January 27, 2014

A little press.

I got a little shout out from my old alma mater the other day. 
See the whole news letter here: http://e2.ma/message/5oknh/xiyruf#block_wnventoy

Alumnae Ariel Burgess

Climate Change is an Emperor Penguin Issue by Ariel Burgess

For James II by Ariel Burgess
LCWS Alumni Update
An Interview with Ariel Burgess

When were you at LCWS, and what is one memory you have from your time here?
'92-'01 (K-8th) I liked playing in the woods with my friends the best.

What is the bravest thing you've done since you left?
Believed, even when others said it was crazy or impossible.

What are you doing now that you love?
Working on building an art career.

What do you do to relax?
Dance to live music and hike with my dog.

Where do you live? What do you like about it?
I am living in Western MA for now, mostly by accident, but I love the people.

Who are the people (and animals) you live with?
I live with my beautiful pup, who is almost 8, and a great roommate.

What are you reading right now?
I just started reading Driven to Extinction by Dr. Richard Pearson for my current project. I am also reading The Fools Progress by Edward Abbey.

Anything else you want to share?
I am an environmental artist. Right now I’m working on a project exploring how climate change exacerbates biodiversity loss around the world. I’m interested in making science accessible to a wider audience and raising awareness about global extinction rates. The work is called We Are All In This Together

Learn more about Ariel’s art, and donate toward her current project:

January 2, 2014

Midway: a film by Chris Jordan


Both elegy and warning, Midway explores the interconnectedness of species, with the albatross on Midway as mirror of our humanity.
                                                                              -Chris Jordan

Watch the trailer, beautiful and heartbreaking. 
This needs to be seen: http://vimeo.com/25563376

January 1, 2014

Eve Ensler's TED Talk

Eve Ensler is a playwright, activist, and writer. Probably her most famous work is the Vagina Monologues. She is an advocate for raising awareness about and putting an end to violence against women and started the international V-Day, that has raised millions of dollars to educate about and stop violence towards women. She has done a number of other notable things, which I will not attempt to portray here, but I encourage you to learn more if you are curious about this strong and inspirational woman.

This is her powerful and passionate TED Talk about the similarities between our bodies, our selves, and the world around us. Young girls are raped in war as we rape our mother earth for equally meaningless and petty reasons.  

A Couple Noteworthy Kickstarters

Over the past few months I have spent just a little time (okay, a little more than a little...) on Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/) and I wanted to share two particularly interesting projects that I found there. As of today, they are both fully funded with time to spare!

The first project is called Eli Skipp weaves representations of her brother's RNA. Eli Skipp, the artist, is representing the RNA of her brother and the cane toad (Bufo marinus) with frame-loom weaving. She represents each base in the RNA (adenine, guanine, cytocine, and thymine) with different colors (red, yellow, blue, and green) in the weaving.

The comparison between her brother, a life-long lover of toads, and Bufo marinus she describes as being for private reasons, but that it is really speaking to the two halves of sides of her brother, and that they are both in fact him. This is interesting to me with respects of our connections to nature, whether you think of spirit animals, affinity with a certain type of animal, or the evolutionary memory of being one with nature. I digress.

Philosophy aside, I really appreciate this project for another reason as well. Skipp has found a really interesting way of representing scientific data through art. The RNA data simply dictates the colors in a weave. What does this do to the meaning of the weaving? Does it help people relate better to science, or does it make them more curious about it? Upon seeing the brother's RNA aside the toad's RNA will the similarities or differences be more obvious? Will it make it tangibly obvious what is the difference, or lack there of, between being a human and being a toad? I am curious to see this project completed. As a work in progress I think it has significant potential.

Skipp has other interesting projects and art as well. To find out more check out her blog and website:

The second project that I would like to share with you is called The Bicycle Diaries: My 21,000-mile Ride for the Climate. David Kroodsma has a masters degree in interdisciplinary environmental science and now works as a data journalist and a climate consultant/researcher. More to the point, Kroodsma went on a 21,000 miles journey, on a bike!

I have had dreams of doing things like this, walking to the Amazon or Alaska or Africa, but the closest I have come is various car trips collectively of about 15,000 miles (not the same). But what really sets Kroodsma's trip apart from my various adventures, and most other people's, is his mission. His strong concern about climate change fueled Kroodsma to center his trip on the idea of researching and teaching about climate change in the places he visited. He sought out interesting people and gave talks along the way, he researched how climate change affects the places we traveled through, and along the way, he gained a new perspective on how climate change is a global issue.

So, upon pedaling from San Francisco to Tierra del Fuego, what did he do? He wrote a book of course! I am jealous of his journey and inspired by his technique. What better way to connect with people, share knowledge, do the dirty work, connect with our southern neighbors who are far too often annexed by our politics, have fun, and bring back and then share his gained knowledge.

Kudos for fun and inspiring!

His next trip is going to be across Asia!