The New York Times is reporting today that Congress has given the Cape Wind project the go ahead. While the debate will continue over the proposal and may end up in the courts, this is still an important step for the US towards mitigating our reliance on fossil fuels. In response to a Facebook post about the project, Ed made an important point, saying "regardless of this particular proposal, we must proceed strongly to develop wind power offshore. It just makes sense and couldn't possibly cause the problems that oil, coal and gas do in extracting our power." Rhode Island has also been working on it's own proposal and hopefully the ruling today will pave the way for other states to follow suit.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Oil giant Chevron has requested a copy of over 600 unused hours of footage filmed by documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger for his movie Crude, which chronicles the lawsuit filed by Ecuadorians against Texaco (now owned by Chevron) for contamination of local drinking systems and pollution of the Amazon. Chevron is hoping to use the footage to build their defense against paying reparations to indigenous Amazonian communities. Berlinger is fighting the request but if granted, it has far reaching effects on the world of documentary filmmaking. The question is, would this request, if granted, prevent future filmmakers from attempting to take on giant corporations? Could this change the way a filmmaker tells their story for fear of a similar outcome?
I watch a lot of documentaries, actually, I pretty much only watch documentaries. Generalized movies about global warming and environmental degradation are a plenty these days, but films like Crude, ones that name names and take on the omniscient, seemingly impenetrable giant corporations are rare because of the money and power they are up against. Don't get me wrong, all of these films are important to the cause but to hold major polluters accountable for their actions are crucial to instituting large-scale change. This latest move by Chevron is frightening but not surprising- it is merely another example of what filmmakers who take on these subjects are up against. I highly recommend seeing this David versus Goliath film.
When speaking with Ed this morning about the latest news on the environmental front, he reminded me of a phrase I heard as a child growing up amongst conservative Democrats in Massachusetts- NIMBY, which stands for Not In My Back Yard. Affordable housing for the poor? Great. A new wastewater treatment plant? We need that...just not in my backyard. In other words, just don't put it where I can see it and please be sure it doesn't interrupt my life in any way. And the news yesterday from the New York Times regarding the fight over US offshore wind farms is no different. Not so coincidentally, yesterday's paper also contained an update about the broken Gulf of Mexico pipeline that is leaking 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the sea every day and is now threatening the Louisiana coastline. Couple that with the recent news from West Virginia where 29 coal mine workers were killed in what is being called the worst coal mine accident in 25 years. With all the health, safety and environmental problems with our dependence on fossil fuels, it seems like a no-brainer to embrace new forms of cleaner energy. Europe and China have done so already and the US really needs to step up to the plate. If not, we'll all be looking at more than wind farms in our backyards.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Life takes us around interesting turns. I was supposed to be in London this week for an opening of my exhibition on work from Madagascar but the volcano has grounded me in the US. Instead, I've been given this opportunity to join two colleagues, Yunghi Kim and Timothy Fadek, at a lecture at the CUNY Baruch school tomorrow, April 20th at 6pm. Please come and join in the conversation. I will be humbly filling in for Travis Fox who was called away on assignment. So it goes.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Ed Kashi in conversation with Francis Hodgson and Mark Jacobs
Wednesday 21 April, doors open at 6.00 pm, the talk will begin at 6.30 pm.
66-67 Wells Street, London W1T 3PY
As part of the 2009 Prix Pictet Commission exhibition, Madagascar - A Land Out of Balance, photographer Ed Kashi will be talking about his work to renowned photography critic Francis Hodgson and Director of Azafady Mark Jacobs.
Admission to this event is free, but booking is essential as places will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. To reserve your place, please contact the Prix Pictet Secretariat by Friday 16 April:
T 020 8741 6025
Madagascar - A Land Out of Balance
The Prix Pictet Commission is an invitation for a photographer, chosen from the Prix Pictet shortlist, to create a portfolio of images related to the theme of the award in association with a charity supported by Pictet. For 2009, Pictet chose to work with Azafady, a UK charity and Malagasy-registered NGO that helps the poorest communities in Madagascar develop sustainable ways of living and increase local access to healthcare and education.
American photographer Ed Kashi was awarded the 2009 Commission. The resulting portfolio of photographs, Madagascar - A Land Out of Balance, will be premiered at Diemar/Noble Photography in London from 20 April – 1 May 2010.
Kashi’s pictures chronicle the compromised beauty of this threatened island, described as one of the greatest present-day ecological disasters yet recorded. As the writer Helena Drysdale says in her catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition, these photographs show a deteriorating situation ‘In the south, the failure of the rains has speeded up the desertification. The Masoala Peninsular has become a national park, but this has not prevented the pillaging of the rainforests by illegal loggers – aided by French shippers and the Malagasy government – or the subsistence farmers’ slash and burn. Madagascar’s soil continues to bleed unquenched into the Indian Ocean, and the Great Red Island slowly but inexorably dies.'
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Posted on Oxfam's FB page - Oxfam America We're honored to have our
"Follow the Money" video a finalist in the Nonprofit Video Awards! Have
you voted yet? http://bit.ly/90w39b
Non-Profit Video Awards - CLICK ON VOTE TAB IN VIEWER
WINDOW. Find "Follow the Money" and click on the green thumb. I don't
know if you have to watch the whole video for the vote to register, but I
did just in case.