Environmental Projects

Jennifer Monson live, indoors, at The Kitchen

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Wallace Heim writes: Tomorrow, at The Kitchen in New York City, the movement artist Jennifer Monson starts Live Dancing Archive, a week of live performances, video installation and a digital archive.

One of the first stories on the Ashden Directory in 2000 featured Jennifer’s project BIRD BRAIN Dance, a dance touring project following the migratory pathways of birds and grey whales in the northern and southern hemispheres. Jennifer’s work in the UKcontinued with Water Log, an outdoor movement project across the sands of Morecambe Bay. She returned to America and now is director of iLAND (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance), developing collaborative art and environmental projects.

The New Yorker previews her show:

‘For more than a decade, this esteemed improviser has done most of her dancing outdoors, following the migrations of animals and exploring the connections between dance and scientific research. In Live Dancing Archive, she reconstructs some of those outdoor experiences, attempting to reveal the traces a place might leave on a body. But the work is equally, if even more obliquely, about Monson’s history as a dancer, a queer performer, and an ever-questioning mind’.

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.

The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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Greening Western Queens Fund | North Star Fund

Greening Western Queens Fund

In the fall of 2009, North Star Fund launched the “Greening Western Queens Fund,” a new $7.9 million initiative to invest in energy-efficiency and environmental projects in the Western Queens community affected by a July 2006 electric power outage. This program is supported by funds from the community’s settlement with Con Edison. The Public Service Commission of the State of New York selected North Star Fund to administer the project because of our expertise in facilitating community led grantmaking processes.

According to Hugh Hogan, Executive Director of North Star Fund, “This is a story of a community that stood up to demand public accountability from a public utility that failed them. It’s provided an opportunity unique in the history of New York City to invest in an environmentally conscious and economically robust future of the affected neighborhoods. The community-driven process will serve as a model for the next generation of urban neighborhoods.”

Funded Projects

Western Queens will soon see an infusion of trees, green jobs and youth environmental programs thanks to $3.39 million in grants distributed by North Star Fund. Fifteen projects have been funded with one- to three-year grants that will result in up to 850 trees, support environmental education and recycling programs, and help fund community gardens and green jobs training programs. Click here to download a pdf of the projects.

Request For Proposals (RFP)

The Greening Western Queens Fund seeks to support projects that will result in tangible, physical and visible improvements to the Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside, and Astoria areas. We are not currently accepting applications for the Greening Western Queens Fund. The next RFP will be released in July 2011 and the deadline will be in September 2011.

Click here for common questions about applying for a grant from the Greening Western Queens Fund.

Advisory Board

We have developed a Greening Western Queens Fund Advisory Board of local stakeholders and environmental experts to distribute grants to local groups for tree planting, energy efficiency, job training and open space enhancement projects. The projects will incorporate conservation education and replicable models that will have a lasting impact in the neighborhood and beyond. All of the advisory board members provide unique and important expertise which will be utilized throughout the grant program. Please click here for more information about the Greening Western Queens Fund Advisory Board.

Visioning Sessions

In March 2010, North Star Fund hosted two community visioning sessions for residents of Sunnyside, Astoria, Woodside, and Long Island City. Over 120 residents, organizers, community members, and experts came together to share their vision, goals, and ideas for a greener Western Queens. Visioning Session participants actively engaged in large group and small group conversations and shared their ideas for the outcomes of the three-year grants.

The outcomes of the informative visioning sessions, as well as additional outreach and landscape research and scans of current greening programs and projects in the area were used by the Advisory Board to finalize the overall vision, grant criteria, priorities, and guidelines for the Fund.

Impacted Area

Click here for an interactive map indicating the boundaries of the prioritized areas impacted by the blackout.

via Greening Western Queens Fund | North Star Fund.

Brent Bucknum of Hyphae Design: a profile.

bucknum

We don’t have time to do environmental at that’s not functional.

– Brent Bucknum



In working on a Climate Clock for the San Jose Initiative, designer Brent Bucknam would often get into theoretical debates about the nature of art. His project partner, Brian Howe of greenmeme, would quote Picasso: Art is the lie that reveals the truth. Brent’s response was the quote above.

It’s one of the central questions of the environmental art movement, and one that is integral to Brent’s work with Hyphae Design Laboratory, a company he founded.

How can art save the world?

Artists on greenmuseum.org and elsewhere  are blurring cultural boundaries between art and science, science and activism, volunteerism and performance. Traditional forms hold fast, but functionality remains central to Hyphae’s work. Function: defined by this designer as “interpreting and conveying ecological information or serving otherwise as an ecological tool or system.” Hyphae is currently working on a project in West Oakland, a plan to line the 580 highway on either side with towering stands of bamboo, natural air and particulate filters. On a greenmuseum.org-sponsored panel at the recent Earth Matters on Stage Symposium, he presented a number of other exciting projects, from green roofs to living walls.

The 28-year old designer went to a farming high school. He worked for bioremediation and green roof companies before joining Rana Creek, with which he worked on the California Academy of Sciences’ living roof. He became that company’s first Director of Design before moving on to create Hyphae.  He sees his new company as a catchall, providing services from ecological design and research to consulting for artists interested in environmental projects.

That last aspect is the result of Bucknum’s own experiences making environmental art: he’d like to see artwork that ’s better informed by ecology, not, as he puts it, the “horti-torture” that creates living systems barely able to survive the duration of an exhibition. He’d like the art to be the change it would like to see in the world: smart, sustainable, and thriving.

Go to the Green Museum

Bloggerscircle: why we need a plastic bag tax

bloggers-circleRob Greenland at The Social Business blog wrote, a couple of days ago:

It’s in the news today that supermarkets just missed their target of 50% reduction in plastic bag use (they got to 48%).  I’m not a big fan of supermarkets but I think on this one they need to be congratulated.  Remember the reaction against proposals to tax plastic bags, and how, many believed, people would never change their habits.

Far too many bags are still used but a 48% reduction is a massive improvement.  If businesses and the public can get their act together on this issue, what other seemingly impossible environmental problems might we solve?  It may also suggest that it’s better tonudge people into doing the right thing (like the clever question the checkout assistant was trained to ask), rather than taxing them into behavioural change.

50% sounds great, doesn’t it?

But in Ireland the introduction of a plastic bag tax in 2002 cut the use of plastic bags immediately by 90%, and created millions of Euros in government revenues which were pledged for use in environmental projects. Cutting ours by 50% is nothing to be proud of in comparison to that figure, especially as much of that 50% is people like Rob, me, and you, dear reader. The remaining 50% are inevitably going to be much harder to reach. Even with Tesco offering the carrot of Nectar card points for every bag reused, this is still too slow. It’s time to get out the sticks.

Like it or not, taxation is the most effective behaviour change lever government has. As Anthony Giddens suggests is in The Politics of Climate Change these are levers we’re going to have to use, and not be afraid of using. But the revenue used from these taxes must be used creatively and positively if we’re going to trust the system. Denmark’s carbon taxes, introduced in the 90s, have created an absolute fall in Co2 emissions from that country not only because they disincentivise carbon use, but because the revenue created by the fed directly back into subsidising energy-saving measures.

This post is part of a collaborative  initiative at bloggerscircle.net

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

White Light Green Guide Published

White Light’s Green Guide promises to be an exceptionally useful guide to theater managers, technicians, and designers looking to reduce their environmental footprint while decreasing energy usage.  Details below.

Reprinted from Lighting & Sound America, April 16, 2009:

The U.K.-based entertainment lighting supplier White Light announces the release of the White Light Green Guide, available now from the company’s website.

Intended as a starter guide for those wanting to make their work in lighting shows have as little impact on the environment as possible, the Green Guide offers suggestions for each phase of the process of show lighting, from initial meetings and planning through rig design, set-up and focus, show running, touring, and final load-out.

“Many of the suggestions in our Green Guide are largely common sense,” comments White Light’s managing director, Bryan Raven, “but it’s often the obvious things that get overlooked when it comes to putting a show together, particularly in the final hectic days of tech when the old mantra of ‘the show must go on’ tends to win out over everything else! We hope that by writing some suggestions down they might be able to be integrated into the planning and production process a little better.”

The White Light Green Guide draws on the experience the company has gained in trying to reduce the environmental impact of its operations and working to introduce newer, more energy-efficient technologies to lighting practitioners. This process has covered everything from installing a waste compactor, moving to filtered tapwater rather than bottled water, investigating hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for outdoor events, and adopting a wide range of LED lighting products — as well as continuing the company’s principal operation of renting lighting, giving equipment as long a working life as possible.

White Light have also been involved with a number of other environmental projects, including working with the Arcola Theatre on their aim to become the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre, and collaborating with the Mayor of London’s Office on its Green Theatre: Taking Action on Climate Change, and with environmental organisation Julie’s Bicycle on its Green Music guide.

The White Light Green Guide compliments these by focusing more specifically on lighting, hints ranging from switching off discharge moving lights when not actually in use, to considering new approaches to attaching cables to lighting bars.

Designed to be easy to read on-screen, the White Light Green Guide is available for download only; it can be found at the link below.

White Light logo

Links:
White Light Green Guide

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Go to the Green Theater Initiative