Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Connecting dots between "Blued Trees," the Newton Creek superfund site and parts unknown

Last Friday evening I got two pieces of seemingly unrelated information. The good news was that I have been offered and accepted an ISCP/NEA residency, beginning on October 1st until December 31, 2015, to work on the Newton Creek problem. The Newton Creek problem is that it is a superfund site in New York.

Within hours of that news, I also learned that the Spectra natural gas pipeline corporations, in charge of the Algonquin expansion that would pass near the Indian Point facility, also in New York, the site of the Blued Trees overture launch has moved a month earlier than we expected to condemn the land and take it from private landowners by eminent domain. That news has accelerated pressure to expedite the legal process that would protect Blued Trees, the land it's on, and the community it's in with the fund raising through Rockethub that would support that process. The news came as I was also preparing to leave for the UK, for the Society for Ecological Conference, in Manchester, where I will be presenting about trigger point theory and launching the Blued Trees film in the Whitworth Gallery, at the University of Manchester.

Back in 1997, when I first daylighted the Ghost Nets site to restore the estuarine system, I took a shot of the moment when fresh water passed through the highest known storm surge line, indicated with granite chips left over from the granite industry that had buried the former wetland rocky intertidal patch, and met salt water for the first time in about 100 years. I called that shot, "Connecting the Dots."

"Connecting the Dots" 1997
Friday night, I began connecting a much larger set of dots, between the thinking that creates a superfund site, the site of a possible even greater ecological disaster, between natural gas and a nuclear facility with a history of problems, on the banks of the Hudson River, miles from several major East coast cities, and the people I look forward to meeting in Manchester. Each of these sites, are locations I would identify as trigger points: places where a small area could impact entire bioregions. Connecting these dots of trigger points will lead to parts unknown: parts where we will all rescue the earth from ourselves, or witness a great loss for all life.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Earth Guardians and the artivism of "Blued Trees" a guest post by Aidan Ferris, Earth Guardian

From left to right: Christian Lockwood, the author- Aidan Ferris, and Samantha Bostic: three Earth Guardians participating in the Blued Trees overture launch June 21, 2015 Photo by Susan Rutman
All across the globe, youth are rising to the challenge of protecting our earth so that we may pass down a healthy and sustainable world to future generations. 

On June 21st 2015, I had the opportunity of doing just that by participating in a creative and tactical way to halt the construction of the AIM pipeline expansion. As representatives of a youth-driven organization called Earth Guardians, a couple friends and myself went to lend a hand with the Blued Trees Project. From the very beginning I was excited and intrigued by the idea of using art as a way of not only shining light on important issues but also as a non-violent direct action that could truly make a difference. This project felt unique. It incorporated music, visual arts and legal components that all tied together to create a really powerful action.

Today, as we continue to strive towards a better world, creativity and imagination are some of our best allies. This is because we cannot fix the problems we face by using the same tools that created them. We must look outside the tool box. Blued Trees is an amazing way to show youth that it's okay to be tactical and artistic.

Artivism” is art plus activism; it harnesses innovative strategic organization and combines it with the creativity and imagination needed to make art of any kind. The Blued Trees Project falls perfectly under that label and it is projects like this one that appeal to young people who are looking to make a difference. This type of work shows youth that harnessing passion is not only acceptable, but encouraged. 

Earth Guardians are showing the world that young people are making positive changes by being who they are and doing what they love, whether it be art, music, poetry, business, dance, writing, or any other form of expression. I believe that in the future we will see many more projects arise similar in nature to this one.