Monday, December 10, 2007

Gore Accepts Nobel Prize

Gore accepts Nobel Peace Prize

Today, Al Gore accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to combat Global Warming. Gore's speech was another plea that we realize the damage we have done, and continue to do, and finally decide to become active.

An excerpt from his speech:

"But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless — which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented — and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

For more information here are some good websites:

EPA on Climate Change
Step It Up 2007
Bill McKibben
Natural Resources Defense Council
Al Gore

Stop Global Warming

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Drawing from New Ideas.

The New York Times did an animation on the advancements in Alternative Energy over the past year. It's pretty awesome.

Also, here is a video explaining how engineers and scientist are trying to figure out how to harness wave energy. One of the engineers described it as, "it's kind of like the shaking flashlight, except a little more complicated."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ode to Eric Carle.

So at my semi-new apartment building, in the warmer months, people had placed their geraniums outside. Since I have one I thought I'd leave it downstairs, and let it hang out with some of it's own. However, as the weather turned colder, it had to come back inside.
Yesterday as I was watering it I saw some rather large holes it the leaves...

"It's infested!!!" My mind reeled, thinking of the closest place to go get insect spray. As I began furiously ripping the holy leaves, there it was...the very hungry caterpillar. The culprit had been hanging around living in it's own Garden of Eden. Well my Eden really. See exhibit A.

I screamed and bolted into the kitchen. The starkness of it's buggy exterior frightened me. My roommate poked her head out to see what the commotion was all about and I told her, well more screamed, "THERE IS A CATERPILLAR IN MY PLANT!"

"Oh," she said, "is that all?"

Well...yes...and no. The caterpillar chose a potted plant. A transportable bit of land and flora stuffed in a container made of terracotta. How do you explain to a caterpillar that this isn't really part of nature? Your instincts, a gift of evolution, have failed you because this, this is my plant! So with enough food for a week and a "good luck" I sent it packing.
However... I had placed the plant outside so that it might grow more, you know, cause it's outside. The gated mulch outside of my apartment building had a better nature vibe than my window sill. So I wanted it exposed to "nature" and that is what I got.

Godspeed caterpillar. How you make it to the flying stage of your development.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

...And It's Back!

Oh dear adoring public! I know it's been a while, but my unplanned hiatus has been restful and I am now ready to start this thing back up again. Even without the prodding from a weekly crit.

So this 'first' post is dedicated to marketing Grounding Work, a symposium at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, which was created by teacher/friend/mentor and fellow artist Margot Kelley.

This is a two day symposium, "exploring the intersection of art and environmental concerns." So clear your calendars and register for what promises to be an environmentally enlightening weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Other People's Green Pictures.

This is a photograph by a fellow photographer/friend Abigail Grenon, of a car wash in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

hmm...i love flickr. Also, one of my links is a blog called Urban Nature Group, and a lot the pictures are pretty yummy.

Slate: On Gardening in Iran

Here is an article by Constance Casey about Gardening in Iran. Casey interweaves the current political tensions between Iran and America with tidbits of the tour she took called, Gardens Illustrated.

The same snowmelt that waters the elderly plane tree is used [at the main nuclear facility in Natanz for] cooling.

Through all of the tension and cultural differences that face Americans and Iranians alike, Casey reiterates that information, while allowing us to relate to their desire of enjoying green spaces.(Granted, their public gardens seem to put ours to shame.)

In Iranian cities, as the sun goes down, families and groups of friends come out to parks and gardens carrying carpets. There are wooden platforms where you can unroll a rug and sit or recline in the shade, listening to the water and drinking tea.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Allston near Harvard Avenue

yes, that is right, this little green entryway is in the heartland of all things grungy and sticky.

it's really out of place, but i think that makes it even better.

Friday, May 4, 2007

100,000 more trees

I am a little late on this news, but since it is going to take 13 years to finalize, I don't feel so bad.

Last Saturday, Mayor Menino announced that the city of Boston is going to recieve 100,000 more street trees over the next 13 years.


"As part of the initiative, the mayor will also announce a new partnership with the US Forest Service that designates Boston as an urban experimental forest -- one of three such sites in the country -- where scientists and arborists will conduct research to document the effects of trees on people and the environment."

- Jenna Russell on

One of the reasons for this intiative, along with cooler temperatures and cleaner air is, improved psychological affects urban trees have on humans. They are even investigating to see if increasing street trees decreases crime rates. wow.

The article also featured a pretty awesome breakdown of trees in specific areas of Boston:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Downtown Boston

Trees next to The Barking Crab

DoubleTree Hotel

My parents were in town this weekend, and they were staying at the DoubleTree. I don't know if the name inspires the plants that are in here, but they have quite a few.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kenmore Square

This is a little floral display outside Pizzeria Uno in Kenmore Square. Ironically they keep the light on during the day as well.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

To landscape more like nature.

MSN did an article with the aid of professional landscape designers on what they consider landscaping sins. What struck me to be very strange about this article is the many times, "nature," was used. One of the no-no's was the marching flowers (flowers in a row) because they don't look "natural" because that's not "in" right now.

"Now we plant in mass groupings, more like nature does," says Donovan. "Bunched together, in a bouquet effect, that attracts the eye."

However, Sin # 4 is about having too much.

The upshot? "They'll get this hodgepodge effect," says Donovan, who sees it often. But using lots of colors all over the place "produces chaos," she says. "That's too busy for the eye. It's like wearing too much jewelry." And often all of the color don't complement the home -- one of landscaping's chief goals.

It seems strange to glean elements of nature for some parts, but not for others. It's okay to feign the idea of nature, as long as it is trimmed regularly.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Being green and caffeinated.

Starbucks, in association with Global Green USA, has created an interactive website called Planet Green Game. In this website you choose a character, and also a mode of transportation. The idea is to go to different areas and accomplish challenges to make the city more environmentally friendly. Through these tasks you begin to learn multiple steps that anyone can take in order to decrease greenhouse gases. The website also gives you examples in real life of what cities are doing in order to "be more green."

Also, in the bookmark they have inserted wildflower seeds in paper so you can make your own little green space.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Green Buildings

There was an interesting article in the past issue of The Dig about new green building codes in Boston.

“If LEED is successful, it will become obsolete. It will become code. It will become practice. There will be no alternative to green.”

- Barbra Batshalom, founder of Green Roundtable

Apparently, Boston is making larger strides in green zoning than any other city to date.

“You go to other places where anything goes, and you do see building there, but—and this is my own cultural perspective—you see incredible sprawl, massive waste and kind of a placeless character of things. At times it feels like we are competing with North Carolina for biotech and stuff. But you know what—they can tear down a forest and throw up some factory, but people don’t want to be there,” he says. “The challenge for Boston is that the quality of the urban environment is very important.”

- John Dalzell, Sr. architect at the Boston Redevelopment Authority

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gravity defying dirt

Trees in Allston

The street tree species chosen for planting by the City of Boston are rarely native to New England. They are chosen in large part because they tolerate the car exhaust, street toxics, and other stresses of the urban environment well. However, even these hardy urban tree species often have a lifespan of only a few years in the Heart of the City because the conditions for growth are poor.

- The Database of the Greenspaces and Neighborhoods in the heart of Boston.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Rolling Bridge Park

I happened on this area last year while working on a project, and I found it very fascinating. It's one of the "must see" spots along The Boston Harborwalk on the Fort Point Channel. Depending on where you sit, you can have either a view of the Gillette World Shaving headquarters, the freeway and commuter rail, or where the MBTA houses Redline trains not in use. Rolling Bridge Park was desgined by the Central Artery/Tunnel Project and the Mass Turnpike Authority as mitigation for disruptions during construction.

Rolling Bridge Park has the second highest amount of open space in The Boston Harborwalk tour. I appreciate that the MTA wants to increase open space around this very industrialized area, but it seems more to me like an odd testament of human accomplishments. To their credit, there really is no way to off set the cables, buildings, steel and concrete, that completely engulf this park. These trappings of industrialism make everything within the park seem unrealistic, and therefore, frivolous by design. The trees do not function as park trees; they function as street trees.
In a way, this is an industrializ-ed park. It's as if someone sat down, made of formula of what a park needs, and made it an overlty efficient open space. All the different park "staples" that were placed here do not function in a park capacity themselves, but of the idea of a park. It's like wanting to travel the world, but going to Disneyland's "It's a Small World" instead.

For more photos, you can go to my Flickr account.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

It always seems kind of absurd to see a tree poking out of its alotted 4 X 4 foot square on the sidewalk. It is by no means a natural occurrence, but it would be a greater detriment to humans if it did not exist. Municipal agencies place plants around cities for both aesthetic and environmental purposes. So how does this plant life function within the context of nature? If a shade tree was transplanted from the city back into a forest, would it then become nature? Where is the point when nature stops being natural?

My use of the blog is to allow others to become apart of this project, so I urge you to leave comments expressing your viewpoint.