An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Commercial Locksmiths That Follow the Green Eco Policy to Recycle

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Sustainability has taken over all aspects of the world, due to the need to reduce wastage of resources. Locksmith services have also adopted the green eco policy, with the focus on recycling these products to the fullest. With the major services focusing on repair and replacement, commercial locksmiths are strategizing to keep the eco policies, in either case.

The Techniques

After losing your key, you expect a locksmith to help you the best way possible. For many people, the option is replacement of the locks or keys, depending on the situation. However, for eco-based services, they take a different approach.

Repair Strategies

Most of the lock problems require repairing, rather than replacement. For instance, with a broken lock at your home, they focus on repairing of the locks rather than installing new ones. The fact that the locks comprise of different parts makes it easy to replace only what is non-functional. Repair services enable you maintain your original locks and reduce the need to exploit the environment for a new one.

Replacement Strategies

Replacement of keys and locks within the eco policies focuses more on recycling. The fact that the key or lock is destroyed does not render it useless. Recycling in this case involves melting these objects, and molding them to produce new ones. This means that all the old and destroyed locksmith items are subject to making new and functional products. With this kind of focus, we protect the environment from littering as well as reduce resource exploitation, for a better tomorrow.

Sometimes, you need a new key for a lock or padlock. For these eco-based locksmiths, they use old keys to create new one that fit in your locks. This is in contrast with others, who would consider cutting out a new key. Although all locks have a unique combination to the specific key, they require a little adjustment to fit into another lock. In addition to sustainability, the pricing is also cheaper since they focus on recycling rather than creating a new one.


An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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Cut Down Your Bills and Maintenance Costs with Solar Pool Heating

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Solar pool heating systems, just as the term suggests, heat pool water through the use of infrared rays that are radiated from the sun.

Research conducted in various parts of the world over the past couple of years has shown that a significant number of individuals and businesses have been opting for solar pool heater solutions, as opposed to the conventional ones.

This is due to their cost effectiveness and the fact that it’s environmentally friendly.

How Solar Pool Heating Works

What could make them more comfortable?

These kits work by using the sun’s energy to regulate water temperatures. Positioned on the roof of the home, on the ground, or in any clear area, panels absorb heat from sunlight. Tubing connects the pool to each solar panel, and water transfers heat from the panels to the main body of water.

These systems can be used to cool warm water found after a hot day. Instead of heating the water, the panels act as giant heatsinks at night, sapping the energy out into the cooler air. Most homeowners don’t want to take a dip in water nearly warm enough to pass as a hot tub.

Estimating the Cost of Setup:

The solar pool heating systems might cost anything between $4,500 and $7,000 including installation. They have to be built according to your pool size so that perfect heating can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The most widely used alternative electric heat pump heaters cost $3,500 – $4,500 whereas the least effective gas pool heaters may be priced between the range of $1,000-$1,500.
Besides the upfront cost, the thermal regulation provides months of additional comfort at little operational cost. Heating panels do not use costly photovoltaics, the technology used to generate electricity in some types of solar panels.

Instead, these panels use the heat directly from the sun, eliminating the need for expensive photovoltaic panels and electric heaters, which only last a few years outdoors anyway.
Again the solar energy is acquired freely which provides a consistent supply of energy, significantly reducing the operational cost.
Water heating requires an amount of electricity to run a water pump from the main body to each solar panel, but its energy requirements pale in comparison to an electric heater.

Its warming effects for pools are noticeable and comforting, extending the season for swimmers.

Below are ways that Solar heating helps you save money.

No Fuel Consumption:

Solar heaters for pools are designed with advanced technology, which harnesses sun’s energy for heating your pool water. This avoids the use of any other kind of fuel for heating, which results in the lowest annual costs in operation compared to any other fuel consuming pool heating technologies.

Low Heating Maintenance:

Solar heating has a simple design with inexpensive parts, solar heaters for pools require little ongoing maintenance to keep working. After installing the solar heater, all it requires is an annual inspection, which will make your pool-owning experience more enjoyable.

Low Installation Cost:

Despite being considered latest technology, solar heaters for pools are simple in design, which can be installed easily. You can expect an affordable installation for solar powered pool heaters.

Saving on the Utility Costs:

If your thinking of replacing your gas pool heater with a solar powered one then the cost of the solar setup can be recouped within two to three years based on utility savings. Solar powered pool heaters run by drawing energy from the sun, which is one of the most abundant and free fuel sources.

Effective Heating:

Solar heaters for pools not only save a large amount of money and energy but also work with a clean energy source. You can expect your pool to be at a comfortable temperature for enjoying a nice swimming and soaking experience.

The Durability of Solar Heating:

The average life span of a solar powered pool heater is between 20 to 25 years and which can go up as the time passes by. Some solar heaters come with warranties and quality certificate as well as assures of an after-sale service.

Because of the investment necessary to complete such a renovation, only qualified professional contractors should design and install solar pool heating systems. Different states and communities have different building codes, and different climates require different materials. They will also provide necessary information for freeze protection, maintenance and repair.

Pool heating costs


An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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Retrofitted yacht uses off-the-shelf solar & wind products to power its educational journey to Cuba

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Vittoria Energy Expedition is sailing from DC to Cuba, visiting communities along the way where renewable energy is making a difference.

An overhauled and retrofitted 31-foot yacht has been transformed into a floating classroom and mobile renewable energy adventure vessel, with the aim of documenting how communities and individuals are putting clean energy to work for them.

As opposed to some of the other solar and wind powered boats we’ve featured, which entail either cutting-edge or custom renewable energy systems, as well as huge funding investments, the Vittoria Energy Expedition (VEE) team put together its systems entirely from off-the-shelf products that are readily available right now. This approach fits with its mission to highlight the reliability, affordability, and practicality of wind and solar power, and to bridge the gap between the concept of renewable energy and actually employing it.

“The world is changing. In our back yards, across distant lands and oceans, ordinary people are transforming the way we power our lives. Our journey is to uncover their stories. This is why we explore. To see the future. To draw a new map of what’s possible and where we’re going.” – VEE

Vittoria Energy Expedition

© Vittoria Energy Expedition
The Vittoria is said to be capable of producing all of its own electricity, not just for its onboard navigation and lighting systems, but also to power its 14 kW electric motor as well, with the aim of being completely energy-independent on its voyage. The vessel sailed from Washington DC in the fall of 2016, has sailed some 900 miles so far, and is currently in Hilton Head, South Carolina, where it will soon set off again to sail down the coast to Miami and Key West, and from there to Cuba. Along the way, the crew is documenting the ways that renewable energy is changing lives and making a difference in practical and affordable ways, with the intent of bringing those stories to life via digital media and a web video series.

Vittoria Energy Expedition

© Vittoria Energy Expedition

“We believe in learning by doing. Moving beyond talking points into practical application, the team designed and built out our 100% renewable-powered cruising classroom, Vittoria. Using only off-the-shelf clean energy products, the off-grid ship embodies Team Vittoria’s pursuit of energy independence. Sharing lessons learned along the way, we host renewable energy classrooms in the destinations we visit, offering community groups, youth organizations, and local leaders first-hand experience with these readily-available technologies.” – VEE

“I think Vittoria Energy is really about the future. It’s about the future of energy policymaking. It’s about the future of energy thinking. It’s about the future of how we educate and inspire people to think about how we can really deliver on 21st-Century energy technology, which is rooted primarily in renewables.” – Michael K. Dorsey, Sierra Club Board of Directors

The VEE team aims to document the expedition through a combination of film, interactive mapping, and social media, in order to “tell the captivating story of everyday people pioneering real-world energy solutions,” with the renewable energy innovations that are already readily accessible. Find out more at the Vittoria Energy Expedition website.

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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The Evolution of a Backyard Food Forest – The First Three Years

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From a beautiful 23 year old food forest in New Zealand to a permaculture smallholding spanning five acres, we’ve featured an awful lot of properties with beautiful, established perennial vegetable gardens.

While I love looking at what people have achieved, as a decidedly Lazivore gardener myself, I sometimes worry whether these visions of rural idyl are a little intimidating for the would-be forest gardener.

That’s why I love this next video from Dan over at Plant Abundance. He’s already attracted quite a following to his YouTube channel thanks to his friendly gardening tips and his beautiful backyard food forest. But he’s now taken the time to dig through old photos and videos to show how his garden got started in an unloved backyard filled with rubble and dirt. Check it out:

There are many lessons that resonate for me here as someone who has had many, many gardening failures. Among my favorites:

—Incorporate annual vegetable gardens as your perennials get establishe.
—Build flexible structures that you can adapt as your garden evolves.
—But don’t wait too long before removing big trees! (Your younger saplings will thank you for prompt action.)

To check out what the garden looks like now, take a look at this extended tour. It’s pretty impressive stuff, created one small step at a time:

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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Simple purification system turns sewage water into clean drinking water in India

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In India, more than 77 million people do not have access to clean drinking water — more than any other country in the world — with the issue mainly affecting people in rural areas.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed a new solar-powered water purification system that decontaminates sewage water and makes it safe to drink. This technology solves two problems at once by providing clean drinking water and by reducing the spread of disease caused by untreated sewage.

Currently, the Indian government focuses on purifying contaminated water in rivers and streams, but in rural areas there is no widespread treatment of sewage water, which would solve the problem at the source. The new system first filters out visible waste and then uses sunlight to “generate high-energy particles inside solar-powered materials, which activate oxygen in the water to incinerate harmful pollutants and bacteria,” according to the university.

Sunlight itself is already a great purifier, but the technology amplifies this process so that contaminated water becomes safe to drink quickly and at low cost.

“We are aiming to provide people in rural India with a simple off-grid water decontamination system. This could be achieved by simply fitting our modified solar-activated materials to containers of contaminated water positioned in direct sunlight,” said Dr. Aruna Ivaturi from the university’s School of Chemistry.

The research team is working with the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune to carry out a five-month pilot project in rural villages where the technology will be further developed so that it can be used on a larger scale.

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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Chemical that gives pine trees their smell could be used to make renewable plastic

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Plastic is an incredibly useful and versatile material, but it’s also become a plague to the earth because of the large amount of disposable plastics thrown away every day that wind up in landfills and our oceans. On top of that, its made from petroleum, a fossil fuel, which adds to its environmental impact.

More environmentally-friendly plastics have been made like those made from corn or sugar cane, but they often are still made with some crude oil derivatives. A new discovery from the University of Bath has shown that a waste product from pine trees could lead to a fully renewable plastic that is free from fossil fuels.

Pinene is the chemical that makes pine trees smell like, well, pine trees and it also happens to be a waste product of the paper industry. Researchers found that degradable polyesters, which are made from corn or sugar cane and need to be mixed with a caprolactone, made with crude oil, to be more flexible, could be mixed with pinene instead.

The resulting plastic is flexible and strong and completely devoid of fossil fuels.

“We’re not talking about recycling old Christmas trees into plastics, but rather using a waste product from industry that would otherwise be thrown away, and turning it into something useful,” said Helena Quilter, a PhD student at the university’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies. “So if we can make a plastic from sustainable sources, it could make a big difference to the environment.”

The researchers see the new plastic as a replacement for single use plastics and a range of medical uses like implants. They are also working on these types of plastics using limonene, a waste chemical from the citrus industry.

While this new plastic is sustainable in its making, the university does not say whether it will be biodegradable.

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Protecting the worlds eco-structure and making the world a better place

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Eco-Structure consists of various elements of earth that link together to form what we call as ‘mother nature’. It consists of elements like Soil, Water, Air, Trees, Human beings, Animals, Birds and living organisms and non-living elements.

Every element in this chain has their importance and play their part, for example, air keeps living beings alive, soil helps produce food, water gives life to living beings and provides shelter to various other forms of life. Breaking up of any link of eco-structure will have a grave consequence on the existence of all others. Just imagine if all water is polluted or all of the air is polluted this will result in diseases in all form of life and life on earth can get extinct.

The most complex link in this chain is us i.e Humans, as we are ultimate consumers of offerings of other links also we have the power and knowledge to tame and use all other elements as per our needs hence it is us that has ultimate responsibility for protecting the eco structure.

 

Some of the ways in which we can protect and maintain eco-structure are –

1) Educate others – First and most important thing we can do is to make others aware of the importance of eco-structure and dangerous consequence we all have to face if we let it degrade.

2) Responsible Agriculture – Agriculture is one of the major occupation of people of the world (especially in less advanced countries) and is under immense pressure to support ever increasing population hence often end up using harmful chemicals to protect crops. These pollute soil, water and food.

3) Responsible Instrurialisation – Second major occupation after agriculture is industries. we should be responsible that chemicals and waste from our industry are not directly let into water or air hence polluting the environment and risking the survival of a nearby community.

4) Peace and Harmony among people of the world – Conflicts between nations lead to Weapon race and ultimately wars. Today’s weapons have the capability to destroy a community, region or country. It’s important for all of us to spread harmony and live in peace.


An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

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2nd Red Stables Art and Ecology Summer School at Bull Island Dublin

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It’s great to see all the events that were organised by the RedStables and Dublin City Arts Office for their 2nd Art & Ecology event.

The Red Stables Art and Ecology Summer School took place in St. Anne’s Park, Dublin 3 and North Bull Island, a UNESCO protected biosphere reserve. For further information and bookings contact red.stables@dublincity.ie or 01 222 7377.

‘Natural Kinds’
18 July, 2:00–5:00pm, The Red Stables, St. Anne’s Park, Dublin 3

Natural Kinds was an afternoon of talks and screenings at The Red Stables on Thursday 18th July (2–5pm), looking at notions of classification in the natural sciences and Philosophy, stemming from research artist Jenny Brady who has been engaged with the Red Stables Summer School.

The afternoon included a talk by orchid specialist Brendan Sayers on orchid hybridisation and the wild orchids on Bull Island, and a presentation on the ‘Species Problem’ in Philosophy and Biology by Dr. Niall Connolly, Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science, TCD. The short programme of screenings included Donna Haraway Reads “The National Geographic” on Primates (1987) by Donna Haraway and Paper Tiger TV, Les Oursins (1958), The Love Life of the Octopus (1967) by Jean Painlevé, and Carve Up, Jenny Brady’s new video work made for The Red Stables Summer School.

‘Carve Up’
18 –31 July, 2:00–5:00pm

Jenny Brady’s Carve Up drew on questions around the nature and conception of species with a focus on the wild orchids growing on Bull Island. The work was screened in The Red Stables Gallery between 20–31 July from 12:00–5:00pm daily.

‘The Interpretive Project’

20 July, 3:00–5:00pm, Bull Island Interpretive Centre, Dublin 3 *

The Interpretive Project was a collaboration between Rhona Byrne, Vaari Claffey and Ciara Moore. On Saturday 20th July, the artists hosted a live event at the Interpretive Centre. The audience was invited to attend a hybrid lecture proposing a re-imagined history of the island. This live presentation included readings, film screenings and other visuals. It wove together histories on the origin, mythology and ecology of Bull Island since its appearance 213 years ago.

The stuffed animals who permanently reside in the space played a role at this event. In the process of uncovering the ‘history’ of Bull Island as the site of production and conception of a number of seminal historical artworks, the animals adopted the personae and characters of figures from art history and literature and discussed and reviewed a selection of artworks, offering us new insight from the perspective of the non-human animal. They also shared memories and experiences of life on the island for some of the native species and visitors.

The project also included a participative performance based on the flocking patterns, foraging behaviour and flight formation of the migratory birds on the island and the island itself. This performance was informed by the behaviour and sounds of animals on Bull Island, reflecting the human occasions for such collective behaviours and mass gatherings around ‘feeding, mating and alarm’.

The Red Stables Summer School 2013 was curated by Seán O Sullivan and Denise Reddy.
THE RED STABLES SUMMER SCHOOL
www.redstablesartists.com
Image credit: Dublin City Council

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An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.

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Eradicating ecocide to make sustainability legal

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“How can we move from a place of dependency to a place of interdependency? How can we create a world of peace?” 

Polly Higgins, ‘lawyer for the Earth’ at TEDxWhitechapel, founder of Eradicating Ecocide campaign, Feb. 2013

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“The environmental movement is a failure.

Whether its climate change or the health of our oceans, air, and soil, the planet is worse off now than it was 40 years ago, and rapidly declining. Yet, corporations have more rights than our communities or ecosystems and are doing just fine.

This is how we fix the situation.”

Thomas Linzey, lawyer, founder of US Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund organisation

This weekend I will be presenting a motion at the 2013 Irish National Green Party convention on ecocide; the post below explains why I’m trying to get the term ‘ecocide’ into the Irish political and public domains. If you are interested in measures against fracking and other environmental destruction, a law of ecocide and nature-based rights are developing in response. Please feel free to share this post.

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Could an ecocide law prevent environmental destruction?

One of the key concepts and terms in my PhD work  ‘Seeing and Tending the Forest: beyond ecocide toward deep sustainability‘ is – ‘ecocide’.

‘Ecocide’ is a term I kept coming across in my research and reading. In fact I first used ecocide almost without thinking. To me it so well conveyed the exponential accelerating ecological suicide that is occurring globally. Particularly the horrifying rate of destruction since World War II, that some are calling ‘The Great Acceleration’, that characterises our now globalised, extract-at-all costs, industrial growth society.

However, one of the fundamental principles in undertaking doctoral level research is that you fully define all terms and concepts. I had some years ago been alerted by one of my blog followers that I should look at the work of UK legal barrister, Polly Higgins. Polly Higgins’ work in organising high profile mock legal trials against corporate ecocide, her award-winning books on ‘eradicating ecocide’, her well received ecocide talks has developed quickly in recent years to become an international campaign; to have corporate ecocide recognised in international law as the missing 5th international crime against peace.

What is ecocide?

In March 2010 Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be the 5th international Crime Against Peace. This is the definition she proposed:

Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.


Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 21.30.58Her website www.eradicatingecocide.com is a comprehensive resource for the history and current research into ecocide legal developments. It is also the site for the growing global campaigns to raise awareness of how we can all become involved in outlawing ecocide (taking part in the AVAAZ,  Wish20 Eradicating Ecocide and if you live in Europe  the endecocide.eu online petitions are a good place to start, you can also follow and share the posts from the Ecocide is a Crime Facebook Page too).

How can a law against ecocide work?

Polly Higgins and Thomas Linzey, a leading lawyer working in the US (quoted above), and growing numbers of leading international legal people and researchers, are arguing that in much the same way that slavery and disenfranchisement against women were perpetuated by seeing other races and women ‘as property’, that changing laws to overturn the erroneous idea that natural ecosystems be regarded as property, will powerfully and legally shift corporations away from committing crimes of ecocide.

This is not to underestimate that this is complex area (leading legal experts in universities,  particularly some University of London legal researchers, are working hard to address all the many legal details on this issue) and I have only briefly highlighted the key point here. Yet this key point, to extend a legal, enforceable ‘duty of care’ to ecosystems would be a paradigm shift for humanity, and the corporate world in particular.

Corporations are legally mandated to produce profits; this law would fundamentally change corporations actions and enforce eco-social responsibility and accountability. This will in turn legalise long term sustainability for the earth’s life giving ecosystems.

Ecocide legal frameworks already exist and has been enforced

Ecocide has since been recognised legally from the Vietnam war onwards, and some legal redress for victims of ecocide has and is occurring.

Oddly unsettling in my reading about ecocide, is that I found the term is exactly the same age as me.

I say this as the term evolved in the late 1960s from recognising the criminality behind the long term destruction and poisoning  of the forest and food ecosystems in the Vietnam war with industrial chemical herbicide agents such as Agent Orange (Monsanto/Dow Chemicals and other companies produced Agent Orange and an arsenal of other poisonous ‘rainbow agents’) used by the US military. Agent Orange in particular was noted for its disastrous long term residual poisoning of ecosystems and human populations with dioxins – lethal cancer and birth defect causing compounds, and other persistent effects of which health professionals and scientists are still realising and dealing with).

Ecocide law works: this is the card I have that gives me access to specialists doctors as my late father served and was fatally affected by the slow violence of Monsanto/Dow companies Agent Orange in the Vietnam war

Ecocide law works: this is the card I have that gives me access to specialists doctors as my late father served and was fatally affected by the slow violence of Monsanto/Dow companies Agent Orange in the Vietnam war

Ecocide since Vietnam is legally recognised in war situations

As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, this affected my family as my late father was a New Zealand Vietnam veteran. It was through the hard work of the NZ Vietnam Veterans associations and the then Labour Government under former Prime Minister Helen Clark, that a Memorandum of Understanding sought acknowledgement, compensation and redress to the children of NZ Vietnam veterans by the ecocide caused by these long lasting poisonous herbicides. My sisters and I are now on a official NZ Vietnam Veteran’s Children’s Register (my NZ Vietnam Veteran’s Children’s card is pictured here) that gives some support to descendants affected by cancers/diseases attributed to Agent Orange and the millions of tons of poisonous herbicides sprayed across Vietnam and other parts of Asia in the 20 000+ US military air raids (see notes at end of article for more details on this NZ landmark case).

On a personal note, my father, a very quiet man, could never speak easily of America or its culture again and the destruction he witnessed to a beautiful country and the peoples of Vietnam. I grew up knowing him interested in these things; reading the paper, vegetable growing, his love of the wild forested West Coast of the South Island of NZ, horse racing and Labour Party politics. He often bribed us as children (with chocolate) to deliver Labour Party political leaflets in our local area and he would have been so moved that it was the Labour Party that worked hard to bring some compensation to his engineer army colleagues and their surviving families (NZ  sent 3,980 mainly non-combatant, engineer troops, to serve in the Vietnam war).

Nature-based rights development

Landmark nature-rights book, first published in 1972; now in 3rd edition, 2010, Oxford Uni. Press, USA

Landmark nature-rights book, first published in 1972; now in 3rd edition, 2010, Oxford Uni. Press, USA

While the NZ military situation above is an example of legal retrospective redress for gross war-time ecocide, developments since the 1960s to bring the crime of ecocide into non-military situations have evolved slowly. Surprisingly there was much talk and legal efforts in bringing ecocide forward as a crime in non-war situations in the early 1970s due to the huge public awareness of the situation in Vietnam (many scientists signed an international petition to try and stop Agent Orange use during the Vietnam war)  and the publication of Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring book alerted many to the long term environmental problems of pesticide/herbicide compounds. However such legal measures for non-war situations were stopped by several nations (see the eradicatingecocide.com website for more details). Even so, legal minds have for some decades further examined the idea of extending a legal duty of care to the non-human world, such as in the work and landmark book by US law lecturer and researcher, Christopher Stone, who wrote in 1972 Should Trees have Standing? – law, morality and the environment.

In recent years I have also noticed some nations in South America are leading the way for the ‘rights of nature’ to be legally recognised in their countries’ constitutional framework (for e.g Ecuador). Often such legislation is evolving with lawyers working with  indigenous peoples, peoples who have not forgotten their nature-centred worldviews that respects all life, fundamentally ensuring long term sustainability for all species. Also in South America, one of the most important cases against corporate ecocide is ongoing, the multinational petrochemical Chevron is facing $18 billion in redress to thousands of indigenous peoples whose livelihoods and waters were affected by Chevron’s disregard of the gross and poisonous pollution it was creating (see Amazonwatch.org for details of this case – Chevron has engaged 64 law firms trying to overturn this decision!).

An online book of my great Grandmother’s 1890s paintings of the New Zealand Whanganui River. A river ecosystem that since 2012 is now one of the first in the world to have achieved legal agreement that ‘recognises the river and all its tributaries as a single entity, Te Awa Tupua, and makes it a legal entity with rights and interests, and the owner of its own river bed.’

An online book of my great Grandmother’s 1890s paintings of the New Zealand Whanganui River. A river ecosystem that since 2012 is now one of the first in the world to have achieved legal agreement that ‘recognises the river and all its tributaries as a single entity, Te Awa Tupua, and makes it a legal entity with rights and interests, and the owner of its own river bed.’

And nature-based rights are developing in New Zealand. In fact, I was startled last August, while back in NZ to see that NZ’s third largest river, the Whanganui river, was granted legal standing from long years of work from Maori tribes and other river stakeholders. This river has a particular connection to my mother’s family as our Great Grandmother was an early European settler in the northern reaches of this river (I created a book on her paintings with my mother a few years ago – my great grandmother witnessed and painted both the beauty and the rampant deforestation by early European settlers way back in the 1890s near this river). Also last September I noticed online that the Green Party of England and Wales had invited Polly Higgins to their national convention and the Green Party of England and Wales unanimously adopted a motion to support a motion against ecocide. I made a promise to myself back then that I would at some stage attempt to bring it to the attention to the Irish and New Zealand Green Parties (NZer’s, please feel free to share this post) in a hope it would spread across the political and public domains.

Law against corporate ecocide and nature-based rights could prevent fracking, other ecosystem destruction

Land and water degradation – gas and coal extraction, sewage sludge, factory farms, massive water withdrawals, landfills, and more could be addressed

Over the last few months, I was busy with other aspects of my project but I was fortunate to come across a new book Earth at Risk (Dec, 2012)  from leading US author/activist/deep green philosopher Derrick Jensen. In it I read a fascinating interview by Derrick with US lawyer Thomas Linzey. While Polly Higgins has been tackling ecocide law at an international/UN level, I was excited to read Thomas Linzey also describe how modern law often legally enables ecocide and how despite the best of intentions, environmentalism has largely failed. I was even more excited to read how Thomas was working from the ground up, assisting grassroot local communities across the United States, to stop fracking and other forms of pollution or degradation in their areas etc by fundamentally changing the legal framework in regards to their local environments. Thomas Linzey is founder of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), an organisation which since 1995 has been assisting and educating ordinary concerned citizens in towns and municipalities to fight for new nature/community based rights. In recent months, its been great to see on the eradicatingecocide.com website, both Polly’s and Thomas’s new legal ideas and work are beginning to influence local and international law. On the CELDF website you can also see how rights based successes are spreading across the US, with some communities having success in preventing fracking in their localities.

Here is a short video trailer from an upcoming documentary film from Thomas Linzey on the work that the CELDF organisation is undertaking (note, you’ll see the NZ Whanganui River rights case briefly highlighted in this trailer too). Thomas’ groundbreaking plenary 30 min speech from a US Bioneers conference is also worth listening to, see here) .

If you are involved in local politics, concerned about fracking or other types of environmental destruction, I would also recommend you watch the more detailed video below by Thomas on how this area of legal reform is developing swiftly across many US states.

Higgins and Linzey’s work acknowledges that ecocide is a crime and a move to install nature/community based rights are important and urgent. In my own writings I point out that ecocide isn’t just happening in the Arctic or the Amazon, that the slow violence of ecocide, in our culture and local environments, threads its way through our everyday lives. To me, short rotation monoculture tree plantations are a form of ecocide, leading to eventual soil fertility collapse and limiting severely resilient ecosytems from developing; the very opposite of an ecosystem thriving sustainably in the long term.  My work will continue to show alternatives to industrial forestry. Perhaps one day I might even fight for legal standing for the small forest in which I live, a living community that supports me and which I am interdependently connected to.

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I will be proposing that the following motion will be adopted by the Irish Green Party on 13 April 2013. My thanks to Carlow Law lecturer John Tully, former Green Minster for Equality, Mary White, Cllr Malcolm Noonan, Dr. Paul O’Brien, Martin Lyttle, Dr. Rhys Jones, Alan Price, Duncan Russell, Nicola Brown, John Hogan and others for enthusiastically supporting my proposing this motion.

‘The Irish Green Party supports the proposition that a crime of ecocide be created in international law, as a crime against nature, humanity and future generations, to be defined as ‘the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants (human and non-human) of that territory has been or will be severely diminished’; and that the proposed crime of ecocide be formally recognised as a Crime against Peace subject to the jurisdiction of  the International Criminal Court.’

Do take a minute to sign and share the petitions, click on the links above or the AVAAZ and also the End Ecocide in Europe (if you live in Europe) logos at the bottom of this page. If a million Europeans sign the End Ecocide in Europe it helps enforce an EU wide directive against corporate ecocide (170 000+ have signed so far).

Please feel free to share this post and comments are always welcome. Thanks for reading. (Please add the #ecocide hastag if you are reposting this article)

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Notes on redress for Vietnam veterans and their children in NZ

In December 2006, the New Zealand Government, the Ex-Vietnam Services Association (EVSA) and the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA) agreed to, and signed, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) following the recommendations of the Joint Working Group, designated with advocacy for Veteran’s concerns.[7] The MoU provides formal acknowledgement of the toxic environment New Zealand Vietnam Veterans faced during their service abroad in Vietnam, and the after-effects of that toxin since the service men and women returned to New Zealand. The MoU also makes available various forms of support, to both New Zealand Vietnam Veterans and their families.[8] New Zealand writer and historian, Deborah Challinor, includes a new chapter in her second edition release of Grey Ghosts: New Zealand Vietnam Veterans Talk About Their War that discusses the handling of the New Zealand Vietnam Veterans’ claims, including the Reeves, McLeod and Health Committee reports, and the reconciliation/welcome parade on Queen’s Birthday Weekend, 2008, also known as ‘Tribute 08′.[9]

From 1962 until 1987, the 2,4,5T herbicide was manufactured at an Ivon Watkins-Dow plant in Paritutu, New Plymouth which was then shipped to U.S. military bases in South East Asia.[10][11][12] There have been continuing claims that the suburb of Paritutu has also been polluted.[13][14]

See more at Veteran’s Affairs (VANZ) Website for NZ veterans and their children’s welfare

Related and recent articles on ecocide

Note: Apologies for cross posting, this article was published previously on my research site www.ecoartfilm too.

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.
Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

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New Red Stables Art & Ecology Summer School publication

This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook

Image: A meeting of the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club at the Giant’s Causeway, 11 June, 1868. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum

Image: A meeting of the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club at the Giant’s Causeway, 11 June, 1868. Photograph © National Museums Northern Ireland Collection Ulster Museum

I gave a presentation of my theory and practice research, and my video experiments to date (see video at top of my homepage), the Hollywood Diaries: screen reel 2008-12. There were contributions from many other diverse fields that were part of significant projects undertaken by Seoidín O’Sullivan and Geraldine O’Reilly. My video was shown along with films and videos by Seoidín O’Sullivan, Grace Weir, David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy, Christine Mackey, Toon.ie animations.A great legacy of the Dublin Red Stables Art & Ecology summer school, in which I took part in August, has now been produced. The series of events and projects have been reviewed and collated into a new publication created by the Dublin City Arts Office, edited by  Seán O Sullivan with an essay by invited curator and cultural geographer, Dr Karen E. Till.

All are welcome to attend the book launch, details below. I will putting a copy of the book into the National College of Art & Design for those that are interested. My thanks to Denise and the staff at Red Stables for creating such a important project and to Karen Till for reviewing what is becoming an important new area in fine art/visual culture and cultural geography.

The book  launch was this Saturday 15 December 2012.

The Red Stables Summer School: Jul – Aug 2012
St. Anne’s Park, Dublin 3

Edited by Seán O Sullivan

This Saturday, Dublin City Council Arts Office will launch a book entitled The Red Stables Summer School: Jul – Aug 2012, which details two major projects, Seoidín O’Sullivan’s Field Work and Geraldine O’Reilly’s Weeds Are Plants Too!. This year’s summer school included a rolling series of talks and field trips with invited artists, geographers, botanists and architects and an art & ecology summer school.

Alongside more than sixty full-colour illustrations, the book includes essays by Seán O Sullivan, Dr. Karen E. Till [Cultural Geographer, NUI Maynooth], and Dr. Declan Doogue, [Botanist, Dublin Naturalists’ Field Club]. It is printed lithographically on high quality book paper in an edition of 250 copies, and it is available free of charge.

This book which highlights art and ecology projects that took place in St. Anne’s Park will be launched by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí, who will also switch on the Christmas tree lights.

Following on from The Red Stables Summer School and the theme of art and nature, there will be a ‘Winter Walk’ in the park with Botanist, Dr. Declan Doogue.

This project is supported by Dublin City Council Arts Office and the Arts Council of Ireland.

  Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 21.33.02

Related links:

My talk online and video works at Red Stables Art & Ecology summer school,  17 July 2012

Art and Ecology at the Red Stables Summer School Dublin

Stories from the Field and Forest seminar at Red Stables Dublin

Please note:

Due to time demands, I am now posting a lot more regularly on my new phd website www.ecoartfilm.com which you are also welcome to follow. Just add your email to bottom of homepage. Here you will find info on experimental ecocinema practice and theory, my work and others in this small field.

An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.
Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook

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