Underwater Sculptures

Renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has a series of limited edition prints, sculptures and films on display in an exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York June 30 to July 28, 2012.

Some of his underwater sculptures are true masterpieces. Using high strength pH-neutral cement and tensile stainless steel coral anchoring points; The Phoenix is the first kinetic sculpture in the MUSA Cancun collection. Based on a female form, her wings are propagated with living purple fan coral that continuously moves back and forth underwater, filtering nutrients from the water column. The fan coral is often naturally uprooted and dislodged during strong storms and this coral was from rescued fragments found on nearby sand bars. The sculpture is orientated into the prevailing current and the wings of the Phoenix appears to beat with the natural cycle of the waves.

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May 26, 2012

Shadowlands Fukushima

Shadowlands is a Greenpeace presentation of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the displaced people, and the human cost of a serious nuclear accident and features the work of award-winning photographer Robert Knoth and documentary maker Antoinette de Jong.

“The Fukushima nuclear disaster is having a dramatic impact on the environment and the lives of the people from a wide area around the nuclear plant,” explained Knoth. “We sought to document this through landscape and portrait photography, as well as interviews with people from the affected region – some of whom may never be able to return to their homes. What we found was a profound sense of loss.”

Shadowlands by Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong, in conjunction with Greenpeace.

Since March 11 2011, Greenpeace have monitored radiation contamination on the environment, food and seafood, highlighting the fact that the Japanese authorities consistently under-report the Fukushima radiation levels.

“The Fukushima nuclear disaster happened because the Japanese authorities failed to protect people, instead choosing to protect the nuclear industry. For this reason, people in Japan continue to be exposed to radiation hazards, even a year later. They have not been compensated for all they have lost, and they have not received the support they need to rebuild their lives,” explained Jan Beránek, head of Greenpeace International’s energy campaign. “This reminds us that millions of people living near reactors anywhere in the world are at risk of suffering the same consequences of a major nuclear disaster.”

Shadowlands by Robert Knoth and Antoinette de Jong, in conjunction with Greenpeace.

The Shadowlands‘ photos capture beautiful landscapes but 150,000 were evacuated from the Fukushima area, leaving behind a haunted town, full of memories but no human life.

“Nature is already taking over. In the early morning, monkeys look for food on the outskirts of villages, wild boars roam the fields, cranes majestically soar over breath-taking scenery, and there is silence,” said Knoth.

Greenpeace is calling on the Japanese government to not restart any nuclear plants and for a global phase out of inherently dangerous nuclear reactors.

Visit: www.greenpeace.org/shadowlands

May 23, 2012

Veganism for Kids

Propaganda, brainwashing and child abuse!” Who knew that children’s books could provoke such charges? My first book, That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, was internationally well-received, but also caused some controversy—garnering attacks in online parenting forums, animal agriculture trade magazines, and even from Farm Bureau CEOs.

My latest picture book Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action is on the same track…and I do admit, I revel in the public discussion. I have always been interested in the underbelly of things, and each case of opposition to my books provides me the opportunity to study the invisible forces that shape public thinking about children, food, health, and animals. Where do these concerns come from? Why the outcry over a book about veganism and not the USDA’s food pyramid?

With several years worth of case analyses under my belt, I’ve found that at the root of opposition to teaching kids about veganism and animal rights is, most simply, fear and unawareness.

We tend to shelter children from the “adult” world because we fear shattering a fragility we imagine they inherently possess. We follow this concept of childhood because we’ve inherited it from the Victorian age—not because it constitutes a universal outlook about children. Throughout history and the world, different cultures consider their children to have capabilities beyond what we acknowledge here in the West. In some cultures kids are contributing members of the community by the time they’re age four—watching siblings, pounding grain, helping collect firewood. Kids are more competent and sturdy than we think. Surprised parents have repeatedly told me that their child reacted with curiosity—not fear—when they learned about factory farming in my books. During readings, I’ve never once seen a child overwhelmed—only the adults.

Kids learn when we teach them. But today, there is a fine line between education and advertising. With constant media and technological stimulation, and corporate infiltration into nearly every aspect of life, kids are being “educated” by biased messaging hundreds of times a day—most successfully by whomever has the most money to spend.  Seventy-five percent of government subsidies, for example, go to the meat and dairy industries while less than half a percent goes to fruits and vegetables. The Milk Mustache campaign, driven by the National Milk Processor Board (administered by the USDA) spent $190 million in 1998.

Colluding industry-led campaigns like these are not just for fun. They are highly effective, causing massive increases in demand— in this case, billions of pounds of fluid milk. It is these profit-seeking systems that should draw outcry about propaganda and brainwashing, not children’s books about choices alternative to the status quo.

Today’s generation will need sharpened critical-thinking skills to navigate through this increasingly clandestine corporate world. This is one of the main reasons why I wrote Vegan Is Love and exactly why I believe kids need guidance at an early age to help them make educated choices as they mature. This book is about the personal agency of people—big and small—in creating a more actively compassionate, sustainable world. It is about what anyone can do, on any day, to help instead of harm. I believe that when kids understand the options we have with food, clothing, entertainment, and the dollars we spend, they choose wisely. But they can’t make choices if they don’t know there have any.

Today, unless you grow up to work behind the scenes or you actively seek out the truth in your youth, it is likely you’ll grow into adulthood without learning the degree of collusion, for example, between government and big pharma, agriculture, and food corporations in getting us to abide by their guidelines and consume their products. When the level of their organization and calculation becomes clear, the reality is dizzying.

The revolving door between the FDA, the USDA, the Department of Health, Monsanto, large processed food corporations, and pharmaceuticals ensures the alignment of public services and education with industry interests. From elementary grades to graduate programs, everything from school events to lectures, vending machines, textbooks, and curriculums are known to be organized for potential gain by colluding industries.

Conventional doctors receive as little as six hours of nutritional training. Nutritional degree programs accredited by the American Dietetic Association regularly receive sponsorship from corporate giants like Monsanto, the National Dairy Council, Aramark, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo. Under these circumstances, neither moral nor ethical imperatives of veganism, nor the environmental destruction and toxicity caused by eating meat and dairy may enter into mainstream nutritional knowledge. Neither will the cognitive and emotional lives of animals be much considered in the food pyramid. Under these circumstances, it becomes easy not to care.

It is clear we can’t rely on our political leaders, CEOs, or major companies to fix anything—not the environment, our food, the economy, or our health. So it is up to us, individual citizens to create the change we wish to see. To be effective, we have to invite kids to the discussion.

We can’t afford to wait for the next generation to grow up before teaching them to live consciously. With children, sugarcoating or avoiding the real consequences of our choices only hinders what they are actually capable of. And hindering their capabilities delays the potential we have to green our society, improve our health, and do best for all living things.

It is crucial for the next generation to be exposed to alternative thinking and educational experiences that will allow them to compete with mainstream opinions about health, animals, and the environment as they grow into adulthood. By borrowing practices from the tenets of veganism, we can all learn how to live actively and consciously in an authentic, efficient, and far-reaching manner. I wrote Vegan Is Love for everyone who wants to learn how.

I believe in the capabilities of children. They need but little guidance in learning to love deeply, think critically, and act responsibly. I believe nothing should get in the way of this kind of education.

Ruby Roth is an American teacher and author of the That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals and the recently published Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action

May 23, 2012

Spherovelo Kid’s Bike

The Spherovelo Bicycle is a funky, fun, pre-school first bike for kids (one to three year olds) that is a safe approach to teaching children to ride and comes with removable internal stabilizers.

The Spherovelo is designed by a British company called Early Rider, based in Henley on Thames, England, but has a distinctly west coast style aesthetic.

With a simple design, and using stabilizing balls for first time learners, it can move in any direction, and the stabilizer balls can be removed, so it becomes unstable and the child learner then develops motor skills to balance themselves and keep it upright.

May 19, 2012

Seed Bomb Fashion

New York designers Brooklyn Industries and GreenAid have a new weapon to sow wild plants everywhere with their Seed Bomb Bracelets.

Using eco-friendly twine and three clay/compost beads loaded with wildflowers, when you throw your bracelet onto some urban earthy land, you might just be spreading some happiness along with some wild urban flowers.

May 18, 2012

Vegan Toilet Paper

Most people keep politics out of the bedroom, but how about the bathroom? People For The Ethical Treatment (PETA) have come up with a rather unusual way to grab people’s attention when they are sitting on the toilet. The often controversial animal rights’ organization has created an anti-meat toilet paper designed to raise awareness about the reality of meat production.

“Because of the filthy conditions on factory farms and the fact that slaughterhouse floors and fishing boats are often contaminated with feces, blood, and vomit, a great deal of meat is tainted with dangerous intestinal bacteria by the time it reaches the family dinner table,” explains PETA of their toilet paper.

PETA donates the toilet paper to communities and even government offices that are running low on paper and/or maybe they neglected to adequately budget for toilet paper in their yearly finances.

May 17, 2012

The Rainbow Machine

The Rainbow, a creation by artist and professor Michael Jones McKean, literally bathes The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, in Omaha, Nebraska in a shower of natural color.

In an exhibit entitled The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms Project. The human made rainbow illuminates the Bemis Center twice per day for 20 minutes, using rainwater harvested using expertise and hardware provided by Lindsay Corporation and Watertronics. McKean’s work emphasizes “….the placeless, celebratory, seductive and elusive qualities of Mother Nature’s spectacular rainbow”.

The rainbow is created using captured stormwater that is filtered and stored in six above-ground, 10,500 gallon (39,750 liter) water tanks. A 60hp (45kW) pump, powered by renewable energy, pressurizes the water in nine nozzles mounted to the 20,000sq.ft. (1,860sq.m) roof. The rainbow itself, dependent upon the angle of the sun and the weather conditions, can be seen from over 1000ft (330m) away, or from very  close up.

May 17, 2012