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.


May 26, 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

Mini Bonsai Sculptures

Japanese artist and illustrator Takanori Aiba, creates incredibly detailed miniature worlds, combining miniature bonsai sculptures with a vivid imagination and dedication to detail.

With a lifelong love of the miniature and detail, and from playing with bonsai and railway models as a child, Aiba created mini-stories set in imaginary worlds which he sculpted as an adult by applying his experience in illustrating 3D mazes and learning about civil construction. Much of his inspiration came from watching ants build their colonies and from Disney fantasy story-telling.

Aiba creates multiple drawings to visualize his sculptures and his technician Kazuya Murakami makes them using clay, plastic, wood, steel, resin and plaster. Each work takes months to a year to make depending on their complexity.


March 18, 2012

BC’s Endangered Forests

Cortes Island old growth appears to be the next in a series of controversial logging disputes to plague the BC coast in 2012. Most, but not all, of the trouble stems from logging of rare old growth pockets still standing, and/or the unregulated logging of the private forest land created with the two million acre (3,125 sq.mile or 8,094sq.kms) E & N Railway land grant of the 1870s. (See The Great Land Grab in Hul’qumi’num Territory,). All of it is aggravated by the remote foreign ownership of access to most of BC’s forests.

Sierra Club BC’s analysis (Restoring the Balance, January 2011) shows that logging of old-growth rainforest ecosystems has seriously compromised species habitat and carbon storage capacity. More than two million hectares (7,722 sq.mile or 20,000sq.kms) of rainforest ecosystems on BC’s coast, mostly on Vancouver Island and on the South Coast, have less than 30 per cent old growth remaining and are considered to be at high risk of species extinction. Vancouver Island alone has lost more than one million hectares of productive old growth rainforest (3,861 sq.mile or 10,000sq.kms), representing the loss of approximately 100 million tons of carbon storage.

District Lot 33

A year of passionate argument and heartfelt pleas has failed to save District Lot 33 (DL33) at Nanoose, which was given to the Snaw’naw’as First Nation as a woodlot. The move was condemned by the Forest Practices Board, which agreed with conservation activists that the forest was such a rare Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) ecosystem that it should be preserved.

Less than 1% of the CDF ecosystem remains intact. Aside from the plant communities which are ranked as “globally critically imperiled” or red-listed, there are numerous creatures which will be displaced, such as Roosevelt Elk which use the 64-hectare (0.25 sq.mile or 0.64sq.kms)  forest for winter habitat.

The DL33 logs are being purchased by TimberWest, causing activists to question TimberWest’s SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certification.

On their website, ForestEthics says the ‘Sustainable’ Forestry Initiative (SFI) = Selling False Information: “The phony SFI certification program – developed and funded by some of the biggest forest destroyers in North America – is a marketing tool for selling environmentally harmful products by falsely describing them as ‘green.’ This scam threatens our forests, communities, fresh water and wildlife.”

Local activists have mounted a petition to timber product purchasers, Don’t Buy BC’s TimberWest Hot Endangered CDF Wood Products. “TimberWest Forest Corp is buying the wood from this controversial red listed forest, in spite of their SFI certification re: biodiversity and sustainability. They say conventional logging practices are being followed, ignoring the fact this forest is red-listed and there should be no logging at all.”

Avatar Grove

The Avatar Grove and “Canada’s Gnarliest Tree” were discovered by Ancient Forest Alliance activists in December, 2009. It is home to some of the largest and strangest shaped ancient red cedars on the Island, as well as rare large Douglas fir. It has the potential to be the “Cathedral Grove of Port Renfrew” due to its ease of accessibility and giant trees. However, most of the Avatar Grove is currently under threat of logging and road development, with flagging tape strung up and paint on the biggest trees! No cutting permits have been issued yet by the Ministry of Forests and Range but the BC Government continues to state that it is not interested in protecting the grove.

McLaughlin Ridge

Now under logging by Island Timberlands, McLaughlin Ridge had been previously protected old growth forest near Port Alberni. It was classified as critical habitat for wintering deer and endangered Queen Charlotte goshawks until 2004, when the province allowed it to be removed from a tree farm licence.

Flores Island

Friends of Clayoquot Sound (FOCS) continue to sound the alarm about the logging of Flores Island where Iisaak Forest Resources is road building in preparation for a cut. FOCS reports that the cut in Clayoquot Sound is now as high as it was in 1995 while the forests remain as unprotected as they were during the days of the great 1993 blockade.

Cortes Island

The old MacMillan Bloedel private forest lands on Cortes Island have been the source of controversy since the 1980s, and throughout the land flips which have resulted in Brookfield Assets’ ownership. The community and Klahoose First Nation are close to achieving a woodlot for the Crown land, which is 80% of the forest. However, grief continues to be generated due to the 20% private forest land which rings the island.

The Wildstands Alliance has been working for four years on a variety of initiatives, from negotiation about sensitive areas with the corporate owners, to a Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island, but have now launched the Forest Witness campaign for 2012. The group Island Stance describes their activity as “to encourage civic responsibility prior to industrial logging by Island Timberlands on their private managed forest lands holdings on Cortes Island.”

Residents also have mounted a petition, Protect Cortes Island Forests, to Island Timberlands and Brookfield Assets.

The petition contains the same concerns that have been enumerated by the islanders for decades:

“We the undersigned are greatly concerned about the future of the forests of Cortes Island. Island Timberlands’ proposed industrial logging operations will have long term impacts on this threatened forest type and we therefore demand that Island Timberlands:

1) Retain all remnants of old growth forest;
2) Protect all watersheds and salmon habitat and maintain natural water flow and quality;
3) Respect all the principles and goals of the BC Sensitive Ecosystem
Inventory; and
4) Ban use of clearcut logging methods.”

Forest Witness

With Island Timberlands’ announcement to commence industrial logging on their Cortes Island forest land holdings in Jan. 2012, Cortes Island has been called to bear witness.  Called to witness the true ownership of British Columbia’s private managed forest land companies; with corporate baron Brookfield Asset Management, parent company to Island Timberlands, running roughshod through rural BC communities.

Join us. Bear witness —The Wildstands Alliance Cortes campaign

Called to witness industrial scale logging practices with inadequate ecosystem-based forest management to protect the ecological integrity of community watersheds, sensitive ecosystems and rare & endangered species on private managed forest lands.

Three years in the making, the Wildstands Alliance Cortes campaign has a solid foundation of research, community alliance initiatives and provincial partnerships established to champion a new forest ethic for British Columbia.

Delores Broten is the editor of the Watershed Sentinel, the independent voice for environmental news in British Columbia. Visit: http://www.watershedsentinel.ca/


February 24, 2012

Austria’s Submerged Park

The Green Lake near the Hochschwab Mountains, Tragoess, Styria, Austria is home to a peculiar park, one that you can walk through during the winter but must swim through in the summer.

During the winter the park is dry and the lake is very shallow, while a snow pack thickens on the mountain, but as summer temperatures melt the snow, the park gets covered by a 10m deep (32ft) crystal clear lake.

Scuba divers can sit on park benches that are completely submerged, along with small bridges, trees and bushes, providing a surreal diving experience.

February 21, 2012

Tree Ring Record Player

German artist and inventor Bartholomäus Traubeck has created an amazing record player that allows you to play the growth rings of sliced tree trunks. Created from an old record player, with a few new innovations added (including a PlayStation Eye Camera, stepper motor and a computer), Traubeck’s design allows tree lovers to ‘hear’ the sound of the inner workings of a tree.

The music is rather lovely, listen here:

January 21, 2012

Mini Pothole Gardens

London-based guerrilla pothole artist Pete Dungey, in conjunction with artist Steve Wheen, has created some amazing tiny garden installations in the cracks and crannies of Oxford’s pothole-filled streets.

With a desire to draw attention to the lack of greenspaces in urban environments, as well as highlight the growing pothole problem, the artists have created mini dirt worlds complete with a variety of plants, tennis courts, picnic blankets and even mini lawn chairs.

January 21, 2012

Imaginative Living Art

Germany-based creative artist Walter Mason develops his artwork in nature, using leaves, trees, plants and water to create impermanent but thoughtful and powerful artistic visions.

Mason also creates intriguing structural art, in contrast to his nature-based work, such as his marble tracks.

January 10, 2012

Strange Seedpod Faces

These rather unusual looking seedpods are the work of Missouri-based artist Kelsey Pike’s Sustainable Papercraft. Made from recycled paper pulp and shaped into tiny faces, the artist reminds us that each tiny pod contains seeds that will grow into living plants. The seedpod faces vary in age, gender and race, with each filled with edible organic heirloom sprouts.


“To grow, simply soak in water for an hour or so, then place on top of soil, outside or in a pot. Within five days, you should have a little crop of sprouts to eat,” explains the artists’ website.

January 10, 2012