What an Incredible Waste


This photo is currently being circulated on social media.  I scrolled passed it thinking that I didn’t need to go any deeper into this woman’s misplaced sense of herself.  Yet, it triggered a new meaning to waste on so many levels and made me sad because this is what I got to see in Africa, when I went to hang out with the gorillas and chimpanzees. . .


On one day of the trip, I found myself standing “alone” in the center of a crowded market in Zaire when a young boy threw a handful of beans at me and declared “giraffe”.  The immediate crowd stared at me in tense silence to see how I would react.  Standing at 6’3″, I towered over everyone so the obvious comparison made me spontaneously laugh out loud.  The crowd laughed.  For that moment, I was the exotic species that united a connection.  I still have the beans and the fond memory of being an honorary giraffe who brought delight to a crowd of strangers in a market half way around the world.

The above photoed, awarded, huntress, Rebecca Francis stated, “There is no question that I am extremely selective about the animals I hunt. I feel it is absolutely necessary to hunt older and more mature animals. In a lot of cases, that puts that animal past it’s breeding prime and the animal can actually be kicked out of the herd and replaced with a younger, stronger male to introduce new genetics into the gene pool. Consequently, that animal can not only be bullied by the new male, but also be left all alone to suffer until it’s inevitable death”.  http://www.businessinsider.com/hunter-rebecca-francis-posing-with-giraffe-2015-4#ixzz3XZZYkWTT

This makes me ask if she is as willing to be replaced or killed after she is past her breeding prime.  Her sincerity is hard to believe especially when she posts youthful beauty as her image.  She makes it clear that she loves, promotes and collects exotic animals that she hunts for prowess, recognition and awards.

With the barrage of on line, inner species videos showing us how interconnected we all are, it is shame that this kind of hunting is justified in any way or that old age is not respected as a part of life. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/animal-odd-couples-full-episode/8009/   My dear friend, Eric and I have an on going conversation about our right to die when we are too old or infirmed to experience life without becoming a true burden to those we love.  I can’t imagine that life ending moment warranting a photo op for our smiling participants.

About.com Hunting has a pro hunting article that’s still hard for me to grasp stating our ancestry makes us hunt.  The article concludes with comments about a quote, “We do not go hunting to kill. We kill in order to have gone hunting.” Without the kill, you aren’t hunting. That doesn’t mean that you have to kill every legal animal you see, but hunting is not hunting if you’re not there to kill. But to return to the quote, one does not go hunting expressly for that purpose. Hunting is freedom, a tie to our ancestors, peace, contentment, happiness, joy, sweat, close calls, exploring, hiking, stealth, boring, exhilarating, tiring, satisfying, challenging, and a thousand other things. It’s there for you to discover, and judge for yourself if you want to take part in it. But please, “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.”   http://hunting.about.com/library/weekly/aa022899.htm

Darwin enlightened us all with his Tree of Life and The Origin of Species.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life   His work is the base of our comprehension that we are all genetically connected.  Published in 1859, why is it taking us so long to comprehend our place on this planet?  Are we really that lost?  That full of our self importance?  That unaware of our actions?

How You Can Help:

Until next week,      images



Garbage Girl


Ew! Sewer Waste

This video is so grossly visual with information that it warants repeating, especially since no one commented on it last week!   Ew!!

How does this happen?  Can it be cleaned up?  There are many companies who plunge in dressed head to toe in hazmat suits and pump the shit out of backed up basements through tubes into holding tanks but what about rivers, lakes, canals and oceans?

There’s Sponge worthiness!  Sponge Parks!  Artificial wetlands that act like pollution absorbing sponges made of vegetation and special soil to retain water and prevent overflows.   A $1.5 million full greenway park alongside the infamous 1.8-mile Gowanus Canal was a go in 2008.


But the innovative project stalled due to a lack of money and the ongoing debate about who and how to clean up the complex mess.  Then it became a Superfund Site.

Since then, dlandstudio, the designers of Sponge Park, raised $2 million from the city and state to build Phase one.  Initiated by the Bloomberg administration, for completion in the summer of 2015, near Second Street, it may finally get its start.  A pilot patch of the multi-use park lining the polluted canal will be anchored by soil-filled concrete cells that retain and filter storm water.  Planted with vegetation capable of soaking up excess water naturally absorbing or breaking down toxins, heavy metals, and contaminants from sewage overflow, the project is notable.   It may not be enough, but if the plan works, it could be the next step for hundreds of U.S. cities that spew their poo every time it rains.

dlandstudio is hopeful that their Sponge Park will reduce contamination in the Gowanus Canal and “provide an evolved urban habitat supporting and promoting estuarine ecology.”  They acknowledge that this plan will account for only a small portion of the total CSO (combined sewer overflow) problem. The plan, if all aspects are implemented, would apply to just 316 acres of the canal’s total 1,758-acre watershed, at a cost of $42 million.


In the meantime, there is a way to learn about sewer overflow entering all of our waterways.  The “Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act” was passed thanks to the efforts of  Riverkeeper.  The law requires local governments to report discharges of untreated or partly treated sewage to their health departments and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation within two hours. The notification must be made public on government Web sites within four hours of the discharge.  http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/90315.html
The Act also helps identify aging pipes, sewage plants and other infrastructure needing repair or replacement.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitary_sewer_overflow

How You Can Help:

Until next week,


Garbage Girl

Is It A Waste?


The strangest sight of other worldly lumps and bumps planted with a variety of grasses and a smattering of young trees along the perimeter has been evolving under the Whitestone Bridge now for many years.

On a former landfill, closed in 1963, sits a World Class Golf Course. The New York Parks Department and Donald Trump have put years into its realization.

I have blogged a few times about repurposing landfills such as Fresh Kills and redeveloping Superfund Sights such as the Gowanus Canal. As the engineering gets more sophisticated and the understanding of toxic pollution over time gets known, we are creating some interesting solutions.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture on the Gowanus Canal.  I learned that its status as a Superfund sight puts the financial burden for the pollution primarily on National Grid and New York City.  This means that they are responsible for funding the clean up of the water, the sediment and the surrounding land.  The costs are staggering and may never be known.  So the city is giving incentives to developers in exchange for cleaning up the portion of land they want to build on.  Whole Foods was the first to step in and it took over five years.

a  - gowanus_0

There was even a pair of swans fishing in the water when Martin and I were there this weekend.  I hope they survive!  Eventhough, the reality was not quite as spectacular as the renderings full of open park land and people picnicking along the canal, it was a nice experience with its brick walls and greenhouse glass roof.  All creating the feeling of potentially good things to come.

The challenge for Gowanus will be our sewer system and heavy rain. We have a one use system that was built more than a hundred years ago.  All storm water, sewer water and household water goes into the same pipes.  These old pipes have a limited capacity to deliver the water to the treatment plants and clean it before it goes to the Gowanus that feeds into NY Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.

You have been warned!  The following video is really bad!

How You Can Help:

  • Be aware that everything going down your drains has the potential to end up in the waterways around our city, especially during storms.
  • As hard as it is to support commercial development at times; if they come with resources to clean up our biggest mess. . . how bad can that be?
  • Take up golf?  Yes, the grounds are covered with pesticides and fertilizers to keep that course green and inviting for the wealthy few. . .it looks better than a landfill and the birds love it!
  • For more information about concerns due to gentrification and bad development.  http://bridginggowanus.org/#about 
  • Look for  Joseph Alexiou has a new book coming out.     Gowanus: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Brooklyn’s Curious Canal.

Until next week,

Garbage Girl