Art not oil

'We Love Life' - Ana Carrizosa

Art not Oil is a true portrait of an Oil Company

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Annunci

RECREATING OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRES

Back in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the International Congress of Modern Architecture, guided by Le Corbusier, held a series of conferences ending in a cruise from Marseilles to Athens, which produced the legendary Athens Charter, inspired by Le Corbusier’s dream of ‘radiant cities’ with high-rise towers in vast urban parks, with elevated freeways and separate zones for living, recreation and work. Traditional streetscapes and architecture were eliminated to make way for standardized architecture and industrial technology. Out with the old ! In with the new ! The consequences were tragic, and even today, 40 years after the architectural world realized its error, we still live with the consequences. This May, the pendulum swung. Several hundred architects, developers and public officials met in Charleston, South Carolina for the fourth annual Congress of the New Urbanism, which ended in the adoption of a new Charter – the antithesis of the 1933 Athens Charter. It calls for a return to traditional urban centres and towns, reconfiguring the sprawling suburbs to make real neighbourhoods, creating communities designed for pedestrians, bicycles and transit, where streets, squares and greens have a real sense of place. Urban infill is seen as preferable to peripheral expansion, while non-contiguous growth outside urban boundaries should be in “towns and villages with their own urban edges, planned for a jobs/housing balance, not as bedroom suburbs”. Here on Vancouver Island, we live with many sprawling suburbs and car-dominated shopping malls. How do we begin to bring back a sense of place, community and charm ? In James Bay, the Five Corners shopping centre where Thrifty Foods is located is the natural heart of James Bay, a community of 12,000 people. Right now, it is completely dominated by cars, and people are really secondary. What would it take to redesign it to make it a people-friendly market square ? These are just ideas, but……Phase out most of the parking from in front of Thrifty’s, and close off Simcoe St where it comes in from the west, leaving a narrow route for emergency vehicles. This creates a large pedestrian urban square. Plant trees, install a bandstand, make space for dancing, and encourage cafes to spill out into the square. To create a sense of entry, build a large arch across Simcoe St to the west with residences built inside the arch above the street, to pay for construction. Build two more arches on Menzies, one to the north and one to the south, again with internal residences, and create raised bottleneck crosswalks to slow the traffic moving along Menzies and Toronto Streets. What about parking ? Thrifty’s already offers a home delivery service. Expand this by providing bicycle carts, enabling people to tow their shopping home (just started in Totnes, South Devon, UK). Parking could be metered to discourage lazy use, and phased out over five years as people adjusted to the new shopping habits. A community minibus circling the James Bay streets with space for groceries and supplies would help elderly people come to terms with the loss of parking. Create some new parking at the blocked off end of Simcoe St; there may be other parking spaces which a detailed walkabout would reveal. Yes, there would be initial inconvenience, as people adjusted to the new shopping habits. But there would also be a beautiful market square where people could gather, take coffee, listen to music, watch their children play, and enjoy open air art displays under the shade of the trees, and evening concerts. It is a vision we really have to hold onto, while we consider the loss of the parking. The biggest difficulty, apart from making the transition away from easy parking, would be getting all the owners, planners, engineers, councillors and community representatives around the same table to work out a joint agreement. There would be a hundred objections, any one of which could kill the idea if the larger vision was forgotten. Thrifty’s might be able to open up their fresh produce section to spill out into the market square. New retail shops might decide to fill in the spaces when they realized what a wonderful space for people, culture and happenings the whole place was becoming. It is such an enticing possibility. The next time you visit your corner store or neighbourhood centre, take a good look around. Could it be redesigned too, to make it a place for gathering, street markets and music ? And the suburbs – could neighbourhood centres be created out of nothing by choosing a location where the transit routes meet, narrowing the streets, rezoning the nearby properties for commercial and retail, and installing a village green, with trees and a pond ? It is all in the realm of the possible. Have a great summer !

Guy Dauncey

http://www.earthfuture.com/econews/back_issues/96-07.asp

A Practical Model:

Germany_Friburg_Vauban Quartier_Architect: Rolf Disch

Awaiting the Obama, Wen Climate Effect

Dozens of journalists, diplomats and other observers crowded the front of the Bella Center, awaiting the arrival of limos and Mercedes and vans bringing the U.S. president and other world leaders here. On TV panels around the center, people watched Air Force One touch down on Danish soil.

Another scrum of reporters was focused on the central convention offices, where the Danish delegation was holding court, coordinating the drafting of a political text for leaders to agree on as the outcome for the climate conference.

US President Barack Obama arrives at Copenhagen Airport for the climate conference Friday. (AP Photo/Jens Dige/POLFOTO)

A coughing and weary Connie Hedegaard, the former Danish climate minister who was convention president and is leading informal talks, swept past reporters on the way in and later toward arriving delegations. The formal plenary was just about to begin…

Now, the conference is in the hands of President Barack Obama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a handful of other heads of state who have been trying to hammer out the broad outlines of a global climate rescue plan.

“Most of the leaders are still working out to produce a meaningful agreement to be adopted,” Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kazuo Kodama told reporters this morning. He said Japan still hopes for an agreement that would include specific greenhouse gas cuts “by all major countries,” but Japan’s commitment is conditional — dependent upon fair, ambitious and comprehensive terms for the post-2012 Kyoto Protocol framework.

Observers tell us the leaders are trying to put together a collective goal for the major industrial nations that gets carbon emissions reduction targets to 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 — the level that the U.N. expert scientific panel has said is necessary to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said progress was being held back by China.

As of 2007 they stood only 4 percent below 1990 levels, and the rest of the world continued pumping out more heat-trapping gases mainly from fossil fuels. Global emissions have grown 23 percent this decade. In 2008 almost three-quarters of the increase came from China. Other big contributors were India, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, Iran and Mexico.

Right now the 40 industrialized nations have pledged cuts totaling somewhere in the mid-teens, but that assumes the best-case scenarios and no loopholes. A leaked U.N. document Thursday said the total of those pledges will probably not prevent warming of 3 degrees Celsius.

It’s not earth-shattering progress, but better than a total collapse of the talks, observers say.

John Heilprin covers the United Nations and has reported on climate for AP since January 2001.

Allarme rosso : il ghiaccio fonde!

THE ICE IS MELTING – TURN ON YOUR RED LIGHT

Alerte Rouge – La glace fond

SevenMeters.net est une manifestation qui utilise une lumière clignotante rouge , pour symboliser le fait que nous allons au devant d’une catastrophe climatique. Ainsi que nos politiciens ( et ceux qui les élysent ) ne font pas le nécessaire pour respecter les traités sur le réchauffement climatique.

7 Mètres (seven meters) est la hauteur à laquelle montera l’eau si la totalité de la banquise du Groenland fond.

24 kilometres de lumières clignotante rouges seront fixées à 7mètres de hauteur dans les rues de Copenhague pendant le sommet climatique de l’ONU en décembre 2009 qui se déroulera à Copenhague, nous voulons ainsi envoyer un message visuel concernant les consequences énormes que nos actions auront à long terme

Pour connaitre plus : http://sevenmeters.net

Land Art Generator

Tre mappe-studio come rappresentazione delle problematiche e delle possibili strategie di soluzione per limare la dipendenza da fonti di energia fossili e le loro conseguenti emissioni in anidride carbonica. Un buon esercizio di quantificazione, ma resta come questione sospesa l’indubbia necessità di ridurre i consumi a livello globale.

| landartgenerator.org |
| landartgenerator.org |
| landartgenerator.org |

Il sole e i fiumi dell’Africa aiuteranno l’Europa?

Nelle scorse settimane sono stati lanciati due grandi progetti per la produzione di energia. Uno si propone di creare la più grande azienda al mondo per produzione di energia solare, l’altra vuole creare la più grande diga del pianeta per l’energia idroelettrica. Sebbene entrambi i progetti siano collocati in Africa, il loro obiettivo è esportare energia elettrica in Europa. L’Independent valuta i pro e i contro dei due ambiziosi progetti che, secondo molti critici, rievocano i furti di risorse di stampo coloniale.

Dove?
Desertec, il progetto di energia solare, è studiato per catturare il sole in Marocco e/o nel Sahara algerino, mentre il piano idroelettrico è basato sulla costruzione di una diga sul fiume Congo. L’elemento che hanno in comune i due progetti è l’intenzione di esportare la maggior parte dell’energia prodotta in questi paesi poveri verso economie più sviluppate. Nel caso del Sahara verso l’Europa meridionale, mentre per la centrale in Congo verso il Sudafrica, nella regione mineraria della Repubblica democratica del Congo (Rdc) e, ancora un volta, in Europa.

Come funzioneranno?
Gli ideatori del progetto Desertec mettono in evidenza che l’energia solare che interessa il Sahara nell’arco di sei ore potrebbe soddisfare il fabbisogno energetico annuo dell’Europa. Ma la difficoltà nel catturare, immagazzinare e trasferire questa elettricità rende più ipotizzabile un progetto in grado di fornire il 15 per cento delle necessità energetiche europee. Il progetto della diga Inga nella Rdc prevede di produrre 40mila Mw, cioè il doppio della capacità della centrale idroelettrica cinese delle Tre gole, e più dell’energia prodotta dall’intero Sudafrica. Nel Sahara tutto ciò sarà fatto attraverso una nuova tecnologia (concentrated solar power – Csp), rappresentata da un gran numero di specchi che raccoglieranno il calore necessario a riscaldare l’acqua e a far girare le turbine. L’elettricità prodotta sarà trasportata attraverso dei cavi sul fondo del Mediterraneo in direzione dell’Europa. Nel caso del Congo, il progetto prevede la possibilità di utilizzare la grande forza generata dalle cascate Inga. Anche in questo caso, dei cavi porteranno l’elettricità in Sudafrica, in Nigeria, in Egitto e nell’Europa meridionale.

Quanto costeranno?
Il progetto Desertec costerà 400 miliardi di euro, mentre la spesa per la centrale Inga dovrebbe essere intorno agli 80 miliardi di dollari – sempre che i progetti rispettino i budget iniziali previsti. I principali finanziatori del progetto nel Sahara sono una dozzina di imprese finanziarie e industriali, in particolar modo tedesche come la Siemens. Il progetto presenta molti rischi, che vanno dai fattori politici all’instabilità del Maghreb o al conflitto nella Rdc. A questi fattori si devono poi aggiungere le tempeste del deserto e il costo per l’acqua necessaria a pulire i pannelli solari e per il funzionamento delle turbine.

Perché economie sviluppate comprano energia nel terzo mondo?
La ragione più semplice è che in Europa non ci sono equivalenti dell’energia solare del Sahara o delle acque tumultuose delle cascate Inga. Un altro aspetto è la difficoltà dei governi e degli imprenditori privati nel creare dei grandi progetti di energia rinnovabile in Europa. Alcuni paesi, come il Portogallo, hanno fatto progressi nella costruzione di turbine eoliche, ma altri come il Regno Unito si scontrano con la resistenza locale ai grandi progetti. Il Sahara invece offre il vantaggio di essere una regione piuttosto vicina all’Europa, con una scarsa popolazione e con una forte esposizione solare.

Quali saranno i vantaggi per l’Europa?
In Europa il problema energetico è di importanza strategica. Molti governi stanno cercando i modi per ridurre la loro dipendenza dal gas russo, che secondo alcuni fornisce troppo potere a Mosca. Molte amministrazioni stanno perseguendo la strada del nucleare, ma spesso senza una chiara definizione dei tempi necessari – ci vorranno almeno 20 anni prima del lancio della nuova generazione di reattori. Nel frattempo l’obiettivo a lungo termine è ridurre entro il 2050 i gas a effetto serra dell’80 per cento rispetto al 1995.

Quali saranno i vantaggi per l’Africa?
Secondo la banca mondiale, il progetto Grande Inga porterà energia elettrica a 500 milioni di famiglie in Africa; risolverà la cronica mancanza di elettricità del Sudafrica, che attualmente costringe la principale economia del continente a black-out di diversi giorni. Il progetto inoltre potrebbe risolvere le necessità del settore minerario del Katanga, della Namibia e della Nigeria. Una rapida occhiata alle immagini della Terra vista di notte, mostra la situazione dell’Africa da un punto di vista elettrico: meno del 30 per cento delle famiglie africane hanno accesso all’elettricità, e in molti paesi questa percentuale scende al 10 per cento.

Perché la questione è controversa?
Secondo un recente rapporto di Usaid, in Africa vivono nove miliardi di persone. Ma nonostante l’urbanizzazione, la maggior parte della popolazione vive in campagna o non ha accesso ai servizi di base. In queste condizioni esportare l’energia africana in Europa ha qualcosa di grottesco. Un libero mercato dell’energia vedrebbe l’Africa fare concorrenza ai più ricchi europei per l’energia prodotta con le proprie risorse naturali. Considerati gli scarsi benefici che la popolazione ha tratto dalle altre materie prime come il petrolio e i minerali, questi progetti possono essere considerati come una vera e propria sottrazione di energia. Inoltre bisogna tenere conto del cambiamento climatico al quale l’Africa contribuisce meno degli altri continenti, ma dal quale ne subisce le conseguenze peggiori. I critici di questi megaprogetti ritengono che questi miliardi sarebbero spesi meglio in altri progetti, piuttosto che in sussidi indiretti alle multinazionali occidentali sotto forma di aiuti all’Africa.

| Presseurop | the Indipendent

Survival of the Fattest

’Survival of the Fattest’ a work of Jens Galschiot

Photo By Louise Weiss

The sculpture ’Survival of the Fattest’ is a symbol of the rich world’s (i.e. the fat woman, Justitia) self-complacent ‘righteousness’. With a pair of scales in her hand she sits on the back of starved African man (i.e. the third world), while pretending to do what is best for him.

Climate changes are caused by the western world, but the consequences hit the third world hardest. Even so, we are not willing to give up our way of life or make real changes. The poor countries are willing to do, comparatively, far more to lower CO2 emission than the western world. Still, the west all too often argues that they will have admissions and promises of further CO2 reductions from China, India, Russia and other countries that emit (and always have emitted) far less than the western world.

The little Mermaid is a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen and one of the most important symbols in Denmark. It is a part of the Danish idea of themselves as a small, cosy nation where the living is good, but where we are also doing our bit to help the world that surrounds us. This is, of course, only a fairytale.

The western world and the Danes sit like the mermaid on the rock or like the fat lady in a safe distance from the water level. Happy and assured that they have the capital it takes to prevent that the climate changes hit us. Meanwhile, island states around the world are being flushed away, while hurricanes, drought and hunger hit the rest of the world, especially Africa. But, we continue to sit on our rocks convinced that the 200 million climate refugees the UN foresee in 40 years will not affect us.

Survival of the Fattest is a part of SevenMeters.net. The aim of the initiative is to put focus on the consequences of global warming through various art installations, which will highlight the climate change from different angles.

to read full programme:

http://sevenmeters.net