Tuesday, February 15, 2011

it's the end of the 'world'

as we know it,
and I feel fine.

No, I don't mean the end of the larger one we all inhabit but I must admit it did make me smile a few weeks ago when I read that the 'World Islands' in Dubai are showing signs of erosion and deterioration and are gradually falling back into the sea. The islands, 70% of which have been sold at enormous prices as the ultimate in luxury retreats, were created from dredged sand which is now dissolving back to whence it came. It's depressing to understand just how much of the real world's resources are being wasted to prop up the vanity of the super-rich so I take comfort where I can and this was a good one.

On the other hand, there are continuing developments in applied sciences that could make the world a better place and begin healing some of the damage that's already been done. One particular example was unveiled this week in Boston where artificial trees made of recycled plastic from drink bottles won the SHIFTboston urban intervention contest. We all agree trees are wonderful but it's not possible to grow enough of them in our cities to clean the air. The TREEPOD systems are capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen. Their design is based not just on regular trees but on the human lung. The giant white, translucent trees can be installed among existing trees or on their own and at night they can light up in a bright array of colors. Anything that can help solve two essential problems at once that's also beautiful gets my vote.

One of my favorite artists in the world today is Andy Goldsworthy who works entirely with the materials nature supplies. He once said, "I enjoy working in a quiet and subversive way":

Me too ♡


MRMacrum said...

Damn I like your blog.

Thank You

PS, I smiled also when I heard about those islands sinking back into the sea.

jams o donnell said...

Can't say I am sorry about events in Dubai!

As for those Treepods, I had never heard of them before. They look amazing!

Nancy said...

Wow, I love Andy Goldsworthy's work! Thanks for sharing that video - I'm off on the right foot this morning.

The plastic trees are amazing! We are really starting to get serious about our earth - serious and innovative. There is hope.

Francis Hunt said...

Golf courses in Spain need as much water to maintain them as a middling sized town. But, of course, there are enough rich idiots who want to play golf at 35°C with zero chance of rain to make the whole thing "economically" worth while.

Plastic tree pods for everybody I say!

Kay said...

I like this post. Thanks so much for the info! The video is beautiful.

Randal Graves said...

What do we do once those luminous trees achieve sentience and we're stuck fending off our destruction at the hands of some biomechanical army of Triffids?

marja-leena said...

I, too, smiled at the thought of those islands sinking! Andy Goldsworthy's work, especially his little 'islands' are scuh a contrast to those first ones - wow! I love his work, never get tired of viewing his videos. As for those plastic trees, I'm of two minds - sure, recycling or upcycling plastic bottles is a good thing but I'd rather we didn't have them in the first place. They seem so alien after looking at Goldsworthy.

susan said...

mrmacrum - Thanks. I like yours too.

The only one inhabited is Greenland and that's by the King of Dubai :-)

jams - Me neither.

The treepods do look cool at least as an interim measure.

nancy - He is a wonderful artist.

The idea of plastic tree does sound a bit weird but plastic's not going away for a while and needs must.

francis - It's unbelievable just how wasteful golf courses are - and poisonous too. Those guys should be made to play on a plastic course without water.

kay - Glad you enjoyed it.

randal - Now you've really given me something to look forward to :-)

marja-leena - I often go back to look at his work too. The problem we have now and will have for a long time is in getting rid of the plastic that's already been made. If they can find interim good uses for the stuff I'll try to be positive about it.

La Belette Rouge said...

I adore Andrew Goldsworthy. His work is indeed subversive. I hate to admit that I want to go to Dubai once before the ocean reclaims it. Maybe Dubai will be the Avalon/Lumeria of the 3000's.;-)

TheCunningRunt said...

I find the intentional transience of much of Goldsworthy's art to have so much more integrity than Dubai's dismal dissolution. But then, that's just me.

Great post and cool video; I've always liked Mr. G's stuff!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Amazing food for thought, Susan.

And to think I once assumed I would only see trees like that at contemporary art museums!

Great post. Sending good wishes to you and Numb. (and Crow)

Linda said...

adore those amazing 'trees' ... and i too rejoiced at the news they were being eaten by the sea tho you wonder what they expected to happen?? the amazing work of Goldsworthy is beautiful stuff, almost ethereal in it's earthiness, if that makes any sense.....loved it, thanks for sharing yet again, more amazing stuff !! xxx

Liberality said...

Well those are some mighty fancy trees. I hope they are as helpful as advertised. They do look like magic.

Gary said...

Great post! "The End of the World" is done well by Newfoundland band Great Big Sea too (but you'd know that by now as Maritimers).

Those trees are amazing.

And the uber rich should feel ashamed in today's world and give most of it away, remaining humbly 'very very rich'.

A friend of ours was with an uber rich friend of his recently, who was bemoaning how hard it is to have fun with your money now, because all the assholes just glare at you. Good sign...

susan said...

belette - There's in ineffable elegance to his work I've never seen surpassed. Dubai doesn't attract me as much as wishing I'd been able to see Egypt in the 20's or two weeks ago. Perhaps Dubai will become legend as Atlantean overreach :-)

cr - There's a magnificence in his ability to participate so fully in the ephemeral transmutations of nature. It doesn't surprise me you relate to him.

pagan sphinx - The treepods really are an elegant concept, aren't they?

Glad you enjoyed it and best wishes to you too.

linda - The trees are neat and I'm happy you enjoyed seeing them. The island story reminded me of the old biblical reference to what happens to houses built on sand :-)

liberality - I can't help but wonder too about how well they'd work in reality but it is a good idea. We could all use some good magic.

susan said...

gary - Great to see you've been by to visit. I wrote replies last night but your showed up after I'd posted and closed up. It gets late early out here.

No, I hadn't heard of Great Big Sea but did go to check out their web site. For the past decade I may as well be living on Mars insofar as getting acquainted with the local scene is concerned.

Yes, the rich need to grow up.

gfid said...

Dubai - gag! love the trees, and the shoo-ing of the japanese whale 'research' ships. surely the japanese aren't the only ones doing this, though.

susan said...

gfid - Agreed :-) The Japanese whaling (oops, research) fleet has definitely been the biggest in many years although Icelanders and Eskimos do so too. I'm not sure about others.

Lisa said...

Those Treepods are brilliant. There are so many creative problem solvers on this planet if only they can get a foot in the corporate run worlds.

Anonymous said...

I love the juxtaposition of technology that provides little benefit (the sinking home) and technology that improves our lives. We humans do know how to put our creative minds to good use, but sadly, too many of us just want glitz, glamour and conspicuous consumption. Great post and awesome photos. Love those trees!

susan said...

lisa - If only we could maroon all the corporate types on the islands in Dubai :-)

snoring dog - Most people are fine but money has a way of corrupting too many. I'm glad you liked the post and thanks very much for visiting.