Tag Archives | Environment

Beautiful, Dangerous, Radioactive Art

A collection of radioactive ceramic vases is about to go on display in London’s venerable Victoria & Albert Museum. They’re beautiful but deadly as a result of the toxic sludge used to sculpt them, as revealed by Fast Company:

Ceramic vases made from toxic mud created in the production of must-have products such as laptops and smartphones will present a markedly different perspective on consumer technology when they go on show at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum later this month.

radioactive vases

3 finished vases, conceived by Unknown Fields Division and produced with Kevin Callaghan, a ceramics artist, will be on display in the V and A Gallery.Photo: Toby Smith, courtesy of Unknown Fields

 

The mud was collected from a toxic lake in Inner Mongolia into which thick, black chemical waste is pumped from neighboring refineries in and around Baotou, the region’s largest industrial city (read more about the place described as “hell on Earth” in this BBC story).

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New Report Debunks Myth That GMOs are Key to Feeding the World

About 70 percent of the world's poor are farmers, and to raise them out of poverty requires access to basic resources such as fertilizer, water, and the infrastructure to properly store or transport crops to market—not expensive, resource-intensive GMO seeds. (Credit: La Montañita Co-op)

About 70 percent of the world’s poor are farmers, and to raise them out of poverty requires access to basic resources such as fertilizer, water, and the infrastructure to properly store or transport crops to market—not expensive, resource-intensive GMO seeds. (Credit: La Montañita Co-op)

Originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren’s posts here.

The biotechnology industry “myth” that feeding billions of people necessitates genetically engineered agriculture has been debunked by a new report out Tuesday by the nonprofit health organization Environmental Working Group.

The report, Feeding the World Without GMOs (pdf), argues that investment in genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, has failed to expand global food security. It advocates more traditional methods “shown to actually increase food supplies and reduce the environmental impact of production.”

Over the past 20 years, the report notes, global crop yields have only grown by 20 percent—despite the massive investment in biotechnology.

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Kris Kuksi’s ‘False-Patriot Revolution’

Disinfo.com features this iconic work by an artist making some of the most influential and recognizable art of our time.

Kris Kuksi ‘False-Patriot Revolution’ was exhibited at the Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles

KRIS KUKSI – Antiquity in the Faux Nov 15 – Dec 20, 2014 | All photos by Kris Kuksi.

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Kris Kuksi’s ‘False-Patriot Revolution’

Kris Kuksi Interview with Disinformation

Disinfo: What can you tell us about the guillotine piece  ‘False-Patriot Revolution’?

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The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

Screen Shot of black byproduct of rare earth mining pouring into the lake at Baotao. Via BBC.

Screen Shot of black byproduct of rare earth mining pouring into the lake at Baotao. Via BBC.

Tim Maughan via BBC:

Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

From where I’m standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

Welcome to Baotou, the largest industrial city in Inner Mongolia. I’m here with a group of architects and designers called the Unknown Fields Division, and this is the final stop on a three-week-long journey up the global supply chain, tracing back the route consumer goods take from China to our shops and homes, via container ships and factories.

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Vegan diet best for planet

Mikhail Esteves (CC BY 2.0)

Mikhail Esteves (CC BY 2.0)

Lydia Wheeler Via The Hill:

A federal panel that helps set federal dietary guidelines is recommending Americans eat less meat because it’s better for the environment, sparking outrage from industry groups representing the nation’s purveyors of beef, pork and poultry.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists created in 1983, decided for the first time this year to factor in environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They include a finding that a diet lower in animal-based foods is not only healthier, but has less of an environmental impact.

The meat industry is lashing back, contending the panel has neither the authority nor the expertise to make such a judgment.

“When you talk about the lens of the dietary guidelines it’s just not appropriate for the advisory committee to enter that conversation when they were asked to look at nutrition and health science,” said Kristina Butts, executive director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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Ecologist Claims Monsanto’s Glyphosate is Safe to Drink, Refuses to Drink It


In an interview with reporters from Canal+, ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, claims that Monsanto’s Roundup ready ingredient, Glyphosate, is safe to drink. When offered a glass by the interviewer, he refuses, saying “I’m not an idiot.” The clip is from Canal+, a French TV network, that’s currently working on a Special Investigations Documentary.

Some news organizations have identified Dr. Moore as a lobbyist for Monsanto. However, Monsanto has come forward with the following claim:

Dr. Moore is not a Monsanto lobbyist or employee. Knowledgeable scientists, consumers and our farmer customers may be familiar with and confident in the safety of glyphosate, but their statements don’t make them lobbyists for our company. Dr. Patrick Moore is one of those individuals. He agrees with the science that supports the safety of glyphosate, and is an advocate for technology and innovation. But as I mentioned, he is not and never has been a paid lobbyist for or employee at Monsanto.

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This Major Newspaper Just Declared War on Fossil Fuels

observista (CC BY-ND 2.0)

observista (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Tim McDonnell at Mother Jones:

After 20 years at the helm of one of the United Kingdom’s most influential newspapers, Alan Rusbridger is about to step down as editor of the Guardian. He’s not going quietly: In an op-ed a couple weeks ago, Rusbridger pledged to use his waning weeks to launch a full-out war on climate change:

So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness theGuardian’s best resources to describe what is happening…For the purposes of our coming coverage, we will assume that the scientific consensus about man-made climate change and its likely effects is overwhelming. We will leave the sceptics and deniers to waste their time challenging the science. The mainstream argument has moved on to the politics and economics…

We will look at who is getting the subsidies and who is doing the lobbying.

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Urban Treehouse That Absorbs Pollution

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

Not only is this apartment complex badass, but it’s also good for the environment. The apartment building, 25 Verde located in Turin, Italy, contains 150 trees that absorb air pollution and noise pollution.

The building, designed by Luciano Pia, elevates the trees “off the ground in an attempt to evade Turin’s homogeneous urban scene and integrate life into the facade of the residential building.” The trees absorb about “200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour,” while providing insulation from the busy street and glaring sun.

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

What are the chances NYC would build something like this? I’m thinking slim-to-none…

Check out more photos at Colossal.

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How human composting will change death in the city

joiseyshowaa (CC BY-SA 2.0)

joiseyshowaa (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Katie Herzog via Grist:

What we do with our dead can seem bizarre to outsiders. In a Tibetan tradition called sky burial, the deceased are cut into small pieces by a man known as therogyapa, or “breaker of bodies,” and laid atop mountains to be picked apart by vultures. Later, the bones are collected and pulverized with flour and yak butter and fed to crows and hawks. Feeding your loved ones to the same birds who eat roadkill may seem morbid to those of us in the West, but in Tibet, it’s both sacrosanct (these birds are sacred in Buddhism) and practical (ever tried to dig a grave in frozen ground?).

Tibet isn’t the only place with seemingly odd customs: In Madagascar, the bodies of the deceased are exhumed and sprayed with wine and perfume every few years. In Ghana, people are buried in coffins that represent their lives, so a fisherman might spend eternity in a box shaped like a carp and a farmer may spend it in a six-foot cob of corn.

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