28 November 2008

Buy Nothing Day - Give the Earth a Break

Buy Nothing Day
is a halt from converting the earth into a junkspace, whilst eyeing for spare planets to exploit. Unravelling our own biosphere on Earth and replacing it with artifacts sprawling over the globe: human biomes. The anthropocene, a geological age of our own making might engineer us out of a place hospitable to life - as we know it. The ecological destruction and the mass consumption of Homo consumes is threatening the survival of all humans and life. Meanwhile other species are being pushed off the planet, as 'we' already consume beyond the capacity of this planet. The externalities are generously socialised for all to come.

Homo consumens' habitat

The corner store is eaten by shopping streets, they are in turn swallowed by 'towns', shopping towns are gobbled up by malls. The storage space in Mc Mansions' Bland-burbia is never enough. The combustion vehicles bloat in size to transport the cargo. Mega-cities burst at the seams. "The world in which we were trapped is in fact a shopping mall..." The privatised artificial buyo-sphere controls 'appropriate behaviour' via CCTV, 'advertising' (unsolicited messaging), security personnel and urban 'design'. Space for citizens and human beings shrinks rapidly. Niches get occupied by commercialised 'recreational activities'. "In the end, there will be little else for us to do but shop".

"If space-junk is the human debris that litters the universe, junk-space is the residue (hu) mankind leaves on the planet’ The virus ascribed to junkspace is in fact the virus of shopping itself; which, like Disneyfication, gradually spreads like a toxic moss across the known universe. "

'Shop till you drop' - Having or living?
Having outsourced self-management and creativity to infotainment and traditional culture, it's an easy ride. Just follow the 'must have', 'must do', 'must go', 'must eat' etc track like a zombie. Benchmark 'identity' via consumption patterns. Become an array of designer labels and body hacks. Jump start the casino machinery. The pathological addiction to shopping, is usually accompanied by other forms of addictive consumption.
Wasting one's life, 'killing time' leaves a void amongst all the stuff. "There is a certain sickness in this drive for ever-increasing consumption and the danger is that, by being filled with a need for consumption, the person does not really solve the problem of inner passivity, of inner vacuity, of anxiety, of being depressed -- because life in some way doesn't make sense."

Give the earth and yourself a rest – Buy Nothing!
Immerse yourself in Life!

Fredric Jameson, Future City, New Left Review 21, May-June 2003
Rem Koolhaas, Junkspace, OMA

Erich Fromm , On Being Human- Homo Consumens, 1997
The photographic art of Chris Jordan depicts Grand Canyons of our rubbish on this planet.

Buy Nothing Day, UK
Video, Manufactured Landscapes
Video, Piggy consumes the earth
Affluenza and downshifting in Australia
, Wikipedia

The Story of STUFF, Free Range Studios, a teaser:

26 November 2008

Managing Busy Beach Environments

Benidorm in Spain went from a small fishing village "formed by two crescents of fine golden sand" to a 2.6 million tourists a year high-rise beach - "the Dubai of Europe". Intensifying alcohol- fuelled festivities in a mass tourism location distracted visitors that might have sought the uniqueness of a place.
Benidorm now wants to turn around and secure just this one-off status by seeking to protect and promote its world cultural and natural heritage. To become a Unesco World Heritage Site one has to clean up their act, so they drafted a 73-article code of conduct for beach users:

€1,000 ( 2,011.50 AUD) Bathing under "red flag" conditions
€750 Fishing (€1,100 with a harpoon)
€1,100 For Bonfires
€250 Bringing glass containers on the beach (€750 if that container breaks)
€250 Taking animals on the beach
€300 Drinking alcohol, selling merchandise (conducting outdoor businesses)
€150 Urinating or defecating in sea or sand
€120 (£102) Playing ball and paddle games outside authorised areas
€150 Early staking-out of a prime spot on the beach for later use
€750 Using the beach (for a party, sex, stroll) from midnight to 7am

Source: The Independent

24 November 2008

Manly Beach Ocean Care Day Animation, 2008

Ocean Care Day - every day!
Thanks for the animation to dotAtelier

20 November 2008

Power and Attention Hogs in Social Spaces in Manly

Most food & drink places and many shops in Manly have one LCD (liquid-crystal display) TV or clad most of their walls with these high-definition television (HDTV) displays. They are switched on for the length of the trading day/night. Not only are they ugly and put the customer in a passive position, of having to gobble up the unsolicited content (spam), but they also interfere with social communication.

Additionally, the glaring walls gobble up enormous amounts of energy, adding to Australia's emissions. According to the EPA/US ," the more than 275 million TVs in this country consume over 50 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. That’s equivalent to the output of more than 10 coal-fired power plants"
"The gas, widely used in the manufacture of flat screen TVs, is estimated to be 17,000 times as powerful as carbon dioxide."

Make choices:
Choose spam and emission - free spaces
Ask to have it turned off.
Turn it off yourself.

Image: Stencil art in public spaces of a person who did not outsource their creativity to TV.

19 November 2008

More Salmonella 'mysteries' on the Northern Beaches

'Mystery' has struck again. Sand contaminated with Samonella paratyphi B var java was found again on the Northern Beaches playgrounds. "Hitchcock Park at Avalon and Winnererremy Bay at Mona Vale on the Northern Beaches have been fenced off for the second time this year, while a third South Avalon playground has not re-opened since May". Replacing (some) of the sand did not work. The bug, linked to exotic fish/pets can cause serious illness.

In pet-fanatic Manly off leash dogs mingle in playgrounds and on the beaches with toddlers. Apart from community hygiene standards and enforcements, it does not instill confidence that possible bio hazards could also turn out to be 'mysteries' for half a year or more...
Salmonella paratyphi bio var java contaminated grounds May 2008

02 November 2008

Manly Beach Drift "wood" - November

A summary of what has washed onto the shore or beach through the winds, tides, waves or human action. Marine debris, flora and fauna, dead or alive:

Dead crickets (Gryllidae), along the entire beach, a thick layer 1 to 2 m wide of dead insects. Seagulls were feasting on some of them. There was talk of aerial spraying locust in Sth NSW/North Victoria. Bees in Victoria were protected from the pesticides. Any connection? A dead Petrel. Thick clumps of kelp. Some blue bottles 021108

Rabbit poisoning (sodium monofluoroacetate?) is taking place in the Mona Vale Beach area. An unusual amount of dead birds, fish and insects were observed there. (Manly Daily, 041108, p2) Just a reminder, there were unusual numbers of dead fish (moray eel) at Manly Beach (081008), a dead albatross (021008). There seems to be no monitoring body of these mass ecological occurrences or possible eutrophication. It will be a different 'silent night' without the chirping of the many crickets.
Today, many translucent jellyfish, (10-15 cm round), a nice large shark egg case, maturing kelp and sea gulls and their young all along the beach. 0411108

Many glass-like translucent jelly-blobs, one had rusty/ red tentacles. 5 dead black seabirds, more kelp, fresh large blue bottles. Many plastic lighters. At the rocks off Queenscliff Rockpool, one rock had been cleared of all the oysters. Right in the run off from all the houses and toxic Manly lagoon. Yum! 051108

Post weekend frenzy: 8 dead shearwaters, possibly short-tailed shearwaters. No, it was not starvation and exhaustion' which kills them but 'fishing'. One had been trapped by a fishing hook of a human being, it had a long nylon string tangling out of it's beak. Is there any monitoring body for the eradication of wildlife in this biome? A marine wildlife annual database?
Fishing took place just there at Queenscliff Rockpools and at the weekend the ocean was full of boats in full take-mode. The multiple fishing rods on the busy beach are a hazard to people and wildlife. Busy urban coastal areas must be free of 'recreational taking' and sharing of their dangerous debris.
One dead Weedy Seadragon (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus), a lot of kelp, many sepia hulls and very large bluebottles. Full "disposable" nappies were generously left behind. The usual plastic 'convenience' food, drink and toys. Giant sand castles, are being built by large optimistic families, simulating rapid and extreme climate change. 101108 Image: Bird hanging by long nylon string out of its beak.

Polystyrene, the white crumbly plastic that does not biodegrade in various chunks and pebbles. Many plastic dummies and the usual plastic bottles and plastic tops galore. A lot of 'gift wrapping', long enough to entangle any marine creature. A lot of dead winged insects and lost mole crickets.
A lot of grey round pumice again and brownish foam that sits on the sand for a long time. The surf is lapping at the cement stairs.
There is light pollution emanating from new street lights, starting at North Steyne and continuing along half of the beach. One of the mega-lights even stays on all day. Turning the dark sky and the Pacific into an overpowering glare. So much spare energy, blasting emissions like there is no tomorrow. For beach/promenade users it is unpleasant, for birds and insects deadly. Residents living in this 'sport-light' ambiance must be blinded. 141108

A few Crested Terns (Sterna bergii) mingling amongst the Silver Gulls (Larus novaehollandiae), a sure sign for hotter days to come. A fluffy thing, called dog walked along the beach illegally in bright daylight.
The disappearance of the horizon
- hardly a day goes by where there is an absence of toxic diesel spewing container ships hovering until they can enter the jammed harbour to spill their o.s. commodities on to hungry consumers. More frequent ships increase the risk of oil or chemical spills, as well as exotic marine pests. They are not just clutter on the horizon of a beautiful beach, but a health hazard to all coastal and harbour residents and wildlife. 171108

Another dead moray eel, large blue bottles and many dead bees and other winged insects. 181108

Large amounts of leaf litter, mostly Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus). Either the rain washed them in to the ocean or some considerate person blew them against the wind with their debis blower. A Magpie checked the litter out. Stunning rainbows. 201108

A cold and rainy day. Sub-urbia washed its load onto the beach, the run-off looked like a mix of dark dust, gum leaves, speckled with jacaranda and bougainvillea flowers. Contractors and residents blow the debris of the 'nature strip' into the common gutter. The unwanted of blandburbia is transported via a million noisy petrol powered machines into Manly Beach, the Pacific. There were also many cigarette butts. A chucked unwanted lobster head, full nappies again. A racing beach buggy did not improve the air.Floating in the water a bright plastic buoy, with a couple of long strong ropes and a heavy lead/metal weight attached to one of the ropes. The inscriptions read:'MANLY JLSC 'Nippers''. Turning the beach into an event zone and leaving potentially deadly junk floating for marine mammals to get entangled in can't be kid's fun or delight any sponsors. Floating plastic debris and the possiblility of entanglement does not seem to be in the spirit of "Ocean Care" or good PR for Manly beach. 231108

A fresh smell today of salt, fresh fish and kelp. Huge waves and golden sand. 241108
Many plastic bags, full nappies and a not so fresh smell 251108

Grass stars (inflorescences of Spinifex sericeus) rolling along the beach looking for suitable real estate to bind the sand, stabilising against coming turbulences. Human stampedes limit this colonizing grass in its dune-binding function. A large variety of different kelps today.
Many non-biodegradable balloons sloshing along the beach. Balloons have become a popular way of advertising one's business, as well as staging events and parties. There they are - in all colours, maybe ending up in the intestines of a whale. Later to be found stranded and more than three square feet of plastic would have to be removed from it's bowl.
sharp and dangerous pieces of glass of all colours along the beach. Each bottle taking one million years to break down. The disposable diapers were still there - in 450 years they might be gone. The mono filament fishing line tangled around Queenscliff Rock Pool grids will take 600 years to disappear. Many plastic bags. There is a lot of polystyrene and garbage trapped in between the rocks at that location. So much for ocean dumping for one day 261108
> Drift "wood" December 2008