Couple Goes Off The Grid And Builds Floating Island

Called the Freedom Cove, Canadian couple Wayne Adams and Catherine King built their own sustainable, eco-friendly island located a half-hour boat ride from Tofino, British Columbia. Starting in 1992, Adams and King began construction on their home from recycled materials. Each station is connected by large wooden or metal platforms. To sustain themselves they cultivate crops in their greenhouse, collect rainwater, and use solar panels for electricity. 

“It’s just like swimming through a dirty diaper.”

So there’s this thing in Brooklyn, New York, called the Gowanus Canal. 

It’s pretty gross. There are literally gas bubbles rising to the surface from decaying sewage at the bottom. 

Recognized as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States, it’s labeled as a Superfund site. Which, despite the name, is NOT SUPER and basically means a place is really, really, really ridiculously polluted.

To raise awareness about how dirty the Gowanus is and how much more needs to be done to clean it up, Christopher Swain did the unthinkable and SWAM IT.

Covering his face in Vaseline to repel the toxic water and wearing a hazmat suit, he was accompanied by a kayaker who occasionally offered him hydrogen peroxide to gurgle. Performance-art activism for the environment right in our own backyard!

And it worked!

His stunt is all over the media now and people are being reminded about how polluted the canal is.


The New York Times has some choice quotes:

“I think I’m going to go in here,” Swain said soon after arriving at the canal.
“No, you’re not,” a burly guard said.
“This is not approved,” explained Captain Frank DiGiacomo. “Obviously, he comes out of the water, he’s contaminated. Obviously, the water he’s in is contaminated.
Obviously.”

Obviously. 

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Laki: How a volcano wiped out half of Iceland and incited the French Revolution

When Laki erupted in 1783 a local pastor called Jón Steingrímsson described the eruption: “First the ground swelled up with tremendous howling, then suddenly a cry shattered it into pieces and exposing {the earth´s] guts, like an animal tearing apart its prey.“

Now the pastor was a god fearing man and goes on to suggest that people repent for their sins (I would suggest more run for the non-exploding hills but each to his own), but his description of the event is unlikely to be exaggerated. The eruption decimated the population of Iceland, and not content with a mere 20,000 souls, went on to claim even more in Europe.

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ABuzz Over Bee Health: New Pesticide Studies Rev Up Controversy

“Even if you’re not a lover of bees or honey, you should know that bees are critically important to our food supply.

And two new studies published in the journal Nature add to the evidence that overuse of neonicotinoid pesticides may also be contributing to the decline of bees.”

Read more from our blog via npr.

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On Saturday night, President Obama got real on the topic of climate change and the inaction of Congress. Here’s what he said: 

“Instead of doing anything about it, we’ve got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate. It is crazy! What about our kids? What kind of stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible, bull—” 

While it was part of a skit, the joke was that Obama wasn’t joking. Gotta give him props for being able to keep his cool when dealing with these fools

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After 12 long weeks my Inkscape series is finished! This project was a self driven series forcing me to explore new ways of approaching my digital painting process. This was a challenging yet incredibly rewarding series, and I’m excited about all that I have learned and how it’ll influence my future work! 

6 of these images will be a part of my thesis at Columbus College of Art and Design’s Illustration Thesis show on the 30th. I’m incredibly excited to see how people react to this body of work. If you’re in the Columbus area, stop by! 

In addition to tumblr, you can also view this series in it’s entirety at http://www.kevindeasey.com/inkscapes 

Salinisation of Rivers

With often devastating environmental impacts and high economic costs, the salinisation of rivers is a problem that is beginning to affect all of us, no matter what country we live in. Global climate change (be it natural or anthropogenicaly forced) and increasing demands for fresh water are making the issue we face worse.

Of course, river salinity can be natural. The geology of the area where a river flows may contain salt minerals such as gypsum or halite that are preferentially and easily dissolved by flowing water, or by the climate. However an increasingly large amount of the salinity in our river systems is coming from anthropogenic forces; industrial and agricultural activity, mining, and waste discharge from domestic sites.

In all of the Earth’s river systems, the additional salinity from man-made situations is threatening not just the ecosystems in the natural world that depend on the rivers for survival, but ultimately also the human race, who at the end of the scale depend on the rivers for drinking water. The additional salinity caused by our own doing is giving us an economic headache, as well as being a threat to the health of the public. Many of the chemicals used to make saline water drinkable are harmful to human health, as well as being poisonous to many plants and animals; this affects the long term food-web.

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Platform makes sure companies keep their promise to reduce deforestation

Two thirds of deforestation is driven by commercial agriculture and many of the everyday products from some of the world’s biggest companies — including Walmart and McDonalds — are produced using ingredients harvested on illegally deforested land. A growing number of these companies are committing to adjusting their supply chains to help halt the permanent damage to the global landscape, but it has so far been difficult to track whether or not these promises are being kept.

Supply Change is a new tool, created by non-profit groups including Forest Trends, which monitors the progress of businesses who have pledged to improve their sustainability – enabling companies and consumers alike to stay informed about their behaviors. READ MORE…

“The passage of time on Spire is not measured by days or nights, due to the perpetual sundown that shines upon the city. Instead, the day-night cycle is measured by when the thunderstorms, like clockwork, roll in each day. To prevent lightning from accidentally striking and quite possibly sinking any of the islands of Spire, the robotic tour guides (labeled ‘lectorbots’) scattered across the city will rise into the clouds to act as lightning rods, simultaneously recharging their batteries.

Since the Star Courier occupation of the city, strict curfews are held in place; only Star Courier personnel may travel during storms. Violators are subject to execution by public lynching.”

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Hey, I was going to post this for Earth Day the other week but decided to hold off til after launching the mini at Homecooked. Here is ‘The Natural World’ in it’s entirety, hope u enjoy. If you like you can snag the mini over here.

Sorry to upload them as spreads, tumblr’s got a 10 pic limit.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, But it Does Make Them Grow

We all know the idiom “money doesn’t grow on trees,” but who would have guessed that the inverse is actually true? According to research conducted by Northern Kentucky University, trees are significantly more likely to be planted in affluent city areas. Even within the same city, you’re far more likely to see trees lining the sidewalks where richer people live than on streets with people living in poverty.

It’s Expensive…

The thing is, it takes a lot of green to make a neighborhood green. It’s not just the planting of the trees that’s costly; it’s also the maintenance. For trees to survive in an urban environment, they usually need some love and attention. Between watering the trees, trimming its limbs and removing fallen leaves, some areas just don’t have the resources to take care of all that planting trees entails.

… Yet So Worthwhile

Trees obviously help to make a neighborhood more beautiful, but the benefits extend well beyond the aesthetic. Thanks to trees, residents breathe in cleaner air, hear less noise pollution and have shade from the summer sun. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that people who live in communities with trees enjoy a healthier life overall.

Other various studies have found that lifestyles improve for those living in neighborhoods with trees:

  • Higher rates of interaction between neighbors
  • Lower rates of fatigue
  • Less stress in residents
  • Decreased rates of childhood obesity
  • Healthier birth weights
  • Increase in housing prices

Let’s not pretend that trees are magical fix-alls for a community. Certainly, a lot of these perks are the result of correlation rather than causation, and are probably more indicative of the fact that these communities are better off financially than the trees themselves.

At the same time, the research suggests that neighborhoods’ can improve along with tree planting. By planting trees to beautify a traditionally “poor” area, the collective mentality of and about the street is boosted, too.

So Why Aren’t We Planting More Trees in Poor Neighborhoods?

Income equality is problematic in countless ways, but it really shouldn’t limit the access people have to nature. A lot of the disparity in tree planting comes down to ingrained classism. City officials – consciously and unconsciously, I’m sure – associate trees with richer streets and make plans to put more of them in similarly well-to-do streets.

Environmental Health News spoke to the director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Ray Tretheway. He says that even though the city doesn’t necessarily set out to put new trees in the more affluent areas, it always seems to shake out that way since the communities that express an interest in participating in tree programs are better off. It’s a discouraging trend that’s true in cities throughout the country.

However, regardless of certain streets’ heightened interests in planting trees, a city’s budget shouldn’t be spent disproportionately on the high-income neighborhoods. Even if it’s not as simple, city officials should ultimately be held accountable for not establishing programs that get new trees into the low income areas.

Karen Schwarz, an assistant professor of biology at NKU, hopes her research is a wakeup call to city planners by challenging the current classist approach to planting trees. If city authorities are more aware of the inequality perpetuated by where trees are placed, there’s a better chance that they’ll give more consideration to spreading the green. Rich or poor, everyone should have some extra touches of nature in their lives.