deputy. Isabelle also suggested reaching out to Mayor DeBlasio and asking him to make idling enforcement more of a priority especially given the thousands of 311 calls on idling that’ve resulted in no action. Here are their two emails:

thomas.chan@nypd.org

michael.pilecki@nypd.org

Webpage where submission for Mayor DeBlasio can be made:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/static/pages/officeofthemayor/contact.shtml

We should also be tweeting about this and posting on Facebook. Any social media presence helps!

Inundating them with these emails, tweets, and Facebook messages should help tremendously because they will have to start talking about it. There is also the possibility that students could start a social media campaign, even write a Care2 petition and get it signed online. Here’s some of the text from Isabelle. She believes it could be sufficient to be emailed, tweeted, or posted on Facebook:

“Illegal engine idling considerably contributes to bad air quality and noise which is why, since 2010, 40,000 New Yorkers have filed 311 idling complaints. Idling is clearly an important issue to New Yorkers but the 311 complaints don’t lead to tickets because the vehicle is gone by the time the DEP gets the complaint. The NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents (TEA) are the city agents that are best suited to hand out idling tickets. Currently, TEAs only issue about 2,500 idling tickets compared to 9 million expired meter tickets.  Given that issuing idling tickets is more confrontational because the driver is usually in the vehicle, please dispatch a few hundred TEAs in pairs and make it their main focus to issue idling and double-parking tickets. Often, double-parked vehicles also idle so they should get two tickets. This law has been on the books since 1971 and has gone almost unenforced. Thank you very much for your consideration to this important health issue!”

Final Technical Update

So far so good!

I have finalized many aspects of my project. I have found a day that works for all of the dancers, and the videographer. I have also booked a room so we are set to record on Saturday. I have just finished a “storyboard” of how I want to edit the film, and what shots I will need at certain parts of the dance. The only problem at the moment is finding the long piece of cloth for the dance, the cost is proving quite tricky. I am trying to figure out a less expensive idea that will still convey what I originally envisioned, however time is of the essence. I think that I could also do the dance without it, but the cloth will add an another level of story telling. I talked with every dancer about the topic of the dance before I asked them to be in it, and every dancer had a very unique reaction to the phrases “climate change” and “melting of the ice caps”. I loved seeing their personal connection to the topic, and because of that I am going to rework the dance allowing the dancers a bit of improve time so they can bring their feelings to the piece.

After I get the footage I will edit the entire film as well as find some stills of the dance. Since I am filming Saturday and already know how I want to edit hopefully I will be able to get it done by Sunday night so I will have Monday to share it with people and get their reaction to the piece, which scares me a little.

Finally, I need to figure out how I want to arrange my presentation. I will most likely use powerpoint because it is what I am most used to. I am debating between if I want to present the research first and then the dance or the dance and then the research, and then maybe the dance again. I want my dance to be able to speak for itself.

I am excited to see the dancers preform this piece!

Updated Pieces

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.

A Note on Process

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.

Transparency through Fashion

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.