The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.
Russian photographer Valeriy Klamm felt that foreign photojournalists who came to work in his country arrive with the pictures they want to send back home already in their head: Bleak images of a cold and desolate place where autocrats lord over drunks.
Klamm, himself, had never photographed much outside of his home city of Novosibirsk, where nearly 2 million people live on the banks of the Ob River in the middle of Siberia.
But in 2000, he started to visit these small towns, camera in hand. He began to ask his photographer friends, both foreign and local, to share images of simple life the rural Russian villages that dot the vast expanse from Europe to the Pacific Ocean.
And in 2009, Klamm started “Birthmarks on the Map,” a collective photo project and website that collects these images in one place.
Arctic permafrost is melting. It will trigger catastrophic global warming. We’re creating a northern Serengeti to stop that from happening.
Pleistocene Park is a proof of concept, a public demonstration, a landscape scale art project and a philosophy of rational co-existence between humans and nature.
Here in the most remote corner of Siberia my father, Sergey Zimov, and I are reviving the ice age “Mammoth Steppe” ecosystem. Re-wilding this vast area of the Arctic will not only create a northern Serengeti, but most importantly, today, is a vital tool to mitigate global climate change. As climate warms, permafrost here in the Arctic is starting to melt. It will soon unlock huge carbon stocks and trigger a catastrophic global warming feedback loop. Natural grasslands, maintained by numerous grazing animals, have the capacity to both slow climate warming and prevent permafrost from melting.
We’ve already starting transforming the land, with our real world prototype.
For the past 20 years my family has spent a big portion of our time and all available finances to create Pleistocene Park. Currently we have over 70 large herbivores in the Park, including cold adapted Yakutian horses, moose, musk ox, reindeer, and European bison. These animals have shown that it is possible to transform ecosystems and reestablish high productivity grasslands by reintroducing large herbivores.
We have fenced 20 square kilometers of land, built infrastructure and installed monitoring equipment. To bring animals to the Park we have mounted extreme expeditions ourselves. We traveled by small boat through the Arctic Ocean to Wrangel Island and from the Mongolian border with a 4x4 military transport truck, driving thousands of kilometers on frozen rivers through roadless wilderness.
10. I like dark hero stories like Batman and Daredevil as much as anyone else, but the Superman mythology has always been my fave and part of that is how light it is. Not that there isn’t darkness, problems, obstacles, pain, etc. - but it’s handled with a lil more humor and sense of things-turning-out-okay-in-the-end, which is equally as enjoyable to watch as the darker stuff when done well and I think they’re doing it well.
9. And even though I adore Superman, I’m glad his presence in the show is minimal. We see glimpses of him, but never a whole or clear shot. And when he’s talked about - it’s generally in the context of how his presence effects his cousin Kara. How she feels about having been sent to protect him but getting there too late, how she feels about being compared to him, how she wants to live up to his standards but also set some of her own that are just about her. Sometimes, it’s also about how James feels about him, his influence on his life, etc. It’s always grounded in how Superman/Clark’s life and mythos affects our characters and not about HIM as his own person. It would be so easy to center things around the guy we’re all more familiar with, but they don’t do that and I love it.
8. Dean Cain (who played Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), and Helen Slater (who played Supergirl in the 80′s Supergirl movie), play the adoptive earth parents of Kara. (love lil Easter Eggs like that)
7. Jay Jackson plays a news reporter on the show (he plays a news reporter on a lot of shows, it’s a fun thing to keep an eye on)!.
6. They let Kara get good and angry in one episode! This adorbs goofy young woman who is always trying to be seen in the best light by those around her and wants more than anything to just selflessly help others, was allowed to get good and pissed off and do stuff like take her anger out on a car tied to the ceiling (while her friend punched a punching bag in a similar manner), and just generally lose her temper while fighting enemies. She got to work through her anger in a combination of ways and learn better how to manage it so that she can continue to do (both of) her job(s) without scaring people in the process.
5. The theme of togetherness, and working with a team. Many superheroes are lone wolf types, but Kara talks in the second episode about how the S symbol on her and her cousin’s suits is not just their family coat of arms, but is also a symbol for their family motto (something Clark wouldn’t have necessarily known/connected with since he didn’t get to know his family), which means “Stronger Together”. Kara uses this motto to make sure her team of friends and family who are in on the secret know that they are important to her, and that she will need their support and help. I believe we could all learn from that.
4. Cat Grant, who is sometimes a foil for and sometimes a parallel to Kara, is played as a complex successful woman who often says and does some kinda problematic things, but who also really loves her son and is teaching him feminist values, and encourages Kara to stand up for herself more. She’s a mixed bag and I dig it.
3. Sister relationship! Where they love each other a lot and help each other in various ways and there’s the occasional glimpse of some normal sibling rivalry now and then, but mostly they just support one another in really awesome powerful ways. Human sis who has more experience in fighting bad guys has lots of practical advice and training stuff to offer Kara which is really neat!
2. James Olsen is black (and super hot okay) and no one is making any fuss about his having a white girlfriend.
1. Female superhero who is neither sexualized nor desexualized. She’s a cute aodrkable rom-com-ey character who is also an alien who is a badass hero type. She has crushes on boys, boys have crushes on her, but it’s all very normal stuff - she doesn’t have the so-called “weaponized femininity” thing going on nor doe she turn away from the idea of sex or romance. It’s very different from most female heroes out there.