Category Archives: Inspiration

The End… Final Posting

As I am wrapping up my project, I can surely say that I have accumulated a deeper belief and point of view on the importance of keeping our environment healthy, especially our New York City environment. As you all know, my project was focused on green space within urban environments. I focused on why they are necessary for our personal health and for the overall health of the city. I have always loved the outdoors and nature. That is what initially pointed me in this direction, but after spending a lot of time creating and investigating this topic and coming up with a final piece, I have a different relationship with the parks in our city. I have discovered that they are more than just a place for wildlife and trees to thrive, they are also a place for us to exercise, play and essentially escape. They hold so much importance.

Initially my idea for the project, was to interview several people about our green space and create a video montage of their responses. As I was in that process, I realized that it was turning out to not be the most creative or effective way to get the point across.

SO I kept the footage I took but instead of filling the video with interviews, I filled it with a mix of my voice, breath and music that I placed over the video clips. I wanted to find the more creative edge, to really capture the audience and catch them off guard. The video leaves space for the audience’s interpretation, but requires them to think introspectively and openly about what our inner city environment is doing to us. We call ourselves the Big Apple, but our red delicious is in fact rotting at the core. I took this idea and translated it by relating it to the body’s breath patterns.

The music I chose for the piece is from a site called “Epidemic Sound.” This site is created for video makers to choose from the music library provided. The songs are all 100% royalty free and content ID safe and cleared for all multimedia projects. The song is called “Nonchalance and Fabulance 2” created by Marc Torch. It is under the film category and sub category beautiful.

This was an exciting and grueling experience for me, since I am new to working with Adobe Premiere Pro 2015 and took this as an opportunity to challenge myself and create an artistic piece in a medium that was somewhat foreign to me.

Here is the finished piece…

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls For Immediate Halt to Dakota Access Pipeline

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it’s important to all people & living beings

Press Release: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Urges President to Immediately Halt Dakota Access Pipeline December 01, 2016
Washington, DC—In a speech on the House floor Thursday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) called on President Obama to immediately halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and announced plans to join thousands of veterans from across the country to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota this weekend.

“Growing up in Hawaii, I learned the value of caring for our home, caring for our planet, and the basic principle that we are all connected in a great chain of cause and effect.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a threat to this great balance of life. Despite strong opposition from the Standing Rock Sioux and serious concerns raised by the EPA, the Department of Interior, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and other Federal agencies, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline without adequately consulting the tribes, and without fully evaluating the potential impacts to neighboring tribal lands, sacred sites, and their water supply. Just one spill near the tribe’s reservation could release thousands of barrels of crude oil, contaminating the tribe’s drinking water.

The impact of the Dakota Access Pipeline is clear. Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Pipeline, has a history of serious pipeline explosions, which have caused injury, death, and significant property damage in the past decade. The future operator of the planned pipeline, Sunoco Logistics, has had over 200 environmentally damaging oil spills in the last 6 years alone—more than any of its competitors.

Protecting our water is not a partisan political issue—it is an issue that is important to all people and all living beings everywhere. Water is life. We cannot survive without it. Once we allow an aquifer to be polluted, there is very little that can be done about it. This is why it is essential that we prevent water resources from being polluted in the first place.

Our Founding Fathers took great inspiration from Native American forms of governance, and the democratic principles that they were founded on. Their unique form of governance was built on an agreement called the Great Law of Peace, which states that before beginning their deliberations, the council shall be obliged, and I quote, “to express their gratitude to their cousins and greet them, and they shall make an address and offer thanks to the earth where men dwell, to the streams of water, the pools, the springs and the lakes, to the maize and the fruits, to the medicinal herbs and trees, to the forest trees for their usefulness, and to the Great Creator who dwells in the heavens above, who gives all the things useful to men, and who is the source and the ruler of health and life.”

This recognition of our debt to the Creator and our responsibility to be responsible members of this great web of life was there from the beginning of Western democracy.

Freedom is not a buzzword. The freedom of our Founding Fathers was not the freedom to bulldoze wherever you like.

Our freedom is a freedom of mind, a freedom of heart, freedom to worship as we see fit, freedom from tyranny and freedom from terror. That’s the freedom this country was founded on, the freedom cultivated by America’s Native people, and the freedom the Standing Rock Sioux are now exercising.

This weekend I’m joining thousands of veterans from across the country at Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with our Native American brothers and sisters. Together we call on President Obama to immediately halt the construction of this pipeline, respect the sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, and respect their right to clean water. The truth is, whether it’s the threat to essential water sources in this region, the lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, or the threat posed to a major Hawaiʻi aquifer by the Red Hill fuel leak, each example underscores the vital importance of protecting our water resources.

We can’t undo history, but we must learn lessons from the past and carry them forward—to encourage cooperation among free people, to protect the sacred, to care for the Earth and for our children, and our children’s children. What’s at stake is our shared heritage of freedom and democracy and our shared future on this Great Turtle Island, our great United States of America.”

Large Corporations Vs. Independent Thinkers

The two readings compliment each other in that they both explore the relationship between ethics and original scientific ideas versus the blindness of larger corporations.

A Valuable Reputation

Leverage Points

Leverage Points authored by scientist and environmentalist Donella Meadows, explains her twelve ways in which to intervene within a greater system. The topic of ‘growth’ with attention to slower growth was featured in her scientific argument. In A Valuable Reputation scientists Tyrone Hayes was struggling with his own discoveries and facts clashing with the ideas of large corporations. He focused on the effects of atrazine as a herbicide that results in birth defects in humans and animals. He conducted extensive experiments on frogs which showed that a frog’s hormones are identical to human hormones  and the effects of atrazine in their ecosystem was causing birth defects in male frogs. He was exploring if the influence of this chemical shared the same negative effects on humans. When he wished to re-do the experiments, in order to double-check his findings, the larger companies would not allow the extra money or time so Tyrone conducted the experiments on his own time without their influence. Meadows touched on an idea that the large companies such as NAFTA and GATT and The World Trade Organization whose strive to make the world work better are actually pushing us into the wrong direction. They were focused on fast growth in order to fix the problems in the economy, population and environment. What Meadows and Hayes have in common is that they fight for slower more steady or even no growth whatsoever when it comes to these topics of interest.

I believe that essentially what Meadows argued was that in order for the world to become further successful it must not yearn for more growth in order to fix the problems, but to maybe not even focus on growth at all but rather focus on the problems which we have currently environmentally and economically and stop the rapid growth all together. By allowing for her twelve system leverage points to work, we can not only rely on the intuition of what we think would be the best alternative or answer to our global problems. We must look at the facts that we are faced with and sort out steps or leverage points in order to regulate them. Similar to Hayes’s chemical discoveries, and battles with larger corporations trying to pull him down. He fought against the quick harsh decisions made by companies such as Syngenta or the EPA and continued to spend the time needed to fully investigate the harmful chemical disasters.

Donella Meadows' basic diagram of parameters, stocks, delays, flows and feedback
Donella Meadows’ basic diagram of parameters, stocks, delays, flows and feedback.

Tyrone Hayes’ ending words. 

 

Trees Need Lovin’ Too

 

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As I am further looking into the importance of parks and trees within city areas, I  came across this Pinterest post covering an extreme problem called “deforestation.” Deforestation is the act or result of cutting down or burning all the trees in an area As defined in Merriam Webster Dictionary. Our country only makes up 5% of our world’s population, but we are responsible for using nearly half of the world’s industrial wood…This is a problem that we first need to recognize in order to stop it.

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What Can Be Done?

 

50 Jobs For The Environment                      Education                         Tree Breath                     

Bark As Medicine                                   Air Quality                      Tree Food

 

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.

Idling Campaign: An Extension of George Pakenham’s Idle Threat

Reflecting on my final project and looking back on my previous posts, I realized there has been a slow development in my views. In the beginning, I felt that many of my posts were reaction posts to the shocking and horrific issues that we learned about for that week, as was the case of my first post “Deeply Upsetting.”  Then came posts that either talked about what I do in my own lifestyle to help the environment, or posts that shared my opinion on environmental news.  In my post ” A Floating Wasteland too Close to Home,” I realized how serious the issues were that we talked about and how easy it was for them to become a reality.  After that realization and having George as a guest speaker in class, I realized that “Activism” is one of the most proactive things we can do to combat the destruction of the natural world.  Thus, going into our final projects, I decided to leave my original idea of writing short plays on oil fracking to pursue assisting George with his social media campaign.

On Tuesday May 3, 2016 Sam and I presented our final project to our Green World class. Our project shared our efforts in developing a social media campaign for George’s movie, Idle Threat, but also described our in-person flyer campaign and community outreach. We also included an educational section as a way to continue our agenda of educating people on idling and the senseless damage it causes.

Social Media Campaign

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The social media campaign was a crucial element to our project because it was an area where George’s movie needed the most support.  For any movement  or activist, social media is essential for getting word out to the public. Thus, Sam and I decided to do a campaign across two platforms, Twitter and Facebook.  We felt that both platforms would help us reach different audiences and that the form would force us to promote Geroge’s content in different ways. I took over the Twitter and Sam took over the Facebook. We received advice on how to manage social media accounts from a contact of George’s.  We both tried to diversify the content we put out to include news on Idle Threat, progress of the 717 bill, and environmental developments specific to idling.

We also shared photos and videos of our in person campaign.

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Our in person campaign consisted of posting anti-idling flyers in public NYU spaces and also personally handing them out in front of Tisch. We also had a community outreach plan in which we reached out to NYU’s Office of Sustainability, NYU’s Oxfam America Club, NYU’s Greenhouse community, 4th Street Coop, etc.

Lastly, we had our field research and recording in which we went out around Greenwich village and recorded idlers we saw. We even timed the idlers to see if they were breaking the 3 minute law.  Some of the videos we took were shared on social media.  The most important thing for me though, was that it reinforced how serious the issue is, and how it is going on before our very eyes.

I am very proud of this project, not only because I felt like I made a difference and assisted a truly great activist in their work, but also because it helped my progress as a green activist myself.  Doing the work first hand, and struggling to get the word out made me realize how vital it is to keep trying.  I can’t wait to hear the progress on Bill 717 and hope to keep in contact with George and Sam and continue to fight idling.

 

CitySeed – Final Project Reflection

Everything came together and CitySeed launched our first event on April 21st in preparation for Earth Day 2016! It was amazing to spend time with NYU peers planting microgreens and basil in up-cycled dining hall containers. We had a solid attendance; even Peter and the Dean of Tisch, Allyson Green, came and planted #CitySeeds! A reflection and photo slideshow of our first event is available on the home page of our website!

cityseedaltdesignOur website highlights our inspiration for starting the company, as well as instructions for making your own #CitySeed, and a little about us and our mission. You can contact us through the website as well.

It has been a long journey to see our company blossom (botany pun). We are so thankful for our classmates and Peter for all of the positive feedback and tips you have shared with us! Thank you so much!

Co-Founders, Skyye James and Jacob Fertig
CitySeed Co-Founders, Skyye James and Jacob Fertig

Skyye James (my co-founder) and I believe our company will continue to host events and develop our products! We are looking to speak with the NYU Office of Sustainability over the summer and plan ahead for next fall. In the mean time, check out our website for updates and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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Our microgreens in up-cycled containers

 

 

Unless Final Project

I was pleased with the way my presentation turned out in class, however I learned within a few minutes of my presentation that fifteen minutes was not enough time to fully explain my whole project and therefore, I was not able to fully present my project and its best.  That being said, I believe I was able to convey some of the main ideas in my project. The main points I wanted to highlight in my presentation were how each of the characters in “The Lorax” were symbols for environmental issues in the world today.  However, I learned that in order for this presentation to be useful to a general audience, I would need to rework it and make some revisions.

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Prior to beginning my project after I had many different formats of presentation that I was considering.  Ultimately, I chose Prezi to present my information in the most aesthetically pleasing and concise way possible.  I initially had trouble working through the book and trying to decide what motifs in “The Lorax” were important to highlight.  After sifting through Dr.Seuss’ imaginative language and coming up with a list of important characters and metaphors, I needed to discover what they all meant.  This proved to be the most enlightening and exciting aspect of my process.

I started with THE LORAX, who represents all of the companies and protesters against logging and dumping products in an animal environment.  The Hershey Company aims to source 100% of their palm oil needs from sustainable sources by the end of the year and ensures that they will not purchase palm oil through deforestation.  In response to mass deforestation in Indonesia, Disney is no longer associated with paper suppliers who have been linked to deforestation. Disney has stopped using paper prodcuts that do not meet the FSC-Controlled Wood Standards.

Next, was THE ONCE-LER, who represents all of the companies whose factories destroy environmental resources and surrounding areas. While most are fully aware of the damage caused, they proceed to deny it is their doing. A company called Sinar Mas, reminded me of the Once-ler.  The Palm oil subsidiary of Sinar Mas has been accused of causing deforestation in Indonesian rainforests. This corporation has also been targeted as one of the eight companies responsible for sending hazardous levels of smog into Singapore and Malaysia. Companies such as Unilever, Nestle, and Burger King have all dropped Sinar Mas as their paper and palm oil supplier, due to the large amount of damage the company has had on the environment.

THE YOUNG BOY represents a chance for change in the environment for harm and waste.  The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) attempts to reach the average American audience by offering programs around the country that educate people about nature, climate, weather, and health in order for the participants to create personal ties and to understand how the environment impacts their lives.

SWOMEE SWANS represent the consequences of all unchecked air pollution. Air pollution particles increase the risk of contracting cardiovascular and respiratory disease.  Globally, more than 3 million people die prematurely due to air pollution.  By 2050, it is predicted that 6.6 million premature deaths around the world will be caused by extended exposure to air pollution.

BARBALOOTS represent the land animals that cannot continue to live in their environment due to waster and pollution.  About 80% of wildlife live in the rainforest, many of which are the most vulnerable to deforestation.  When there species lose a place to live, the become easier to hunt and therefore their populations begins to decrease and some go extinct. Some species that are currently threatened due to deforestation are the Amur Leopard (Around 60 in existence), the Black Rhino (Around 5,000 in existence), and the Cross River Gorilla (200-3000 in existence).

HUMMING FISH represent all consequences of unmitigated water pollution. Around 2 years ago, the state of Michigan decided to switch the Flint water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in order to save money, although the river is know for its polluted water.  The water was eroding the iron water main pipes, turning the water brown and lead began to enter the water supply.  A young pediatric doctor in the area noticed lead levels doubling and tripling in her patients’ blood levels, which is irreversible.

TRUFFULA TREES represent the materials that companies use for themselves that is from the environment.  Some over-exploited resources include fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal), precious metals, trees, and water.  Problems that arise with exploitation of naturals resources include deforestation, forced migrations of species, soil erosion, ozone depletion, water pollution, and the threat of natural disaster.

GRICKLE GRASS represents all of the plants that cannot continue to grow and flourish.  Habitat loss, deforestation, and acid rain have caused many species of plant life to become threatened.  This does not only reduce the amount of diversity in plant life, but also reduces the amount of nutrients and habitats for different wildlife.  Some threatened species include tongue fern, dwarf lake iris, prairie fringed orchid, and Houghton’s goldenrod.

SMOGULA SMOKE represents the air pollution made by companies. American Electric Power (AEP) emits 130 metric tons carbon dioxide a year.  This accounts for about 2% of the American annual total.

GLUPPITY GLUP represents all waste caused by manufacturing and industrial companies On April 20, 2010, an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused a sea-floor oil gusher to flow for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico.  It is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.  Due to the spill, extensive damage was caused to marine and wildlife habitats. In 2013, it was reported that animals continued to die at exponential rates due to the explosion.

THNEEDS represent fad products companies manufacture that are quickly no longer in demand. The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, next to oil.  The production includes raw material, textile manufacturing, clothing construction, shipping, retail, and disposal of the garment.  Determining the footprint of this industry is nearly impossible due to the immense variety in production processes.  However, a general assessment must take into account not only obvious pollutants – the pesticides used in cotton farming, dyes used in manufacturing and the amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and shipping.

After my analysis, I covered a brief history of “The Lorax.”  “The Lorax” was published in 1971, a year after the first Earth Day was held. Dr. Seuss chose to set the story in a post-apocalyptic landscape in order to show the consequences of excessive industrialization. “The Lorax” was Dr. Seuss’s way of critiquing capitalism. He implied that the Once-ler relied on an aggressive advertising campaign in order to promote thneeds, a product that has no real purpose, in order to explain how advertising creates a false need for products with temporary appeal. Pro-business groups have attacked “The Lorax” as environmental propaganda and the book has been banned in some schools and libraries. A book very similar to “The Lorax” called “The Truax” was sponsored by the logging industry from the pro-consumerism point of view in response to Dr. Seuss’s book. In 1988, a school district in California has “The Lorax” on the second grade reading list. Terri Birkett, a member of a family owned hardwood flooring company, wrote “The Truax” and it was published by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers’ Association (NOFMA).

I also thought it was important to do a section in my presentation about what we can learn from “The Lorax” at any age.

  1. Treasure what is left of the environment
  • The Once-ler reminisces about “the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean.” He regrets the impact of his actions on the once untouched natural environment that surrounded him.
  1. Exploitation of nature is difficult to stop
  • Upon encountering a Truffula Tree, the Once-ler chops one down to create a Thneed. When the Lorax tries to stop him, he says “There’s no cause for alarm, I chopped just one tree.” As demand for the Theed increases, more and more trees are cut down until they are all gone.
  1. If we don’t speak up for the environment, who will?
  • Perhaps the Lorax’s most iconic line is “I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.” Animals and trees cannot stand up for themselves and rely on us in order to keep them safe.
  1. Corporations with good intentions can make bad decisions
  • People trust corporations and government to make sound choices. The Once-ler did not set out to exploit the environment, but when money was on the line, the environment was no longer a concern.
  1. Every action has a reaction
  • The Once-ler begins to chop down trees to make Thneeds as fast as possible, without worrying about the effects it has on the environment. First, the Bar-ba-loots who eat the Truffula fruits cannot eat. Then the fumes from the factory pollute the water and the air, which forces the Swomee-Swans and Humming-Fish to leave. Many oil companies begin to drill without taking into consideration the effects it has on human health and the environment.
  1. Development must be sustainable
  • Exploitation of the environment can turn over a quick profit for companies, but once the resources are gone, these companies can no longer make money in the same location and must move to harvest (and therefore deplete the resources from another location).
  1. Consumerism is unsustainable
  • The Once-ler is able to justify his need to destroy the environment because he claims that Thneeds are something that “Everyone needs!” However, our “needs” are dictated to us via advertising. If we do not reduce consumption and recycle, we will not be able to sustain a healthy living environment.
  1. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. “

The final aspect of my presentation were four pictures where I took characters from the Lorax and put them in current environmental situations.

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Swomee Swans having to leave due to excessive smog and air pollution caused by Indonesian clothing factories. Screen Shot 2016-04-30 at 8.28.27 PM

The Young Boy finding a deserted forest in the Sumatran rainforest where there used to be ample amounts of wildlife and plant life.

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Humming fish having to leave the water they live in due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill polluting their waters.

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The Lorax appearing from the  stump of a tree that has been cut down in the Sumatran rainforest for palm oil.

 

I really enjoyed learning about companies who are trying to make a difference and reduce deforestation, such as Disney and Hershey.  I found researching environmental issues, such as deforestation in the Sumatran rainforests due to unsustainable farming of palm oil, the Indonesian clothing industry, over-exploited resources, and specific events, like the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, very eye-opening.  What I ultimately enjoyed most about my project was that it allowed me to learn about topics of a wide array.  I was able to research so many different environmental issues that I was previously unaware of. I also really enjoyed taking some of the characters from the book and putting them in current environmental situations.  I am not a Photoshop expert whatsoever (I used it for the first time in this project!), so it was fun to learn how to utilize some of those tools to put the end of my presentation together.  I hope that I am able to finesse my skills in order to make the end product of the pictures even better.

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Some of my notes from when I was initially outlining my Prezi presentation

        The main reason I chose to do a project based on “The Lorax” was because I genuinely believe in the message the book conveys.  In Green World, I have learned that there are so many different ways to make the general public aware of environmental issues in the world and as artists, it is our job to inspire change.  As odd as it may seem, Dr. Seuss is an artist. He has used his art (in this case a childrens’ book) to convey a message and evoke change.  I wanted to further elaborate on the groundwork he had already laid out with “The Lorax.”  I believe that fully analyzing the book and applying his fictional dystopian world to the real world is necessary in order to fully appreciate the message of “The Lorax.”

Perhaps the most difficult part of this project for me was to find 10 strangers to impact through this project.  One day I decided that the specific people I wanted to impact with my first version of my project were adults who were fans of “The Lorax.” This lead me to a specialty children’s bookstore called “Books of Wonder.” I had the opportunity to speak with the manager of the store about my findings in “The Lorax” and why I find that it such an essential book to have on the shelves at children’s bookstores.  She and I discussed “The Truax” and she introduced me to various staff members who were very kind and willing to discuss my findings with them further.  I brought up my presentation and discussed what I had found with the staff of the book store.  One of the women told me that she wished I had come in earlier, because she had just read “The Lorax” to a group of children on Earth Day and would have loved to have shared some of the facts I had shared with her and her co-workers.  I unfortunately was not permitted to take pictures in the bookstore with the staff members, but I am very happy that I was able to have an in-depth discussion with people who love children’s books and who have felt that the impact of these books on their lives have been great enough for them to want to currently work in a specialty bookstore of this kind.

I hope that this presentation can be used as groundwork for a potential teaching tool.   I have spoken with teachers, principals, and others who work in environmental education about my project and potentially adapting it to the needs of their classrooms.   I think that in order for this project to go further, many revisions to my presentation must be made, but what is great about this project is that “The Lorax” has stood the test of time and concern for the environment is still quite apparent.  A project such as this will have to change with time in order to stay pertinent and engaging. I am grateful for the opportunity of presenting my project to the class, because ultimately, it was a “first draft” of what this presentation can be.  I needed the experience of presenting this in front of my colleagues to understand what the next step in the process must be.  I have no doubt that this project can make change, but first I need to go back to the drawing board and decide what needs to be revised, deleted, and added.

 

Documentary Activism and Formation

Idle Threat and Racing Extinction: Two passion driven documentaries about a group of people acknowledging issues that are a threat to our environment and our planet, and actively pursuing the goal of minimizing the damages that come from these issues.

On one hand you have Racing Extinction with a Hollywood production budget, dealing with global-scale issues in regards to animals that have been extinct and some that are on the verge of being extinct. The film takes us to several different countries across the world and introduces several different methodologies that these driven journalists, artists and scientists use to fight this battle.

On the other hand you have Idle Threat with a minimalistic production budget in comparison to Racing Extinction, dealing with a much more local issue of curbside engine idling in New York City. George Pakenham seeks help and support from the City of New York, rather than taking this issue to a global level. Pakenham uses humor to keep his audience engaged with the documentary, which is a tactic that Racing Extinction doesn’t use.

While Racing Extinction’s insane production budget makes the film a spectacle for larger groups of people across the globe, Idle Threat has a more relatable and conversational tone that allows us to connect with the subject easily.

Nonetheless, both documentaries were eye opening and reassuring that environmental activism can have satisfying results.

On that note, I would like to give some updates on my project.

As you all know, I am working on creating a performance art piece to raise awareness about the Flint Water Crisis.

I am currently finishing up my research on individuals who were/are effected by this tragic event. With the data I collect from my research, I am going to start writing monologues representing different characters. This is similar to the work that Anna Deavere Smith does.

I was also inspired to use this device of using character distinction as a way of sending a message from a TED talk that I watched last year by Sarah Jones, in which she portrays nearly six different characters from her own life to describe her diverse background and the benefits of diversity within a specific community.

Additionally, I started developing choreography to Beyonce‘s new controversial song “Formation“. The music video to the song is highly political and features tons of strong statements. However, I’m not sure if the lyrics of the song suggest the same. Beyonce released “Formation” during the height of the Flint Water Crisis, which is a curious action on her part. Therefore, I am interested in exploring ways in which the two might be related to one another.

What’s Changed

Since starting my research, I’ve found myself looking at my own plants more closely. When I arrived at college, I brought my plants from home with me but sadly after Christmas because of travel issues I couldn’t bring them back again. I couldn’t go without plants though so I almost immediately went to pick out new plants to fill my window sill. I’ve always been proud when I see my plants start to take off but have previously just let it happen with some glances every now and then. Since starting my final project caused me to look at my plants closer I decided to document my cactus’s growth since a new little bud appeared.

My baby cactus's growth over two weeks.
My baby cactus’s growth over two weeks.

Growing plants has become even more interesting since taking a closer look. Researching has changed the simple way I look at my plants.

I’m still working on my zine, but during my research I found this one blog in particular I’ve found interesting. The blog is from a store that’s right here in New York; The Sill.  I thought I’d share this source to possible fellow plant lovers. You might enjoy it too.

I’m excited how this project is already affecting how I do my own gardening and I’m excited to continue.