• Gowanus Canal Water Vacuum

    Jerko, the Water Vaccuum is a converted house boat that is outfitted with a floating wetland to clean the toxic gowanus canal which was recently designed as a super fund site.

    from Columbia Water Center:
    According to the EPA, the Gowanus Canal was “the repository of untreated industrial wastes, raw sewage, and surface water runoff for decades, causing it to become one of New York’s most polluted waterways” and that

    “Numerous sampling events have shown the sediments in the Gowanus Canal to be contaminated with a variety of pollutants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic contaminants (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and metals. PAH concentrations were found to be as high as 45,000 milligrams per kilogram (4.5%) and the contamination was found to traverse the entire length of the canal. Many of the detected contaminants are known carcinogens.”

    Or, more tersely, “The Canal has been heavily contaminated throughout its existence. No environmental remediation has been undertaken to date.”

    from Columbia Water Center via Green Home NYC

  • Turtle People

    Saving turtle nests from the Gulf Oil Spill was beyond the scope of any federal or local agency so they solicited the help of “turtle people”. Jon Mooallem, from the NYtimes, dives into the story and characters behind one of the largest rescue and environmental relocation projects attempted, all with the help of UPS and NASA.
    from nytimes magazine.

  • Eco Art Tech release Indeterminate Hikes

    Christine Nadir + Cary Peppermint just launched a new Android App to explore urban wilderness in a mobile app the guides you to ” direct you to a series of Scenic Vistas, where you will have the opportunity to contemplate nature or wildness in a globalized, urban space and the overlapping terrains of psychological and environmental ecologies. At each Scenic Vista you are encouraged (1) to take 30 mindful breaths or a 5-minute break, and (2) after this meditative moment, capture and upload an image of your ecological experience to the IH website with your Smartphone.
    You can download the app or head to their Conflux performance on Saturday 9 october 2pm
    east village, corner of Lafayette & Astor Place.

  • Chicken Nugget Paste

    This is the paste that is half way through the process of turning chickens into chicken nuggets.

    “Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve—bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

    There’s more: because it’s crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.”
    Early Onset of the Night via gizmodo ->

  • prozac crust(n)acean

    Antidepressants in the water are making shrimp suicidal.

    “Exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine [Prozac] causes shrimp to radically alter their behavior. While normal shrimp are more likely to avoid swimming towards light because it’s often associated with prey like birds or fishermen, those exposed to fluoxetine [Prozac] become five times more likely to swim towards light than away from it. That change in behavior places them in harm’s way, and if enough shrimp are exposed to the antidepressant the entire population could be at risk.” Read more here…

    Our bodies don’t fully absorb all the drugs we take, and what remains goes down the toilet and out to sea.

    This chart compares doped (“Infected”/red) shrimp compared to drug-free shrimp (“Control”/blue). “Phototaxis” and “Geotaxis” scores just mean how likely these shrimp are to float higher to the surface, thereby endangering their own lives.

    Read the full-length report: Aquatic Toxicology.

  • iceburgs find new home

    Iceburgs: multipurpose architectural placeholders until developers resurrect their projects.

    “With the economy on hold, there are lots of good (and some bad) construction projects currently frozen mid-construction, leaving a glaring rip in the urban fabric. As Woods Bagot New York Principal Jeffrey Holmes traveled to work every day, he contemplated these voids and wondered what could be done to make them more attractive and useful until developers resumed their projects. What he came up with is an urban ‘Iceberg‘ made of recycled and recyclable materials that could be easily installed and would serve as a temporary and flexible space for any number of uses.”

    More: Inhabitat & Bustler.

  • Sleeping Beauty on the Tracks

    Sleeping Beauty on the Tracks

    The informal use of Berlin’s Anhalter Bahnhof since the opening of the Berlin Wall is, or was, a unique example of wild urban green space appropriation ­– an inner-city oasis for dog owners, (nature) lovers, sporty types, children and petty criminals. Since the end of WWII, fields of tansies, wild carrot and sweet clover have invaded the vast patchwork of cobblestones and crumbling railroad tracks now known as the Gleisdreieck. Dewberry and poplar shoots competed for space on a mountain of rubble in the northeast corner of the lot. Carved into the mountain’s base stood a fortress of half-rotten pressboard planks, folding chairs and other garbage found on site. Suspended in the branches of a lone elm fifty meters away, a rival fort watched out over the expanse of green concrete and bramble blossoms. Temporary projects included beach volleyball at one end, an impromptu driving range at the other, and intercultural community garden nestled between wild locust and birch trees. The rural meadows and urban forests between Potsdamer Platz and Südkreuz were a sprawling invitation to explore and get lost – a new fucking wilderness obscured by pavement and daily city life, devoid of swing sets or safety. For local residents and more than 400 plant and fern species, about a third of Berlin’s total flora, and the millions of insects, small mammals and birds that shared that biocoenosis, to call the abandoned railway depot a brownfield would be missing the point. Sleeping Beauty is more appropriate for those that loved her. But now she awakens to a new reality.


Entering the 21st century, we’re in the midst of a fast decline in wilderness and viable ecosystems. In order to maintain sanity when words like sustainability and wilderness have been hijacked, lets envision a new climate of thought and redefine wilderness.



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