Hong Kong, 香港, 22º17’59″N 114º12’23″E
No other city is quite like this. Hong Kong is perpetually on the go, between the present and the future, it is hyperactive, like the world itself in the early years of the 21st century. Founded by Europeans, developed by Asians, governed by Chinese, designed and run by entrepreneurs, architects, economists, and adventurers from the four corners of the world, in its streets and waterways you may sense the turning of the Earth itself.
The RACE FOR WATER Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with Cornèrcard. The Foundation aims to gather institutions, decision-makers and the general public to engage them in two essential issues around water: ocean and freshwater preservation. The main objectives of the Foundation are:
- TO RAISE public awareness and keys opinion leaders about the urgency of water preservation
- TO ENGAGE businesses and scientists to develop the understanding linked to water risks and propose tools for action
- TO INSPIRE the young generation to act concretely and engage them to make a difference to preserve water.
Geneva, Switzerland, 46º12’20″N 6º08’41″E
From 4 October to 15 December 2013 Race for Water Foundation is co-organising with the SIG (Services Industrials of Geneva) an exhibition on the preservation of oceans and freshwater !
Visitors will be led in a fun and interactive way to explore the mysteries of water, in order to better understand why and how our Planet’s most precious resource needs to be better preserved !
The exhibition is located in a symbolic place on the water in the heart of Geneva, and will be divided in three spaces:
Napoleon Beach, Bouches-du-Rhône, France 43º20’37″N 4º52’10″E
The earth yields treasures. As examples: the fruits we eat and, arguably, diamonds. On my daily ocean walks I have never seen either. I do see a lot of plastic though. So, too, does Christophe Launay, whose photographs from Napoleon Beach document similar findings. It is at this beach that the Rhone (Rhine) River meets the Mediterranean Sea.
Close to the ocean, where I live, I cultivate an annual vegetable garden, and am hopeful that last year’s raspberry plants will yield fruit again this year.
But back to France. French senators last July voted to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process that uses a mixture of chemicals, sand and water injected under high pressure to release oil and gas trapped in rock. As we know, the earth also yields natural gas and oil.
Earth Day approaches, and so I googled the phrase, “The earth yields.” Lo, the first few entries were Biblical quotes from Psalm 67 in the New American Standard Bible.
psalm 67:6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.
67:7 God blesses us, That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.
And in French: 67:6 La terre produira son fruit; Dieu, notre Dieu, nous bénira.
Fruits of the earth.
Ditto in Spanish, La tierra ha dado su fruto; Dios, nuestro Dios, nos bendice.
And in Hebrew, the word rendered “increase” can be interpreted to mean “properly produce,” or “that which the earth produces when properly cultivated.”
Who is ‘properly cultivating’ the earth, and what does this mean? I think we know, and best-selling authors like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver have spelled it out pretty clearly for North America, where fracking is widely practiced.
As you’d expect, the usual green groups (those protecting the fruits of the earth) and some politicians who led protests quite effectively in France, saying fracking could cause environmental damage, like earthquakes and water pollution. Government ministers and industry representatives say it is the only method currently available to extract hydrocarbons from the rock. At what cost should we be extracting those hydrocarbons?
And because Google put God at the top of the search let’s drag Him into this one last time. Remember that bit about “fearing Him?”
We’ve heard He works in mysterious ways, but it’s not overly mysterious that if you inject chemicals underground to remove materials that are part of supporting materials on top of them, and deep wells are used to dispose of liquid wastes, then tremors will be on the rise. And about water pollution from the chemicals, like arsenic? Well, that hardly seems like we are properly cultivating the earth to yield anything other than a big mess. We should be afraid.
While protests are underway in North America, if you’re not the protesting type, but you are a bit afraid of what you see above the ground, and can’t yet take on what’s going on underground, or in Heaven for that matter, here’s a place to start. Easy, point-form facts and courses for action.
Look for the handy link to Take Back the Tap
We must keep our water clean and cut down on the plastic bottle waste so prevalent in these photos and the pollution at all levels on this fine earth, which when cultivated properly we know, yields the most wonderful fruits.
Oh, and here’s one more link to check out.
Words: Trixie B. Wadson is a freelance writer, independent publisher, graphic designer and photographer. The rest of the time she is busy collecting eggs from the family chickens while they cultivate the garden.
Al Jazayer Beach, Kingdom of Bahrain 26º02’58″N 50º28’33″E
Earth Day, photographer Christophe Launay is suggesting something easy but imperative: “Don’t Be a Tosser.” (Readers in Commonwealth countries will find this an especially funny and easy-to-remember phrase. ) Basically, don’t be a wanker. Quit chucking your trash overboard.
An artistically shocking collection of photographs from his recent travels in Australia, France and Morocco document persistent water pollution. The captions contain some ugly facts, opinion and also some radical new concepts in the future of ‘Green’.
1. Don’t just stand there, collect the seaweed. Generations of coastal farmers have used fresh and dried seaweed for compost acceleration, as fertilizer and for pest control. Also, since most algae is fast growing, the Austrian firm Eoos last year introduced at a Tokyo designer’s week their proposal for a house that produces its own energy with a rooftop tank full of algae.
Read more at: http://www.houseofsalesinc.com/organa/fine_gardening_magazine.htm
2. We know what not to do. “An old semi-retired designer, sermonizing on the social responsibility of the design profession, is sort of like a reformed prostitute testifying at a church revival meeting,” wrote Budd Steinhilber in the summer 1990 issue of Innovation, the Industrial Designers Society of America. That issue was entitled The Environment: The Forgotten Client.
Some people are designing with the waste stream in mind, but the focus has become the 1% of recovered plastics…what about all the rest that blows overboard, that’s tossed overboard or incorrectly separated for recycling?
Within the U.S. soft drink industry the amount of plastic containers has gone from zero in the mid 1970s to 10 billion in 1999. Never mind that some of these blow-molded bottles are recyclable, in a bin or landfill, they are not biodegradable in the sea. It’s fairly well established that at best recycling is band-aid, at worst, well, it’s worse.
So, dispose of your onboard plastics, metals, and cleaning products appropriately…and let’s seek alternatives. Some sustainable products at: http://www.podsnpeels.com/store/
3. Dead fish floating. The U.S. Forest Service first introduced “Give a hoot, Don’t pollute” over 35 years ago…this has now morphed into “Lend a Hand – Care for the Land.” How are we looking on the water? Next time you’re cleaning your boat consider natural cleaning solutions where possible, and watch what you dump overboard.
Will high gas prices drive us to find more radical environmental solutions?
Like… working the desert into electricity-generating land with concentrated solar power and sea-water desalination. The Future of Green section in the May 2011 issue of Azure Magazine, highlights that the first portable desalination unit in a 20cm chip is heading to market within a year.
So it’s not all doom and gloom, let’s get excited about the energy revolution. Reassess societal values: disposability, innovations that fight climate change, or work with it, ought to be imperative. We can create clean fuels, and no, wind turbines are not the panacea, we know this! Business owners, designers, consumers…choose, demand and create the biodegradable/compostable solutions.
4. Seriously, plastic bottles and bags overboard? Come on.
We’re wondering, (is anybody else?), that perhaps oil is under our feet for a reason. Rather than for our cars and factories, the petrol is here for stabilizing the earth. The more oil that is extracted from under the earth’s surface the more destabilization will induce enormous earthquakes. Could the oil underground be a necessary a shock absorber? Without that fluid protection between the core and the coating the more friction there is below. As we’ve seen in New Jersey, at Chernobyl, and now in Japan, nuclear doesn’t seem so safe after all, let’s keep looking.
Can we better control the appetite of our demand for oil? Is it enough to aim for more efficient transfer stations, consumer recycling efforts, or like Bjarke Ingels and his proposed artificial ski slope/waste-to-energy plant? http://www.arcspace.com/architects/big/wastetoeneryplant/wastetoenergyplant.html
For now, using the plastics for beverages, and for cleaning and storage is unavoidable. However, check your labels or make a home brew from natural products. Here is a list of safer on-the-water applications: http://www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/vessel_cleaning.htm
Let’s aim for exciting new urban strategies to materials and waste, and on our own terms encourage multi-sectoral cooperation. For example, plant biologists are working with architects and engineers: synthetic biology studies how to build artificial biological systems for engineering applications, using many of the same tools and experimental techniques resulting in carbon-sequestering concrete and self-healing silicone. Maybe our plastics have an after-life we haven’t yet thought of? As sailors, who can we work with to clean up our waters?
Words: Trixie B. Wadson