Start Noticing Layers in the Urban Environment

I may be weird but I especially like the little details like painted over numbers and such. Something rusty draws me just as much as something shiny.

We recently did a couple of Thomasson exercises in my class (which focuses on the politics of ‘ruin porn’ and urban exploration), and it was an excellent way to help my students, who are mostly freshman, get to know their campus and start noticing the changes and layers in the urban environment around them. In this post, I’ll be sharing what we discovered and what I learned about using Thomassons as a teaching tool.

Source: Thomassons: Indiana University Edition | Rust Belt Anthro

The Original Idea Behind GreenLivingHistory

I started the idea of Green Living History as a Blogger blog, long ago. I didn’t start it there. Just wrote a description. I really liked the name so I bought the domain. Now, here the poor thing is, neglected.

Rather than importing the lack of content on Blogger, or keeping the blogger site open for no real reason, I am deleting it there and just adding the single little post back in here.

The Idea Behind Green Living History
Green Living History – An idea to blog about the environment, green living, repurposing, natural religion and history.
Posted 27th April 2012 by Laura Brown

The Grass On the Other Side was Greener

Being Green (reprinted from Facebook)

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment f or
future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

Sustainable/ Eco Fashion

From Iva Messy: Eco Fashion 101

Here is a small glossary of some eco fashion terms you may see {in no particular order}:

Organic– Natural fibers which have grown without any pesticides & other toxic materials, preserving the health of humans and the environment.

Recycled– Anything that has been made from already existing materials, fabrics, fibers or metals. Often times previously made clothing and accessories are refashioned into new ones.

Vintage– Specifically, new or second hand garments created between 1920- 1975. However, the ‘exression’ is many times more generally used refereing to second hand or upcycled clothes.

Ethically Produced– Fashion that has been produced with respect for people and the environment.

Custom– Also called made to order, is a way of encouraging ‘slow fashion’ over mass produced.

Vegan– Products which have been made without the use of leather or animal tissue products.

Artisian or Craft– Products which have been crafted using artisan skills.

Fair Trade Certified– Promotes standards for international labor {reasonable work hours, no child labor, the right to unionize, a fair living wage} , environmentalism, and social policy in areas related to production of goods. Fair Trade focuses on exports from developing countries to developed countries.

Toronto Sites I Found Today

Reading Toronto – Looking at the city through the eyes of the many designers, architects, writers, and artists in the city.

Imagining Toronto – A local exploration of culture and place, a lived geography of the city and region.

Imagining Toronto, the blog. –
Amy Lavender Harris- A geographer and environmental phenomenologist. Occasional rabble rouser. Known to be fiercely independent, curious, principled, persistent.

Jennifer Burns: Local Ruins – Abandoned and reclaimed buildings in Toronto.

Toronto Psychogeography Society – A loose collection of relentless flâneurs, explorers and walkers. Participants step out of their daily routine and explore the city’s overlooked corners to imagine the dynamics of a better future urban environment.

Murmur Toronto
– An archival audio project that collects and curates stories set in specific Toronto locations, told by Torontonians themselves.

Canadian New Media Awards – To recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of individuals and companies in the Canadian new media industry.

Doors Open.ca

Doors Open Toronto

Doors Open Ontario

Doors Open Canada

Celebrating our architectural heritage. The aim of Doors Open events is to facilitate people’s understanding and enjoyment of their local architectural environment while encouraging awareness of their built heritage.

TO Live with Culture A guide to Toronto’s culture and arts scene, events.

If you’re in Vancouver, BC, there is Northern Voice

Northern Voice is a two-day, non-profit personal blogging conference that’s being held at the UBC main campus on February 23-24, 2007.