March 18, 2014
Visualizing Climate Change: The HighWaterLine
Climate change is a downright abstract concept to get your head around. The science is complicated, the effects are broad yet nuanced, and not everyone will be impacted in the same way. So, what is an impactful way to represent the dangers posed by climate change that everyone can understand?
One project is raising eyebrows by literally drawing a line through the community. The HighWaterLine is a visual representation of projected, future sea-level rise as a result of global warming and more frequent and stronger storms and storm surges. Using various media, such as a blue chalk outline, or even a human chain, a revised flood zone based on current climate data is delineated within an urban/suburban area, bringing the reality of a warming planet home to local residents.
HighWaterLine | NYC, Brooklyn, 2007 Attribute: Hose Cedeno
The HighWaterLine is the brainchild of NYC-based artist, Eve Mosher, who initially based the project on climate change data contained within a NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies report issued in 2001. Having read the report and witnessing a watered-down response from public officials, Ms. Mosher was determined to take matters into her own hands.
After nearly eight months of research and planning, Ms. Mosher installed the first iteration of The HighWaterLine in August 2007 along 70 miles of coastline in Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, demarcating the 10 foot about sea level rise with a 4-inch wide blue chalk line.
To encourage others to replicate the project in their own communities, Ms. Mosher devised a HighWaterLine “Action Guide,” in essence a simplified toolkit of knowledge bites and best practices, to ensure easy replication of the project elsewhere.
February 16, 2012
The beauty and fragility of reefs
There’s a wonderful blog post right now on NPR by Robert Krulwich, one-half of the amazing team that produces Radiolab (a show that makes science not just accessible but downright captivating). It talks about sculptors and weavers who’re drawing attention to the beauty and fragility of coral reefs.
This is one of many sculptures by Jason de Caires Taylor, who designs underwater “parks” to relieve tourism from the world’s endangered coral reefs. His sculptures are made out of pH-neutral cement that’s designed to host undersea life.
A new "White Reef" coral reef crochet by Dr. Axt.
Here’s a crocheted coral reef by an artist pseudonymed “Dr. Axt,” a member of The Institute for Figuring, which strives to create and appreciate the beauty in and of natural and mathematical forms.
Lots more photos and intriguing descriptions on the original blog post over at NPR.
February 8, 2012
Conservation International’s stunningly beautiful online magazine Team Earth has launched a new issue (#4 of a series), and it’s full of both amazing photos and stories of good news for the planet.
A family from a floating village, Prek Toal, on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia.
You can read about the projects they help fund and focus on: slowing deforestation, preserving healthy, adaptive ecosystems, and bringing oft-ignored indigenous groups to the forefront of political and economic decisions that affect them and their traditional lands. This issue focuses on a life-giving lake in Cambodia (replete with floating houses!) and how CI is helping the people of Papua New Guinea preserve their forests, as well as a look forward to the next Copenhagen climate summit.
It always warms our heart to see the good work that so many conservation-oriented organizations are doing in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government ministries all over the world. CI is a terrific advocate for all of us who want to respect the Earth’s breathtaking diversity and the sustainability of its resources.
We laugh that these kinds of online treats are what naughty sites are for others. If it’s wrong, we don’t want to be right. ; )
February 8, 2012
Sticking up for natural history
The Natural History Network is “a group of educators, researchers, and writers who are passionate about the importance of natural history and natural history education in the development of healthy people, vibrant human communities, and integrated learning institutions.” Its mission: “to promote the value of natural history by discussing and disseminating ideas and techniques on its successful practice to educators, scientists, artists, writers, the media, and the public at large.”
They recorded a bunch of members speaking to why studying natural history is so important. University of Washington professor Julia Parrish talks about how environmental science is considered a “soft science”, for example, but how she believes natural history is just as if not more important than calculus, and why. And Government advisor Gary Machlis talking about how science is civics. And Gary Paul Nabhan (pictured above) talks about how understanding and engaging with natural history is an act of creativity.
And there are lots more. It’s called “Conversations” and it’s a great listen. Especially invigorating for teachers and artists who want to engage with science. Like me.
Fascinating, passionate, and a real shot in the arm.
January 5, 2012
Photographer Mitch Epstein won the third annual Prix Pictet, the recently established Geneva-based photo prize for excellence in environmental photography. The Prix theme in 2011 was “Growth.” (This year, it’s going to be “Power.”)
"Amos Coal Power Plant, Raymond City, West Virginia, 2004," Mitch Epstein
Epstein’s epic images of energy consumption in the United States are truly breathtaking, in all senses of the word.