Monday, May 18, 2009

Trash and Trashing our Home - Earth

The shot above is looking north towards the San Fernando Valley.
This is looking south towards Down Town Los Angeles

On May 9th Lots of folks came out from behind their weekend lives and helped remove trash from the Los Angeles River, supported by Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR) and other volunteer groups and Governmental Agencies. It was wonderful to see people get involved in making their part of the River cleaner. It was estimated that about 3000 people dipped in and near the River - from north to south - to remove the nasty junk that flows down the river and out to the sea.

Cleaning the 52 mile stretch of the concrete covered Los Angeles River possed a daunting task but, many local groups supplied water (some in plastic - we will learn someday) and music. The Western Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) butterflies were alight in Atwater and that was a joy. The man in the turban is looking right at it.... click on the photo and see if you can find the yellow spot.... that's the butterfly.

I suspect, that most of the plastic that gets wrapped around the trees and brush are not there just because 'someone' threw it there. People are absent minded about the junk in their lives. People do not recognize the mess they live in - the mess they create by buying all that stuff. Their homes are filled with stuff that they never use. They spend most of their life either at uninteresting jobs, going home to a house filled with things they never use or wear, and then, when they go outside.... stuff just 'flakes' off. They/we never see it because, trash is in all of our lives. People - we - are used to seeing things trashy.

Here are two of my bags of trash (normal sized large garbage trash bags provided by FOLAR). I picked up about five bags and helped pull off plastic from a few trees. As you can see, the plastic - the REAL TRASH - is knotted in the branches, leaves, soil, and shreds into tiny and tinier pieces. (For comparable sizes, those are my flash drives.)

The pieces of plastic from dry cleaning, are really nasty. They shatter very easily. The plastic bags from grocery stores stay flexible longer and cause trees and brush to knot into huge sheets of dead vegetation. The bags which has mylar bonded with a thick plastic for potato chips and other greasy perishable fast food, is really bad because it stays in its shape and form much longer and is resistant to UV light degradation.

Eventually, the plastic breaks apart and is taken to the sea ..... into the large trash heap in the Pacific Ocean.....

SO..... Los Angeles, (specifically its Rivers even with folks trying to clean it up) is one of the main sources of the trash that is killing our ocean. Thank a lot guys.

AND... The San Gabriel River is another mess. But FAR WORSE because it has the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. "WHAT!??" A Conservancy with billions of tax dollars, which has spent lots of money on studies does not clean up the San Gabriel like the folks at the Los Angeles River? - WHY...Yes, because the RMC has other things on its collective minds..... and it has nothing to do with conservation of the rivers and the mountains......CHECK OUT the trash in the San Gabriel... THANKS A LOT RMC!!!! ....Thaks for NOTHING!

Pictures of trees in the San Gabriel River....

OH.... and Ms. Rivers-and-Mountains-Conservancy, are those QUAGGA MUSCLES in the River???? What are you planning to do about THAT!!!??? Oh yeah... nothing....

(UPDATE: June 28... These are actually, Asian Clams, Corbicula fluminea, which are invasive but have not been mapped in the San Gabriel River. Maybe I should do something about that...)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Movable Murals

One favorite murals to make (the collaboration with the clients) was one for a friend who left science to go into the coffee house biz. My friend needed something that was unique and had a feeling of being old. She and her husband lived in Santa Paula, they called their coffee house the Santa Paula Coffee House.

The area is beautiful with mountains, trees, and framing. So, she wanted mountains, trees, farms, and coffee beans, all in a Craftsman style. Sounded like one of those wonderful orange crates from the turn of the 20th Century... With lots of ideas back and forth over the internet we came to a design, pallet of colors and style.

Lettering is always a bitch... but they wanted something homey....

Here it is at the opening of the shop....