Posts Tagged ‘environment’
One of my favorite photographers, and a Canadian, eh?
“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.”
“The project takes us over gouged landscapes, fractal patterned delta regions, ominously coloured biomorphic shapes, rigid and rectilinear stepwells, massive circular pivot irrigation plots, aquaculture and social, cultural and ritual gatherings. Water is intermittently introduced as a victim, a partner, a protagonist, a lure, a source, an end, a threat and a pleasure. Water is also often completely absent from the pictures. Burtynsky instead focusses on the visual and physical effects of the lack of water, giving its absence an even more powerful presence.” – Russell Lord – Curator of Photographs – NOMA
Burtynsky is perhaps the most important photographer working in the world today.
Fifty-eight years ago today, the Four Level interchange first opened to traffic. This iconic concrete ribbon that binds the 101 and 110 freeways is an almost inescapable feature of many Southern Californians’ commute. Admired by some and feared by others, the Four Level was—like many other highway innovations in Los Angeles—the first of its kind and destined to be copied elsewhere.
The Four Level, also known as the Stack, gets its name from its multi-tiered structure that separates traffic heading in each direction into dedicated lanes. On the bottom level are curved ramps for those changing from the 110 freeway to the 101. One level above is the main trunk of the 110 freeway, named the Arroyo Seco Parkway north of the interchange and the Harbor Freeway south of it. On the third level are the arcing flyover ramps carrying traffic from the 101 freeway to the 110. Finally, on the fourth and top level is the main trunk of the 101 freeway, named the Hollywood Freeway to the west and the Santa Ana Freeway to the east.
This design, now the basis of freeway interchanges around the world, was a marked improvement over the previous model. Older cloverleaf interchanges were less expensive and kept a lower profile, but they also tended to slow traffic and were more dangerous. They required motorists both entering and exiting a freeway to merge into one lane. (The 405 freeway’s interchange with Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood is an example.) Stack interchanges, on the other hand, kept the eight directions of traffic separate until the final merge.
I have yet to see anything that so sublimely and elegantly shows how mankind and nature can cohabit this planet, yet we continue to lay a massive pounding on the earth, oblivious to the wreckage, as we struggle blindly through the fog of our own heads and hearts.
It has been almost 3 years since I released “The Unseen Sea” and I’m excited and proud to share with you my latest project “Adrift”.
“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.
The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.
I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.
I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.
I am so grateful to Jimmy LaValle, from the band “The Album Leaf”, for composing a custom score for Adrift. Jimmy’s music is fantastically beautiful and captures the mood perfectly. Please check out his website. Thanks again Jimmy for your hard work.
I hope you enjoy the film and thank you for watching.
If you like this short film, please consider using the Tip Jar below, proceeds will go towards the next project…
Licensing: Adrift is copyrighted. All of my work is available for licensing under a rights-managed agreement. If you are interested in using any of my images and/or time lapse footage, please visit my website or contact me directly. Most of my clips are available up to 4K resolution! All of them support 2.8K and standard HD resolutions of 1080p/720p. Some of my favorite scenes in the film are also available as high resolution prints.
You can follow Jimmy LaValle’s work here and get a free copy of the song: on.fb.me/1b6c6gy
I aim to systematically document these places before they are gone forever. Fast-food restaurants have homogenized the nation’s highways to the point where every place looks like every other place. They are more than just a place providing service to the public, they represent uniqueness in a world headed toward commercialization. Rest areas connect travelers to local places in a way that fast food restaurants, gas stations and truck stops cannot. Interchange business, while also important to highway motorists, has become a homogenous collection of uniform structures that one encounters without significant variation in almost every part of the country. While rest areas were originally designed to provide only the basic amenities of parking, bathroom, and picnic table, developers soon found within them the opportunity to reconnect people with the places they were traveling though, to add some humanity back to interstate travel. We can all relate to rest stops and what they represent as social and architectural icons of Americana. To me though, they are disappearing waysides of memories, anticipation and mystery of what the next one down the road will look like, and lastly they are a relevant benchmark in an era of bygone leisure travel. This project is an ongoing road trip of discovery and appreciation for what these rest stops represent. My need to systematically document them before they are gone forever was the sole purpose of my project. I want to show how each rest stop is different and what it may have to offer, whether it is historical significance, charm, local color, or unique architecture. I hope to capture their spirit and give viewers an enlightened outlook towards these wonderful gems.
It was built below specs and has been poorly maintained. Saving on maintenance costs in the first 3 decades created full time maintenance contracts that has cost, and will cost taxpayer’s, over 100′s of million of dollars to maintain a structure that is scheduled to be torn down. Somebody has done alright with that. But not you and me.
By Billy Shields Global News
MONTREAL – Transport Quebec announced a series of closures this weekend as it ramps up badly needed work on the Turcot Interchange.
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday, the A-720 West ramp to the A-15 South and the A-20 East ramp toward the A-15 South will be closed.
The A-15 South within the interchange and the A-15 South ramp to the A-720 will be closed in the evening Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
South Shore motorists are advised to take either the Victoria or Jacques-Cartier bridges, or to use the Autoroute Bonaventure.
Officials are also telling drivers to avoid the interchange entirely — small comfort if you’re a West Island driver needing to get to the downtown core.
“It’s hard when you have to drive to Montreal, I avoid it at all costs,” one driver said coming off the Turcot.
This work is the precursor to the major overhaul of the interchange, one that now has a sticker price of $3.7 billion, and that won’t be done till 2020.
Renovations are expected to continue through August, although the province wants to get much of the work done as early as possible to avoid butting up against Montreal’s summer construction blitz.
Civil engineer Saeed Mirza said that the Turcot overhaul — which was put off for years by successive administrations — represents a failure in management.
Unfortunately our present philosophy is design, build, and forget. and leave the maintenance to somebody else,” he said.
When the Turcot was built in the 1960s, it was a crucial transit cog in the city’s infrastructure, now routine maintenance costs tens of millions of dollars a year.
Idle No More!
“Stephen Harper has awoken a sleeping giant”
Idle No More Quebec is launching this call for solidarity to invite you to publicly demonstrate and to join us!
WHEN: Idle No More Demonstration in Montreal – Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm
WHERE: Phillips Square, 585 Ste-Catherine Street West, Montreal (in front of the store The Bay) (nearest metro station: McGill)
HOW: Come with friends and family and bring drums, rattles, jingle dresses, red feathers!
Idle No More Québec (Fini l’inertie) lance cet appel à la solidarité pour vous inviter à manifester publiquement et à vous joindre à nous!
QUAND : Manifestation Idle No More à Montréal – Le dimanche 10 février 2013 à 13h
OÙ : Square Phillips, 585 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Montréal (en face du magasin La Baie) (près de la station de métro McGill)
COMMENT : Venez avec amis et famille et apportez tambours, hochets, jingle dress, plumes rouges!
RASSEMBLEMENT & MANIF *IDLE NO MORE (FINI L’INERTIE) – MTL* RALLY & MARCH
February 10 at 1:00pm
Square Phillips in Montreal, Quebec
Anyone following Turcot since the MTQ announcement of an new interchange in 2007 knew one simple fact – Jean Charest had to go! His government’s handling of Turcot was almost as monumentally inept, illogical, and politically suicidal as his decisions over student tuition fees. The new Parti Quebecois government has named Daniel Breton as Environment Minister. I don’t know him personally, but have seen him at countless public demonstrations, testifying at public consultations, and even running a light show/video event on the side of the Hydro Quebec building downtown. He would seem to be the real deal.
The article below mentions that most players in the Turcot saga would prefer not to see the CN tracks pulled over to the Falaise Saint Jacques. The Falaise is actually a city designated “Ecoterritory”. Moving the Turcot project beside it would be an anti environmental move in the typical going backwards/dumbing down swirl of enthusiasm that seems to be at the heart of the Tremblay era in it’s willingness to destroy all green space, and so many heritage buildings, on the Island of Montreal for the sake of real estate profits.
I have heavily criticized the MTQ over the years for their Turcot plan, but it needs to be stated that this was all under Charest who liked the project. Perhaps now we can get back to having a sensible conversation, a realistic talk in the year 2012.
Foes Of Turcot Plan Work On Alternative
by Andy Riga, The Gazette
MONTREAL – With the design of the new Turcot Interchange apparently no longer set in stone, opponents of the plan are working on a detailed alternative they say would cut costs, reduce car capacity and encourage public transit.
“It’s not too late to change the project,” said Shannon Franssen, a spokesperson for Mobilization Turcot. “In its current form, it would be disastrous not only for the neighbourhood, but also for all of Quebec.”
The coalition of community and environmental groups would scrap plans to increase car capacity to 325,000, from 290,000. It also wants public transit to be more prominent.
The group says money can be saved by eliminating plans to rebuild the Ville Marie Expressway. More savings can be had by not moving Canadian National tracks, an expensive part of the project because the land it’s moving to is unstable, inflating costs.
There is evidence the new provincial government might be willing to change the previous, Liberal, government’s $3-billion Turcot plan.
Jean-François Lisée, minister responsible for Montreal, has wondered aloud whether Quebec can revisit the plan.
Two of the plan’s most outspoken critics now have high-profile jobs — Environment Minister Daniel Breton and Thierry St-Cyr, now chief of staff to Transport Minister Sylvain Gaudreault. (more…)
By Elizabeth May
In what has become an annual media photo-op, Stephen Harper made his seasonal trek to Canada’s North in August. The bravado of proclamations of “use it or lose it” Arctic sovereignty and flexing of nationalistic muscle is wearing thin. The commitments for deep sea ports and ice breakers and new research stations have begun to run aground on the reality of broken promises.
First promised in 2005 and again in 2008, the much-ballyhooed new icebreakers — in fact, armed, troop-carrying icebreakers — have been delayed once again. The Chinese, with no Arctic coastline at all, now have icebreakers in Canada’s waters while our Coast Guard’s Amundsen is in dry dock.
The construction of the deepwater port naval port in Nanisivik promised in 2007 has yet to be begun, despite promises it would begin two years ago. Also two years ago, the Prime Minister announced a major new satellite project, the Radarstat Constellation Mission. It now appears to be mired in budgetary delays.
Additionally, Stephen Harper has promised the creation of a new Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) to be built in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. This is one of the more bizarre announcements. It was first pledged in the 2007 Speech from the Throne claiming the government would “build a world-class Arctic research station that will be on the cutting edge of Arctic issues, including environmental science and resource development. This station will be built by Canadians, in Canada’s Arctic, and it will be there to serve the world.”
It is bizarre because at the same time that the Harper Conservatives are pledging millions to build a new research facility from the ground up, they are shutting down a world respected facility further north, closer to the North Pole. The PEARL station (Polar Environmental and Atmospheric Research Laboratory) at Eureka on Ellesmere Island, recently had $10 million invested in state of the art equipment to monitor ozone depletion and the build up of greenhouse gases. Closing it down is a scandal.
The language for CHARS’ mandate suggests a coziness with resource development. The unbelievable waste in shutting down PEARL, already in operation and producing critical work, only to build a brand new facility with a vague mandate and claim to be the world’s leading high Arctic research station is stunning. My theory is that killing climate science is the goal, and being able to throw out a big number being spent on Arctic research is about spin to claim that science is not being abandoned. Money will be spent on Arctic research, but not in areas that threaten the Harper agenda.
Notice how the promises of the last six years of Harper’s northern agenda are cloaked in military goals. Our icebreakers must be armed and capable of carrying troops. Why exactly? The deep water port is a naval port, not commercial and not even of use in the all too rapid growth of tourism to the Arctic. As Michael Byers pointed out in a recent Globe and Mail article, international cruises are now plying the once impassable waters of the Northwest Passage, without reliable navigational charts and with an inadequate level of search and rescue infrastructure should our foreign visitors run into trouble.
Last month, the Prime Minister laid out some promises for which his follow through is a mere formality. He is promising that mining and oil and gas industries will stake out the Arctic and begin a pell-mell level of development. With C-38 and the removal of the vast majority of environmental reviews, with the loss of habitat protection in the Fisheries Act and so on, the Arctic is wide open for environmental assault. Harper claimed $38 billion worth of development, coming from two dozen projects are barrelling toward the fragile Arctic environment. These projects include drilling for oil and gas along the Arctic coastline, as well as mining projects.
It is all too clear how Stephen Harper views the melting Arctic. Not for him the grim warnings of science – nor will he heed the news that fires, floods and droughts have been increased globally as the jet stream slows down due to a warming Arctic. The melting of the Arctic is only cause for celebration. In his entire trip to the Arctic, the Prime Minister made no mention of the fact that the world was approaching an all-time record level of loss of Arctic ice.
The threat to our Arctic territories is in rapidly changing Arctic climate and the positive feedback loops that allow the melting ice to expose dark ocean water and cause the melting to accelerate. None of this is good news to anyone aware of the science of climate change.
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre has reported that Arctic sea ice has already dropped below the 2007 melt record – and there are still two to three weeks of melt to go. On August 26 the ice dropped below 4 million km2, an all time loss of Arctic sea ice. This is a melt of more than 40% of summer ice extent in the past decade alone.
Stephen Harper has it wrong. Arctic sovereignty is not a case of “use it or lose it.” It is an imperative to “protect it or lose it.” Harper’s version of Arctic security will bring about Canada and the world’s increased insecurity. His is not an agenda of leadership. It is the 2012 version of Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 dark classic Dr. Strangelove. Stephen Harper is leading us toward destruction.
If Harper was truly fearless, if he really believed God was on his side, if climate change was not real, he would have nothing to hide, right?
Harper’s Humiliating Muzzle on Scientists
Canada is becoming a global joke as our world-class experts are prohibited from speaking.
By Mitchell Anderson, 25 Mar 2010, TheTyee.ca
The scandal is growing at Environment Canada of how Canadian climate researchers are being “muzzled” by draconian policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
This week the Montreal Gazette reported on a leaked document showing that the information restrictions brought in by the Harper government have severely restricted the media’s access to government researchers.
“Scientists have noticed a major reduction in the number of requests, particularly from high-profile media, who often have same-day deadlines,” said the Environment Canada document. “Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80 per cent.” (more…)