Thursday, August 23, 2012
The summer is growing old, school is going to resume soon, but somewhere the water is stirring..
The week of Aug. 12, as the three River Steward cohorts arrived and began to spill out of their bus at Taylorsville dam, rendezvousing with community partners as part of the 2012 Orientation, they were introduced to a special guest, Basia Irland. Basia is an incredible environmental artist who has done work all across the globe. She even has her own website! Just Google her http://www.basiairland.com/.
Basia, certainly captivated her eager audience with two main ideas, the first was the "sound poem". As apart of the sound poem project, Basia challenged the River Stewards to listen--with a close ear--to all the sounds of the river as they prepared to make the 17 mile journey to Sunwatch Indian Village. Basia prompted the River Stewards to be prepared to create a "sound poem" at the conclusion of the first day's kayaking. She wanted the student to create a musical piece to reflect the days adventure on the river. And that is exactly what they did! See the link below.
The second thing that Basia shared with the group was the idea of an Ice book. Basia invented the Ice book as a way to reseed riverbanks suffering from erosion. To create an Ice Book, a block of ice (made of river water, and chiseled into the shape of a book) is lased with native seeds and sent floating down the river with the intention of reseeding the banks and raising awareness about climate change/global warming (get it? the ice is melting..).
This September, Basia plans to return to Dayton to let loose Ice Books with the help of the community. So join the anxiously awaiting River Stewards in anticipating her arrival! The date of the launch is sept, 14th, a bike/walk parade from ArtStreet starts at 3pm, then we will release the books below Steward St. bridge at 4pm. Earlier that week, there will be opportunities for student to attend workshop and lectures on campus.
To listen to a musical collage rendered by the River Stewards, recorded by Susan Byrnes and Dennie Eagleson, and inspired by Basia Irland during Orientation 2012 check out the following link!
Also, to see pictures on the Art Street Blog from Basia's time with the River Stewards during orientation, see the link below:
Friday, August 10, 2012
Some people look to the river for their favorite fishing spot. Some people like to swim or tube in the river. Other people use the river for canoeing. I've even seen people kayaking in a river! But this summer, I discovered a new appreciation for a river and what it can do for a community. Other than the recreational activities already mentioned, I used a river to charge a phone, to watch the Olympics, and even to read a book. I used the river for electricity.
Let me explain. In Malawi, Africa--the place where I spent my summer--the entire country runs off of hydro-electric power! No coal, no gas, no wind, just the river. There are several reasons why this is cool. One, it's cool because there is no waste created in the process of creating electricity for the 14 million people of Malawi. Two, it's cool because Malawi doesn't have to rely on other countries for resources for electricity. Three, it's cool because there are no mines to be dug or nuclear stacks to build. Four, it's cool because once the hydro-plant is built, there are no resources to needed to fuel the plant, the water just flows.
This is basically how it works: Water is diverted by a pipe from a swift moving river and is funneled to the plant where the water churns turbines quickly enough to create electricity which is then sent through electric lines across the nation. The water, once pushed through the turbine is then released downstream via an outlet pipe. There are, however, a few drawbacks, at least in Malawi. The most significant is that the hydro-electric plants do not create enough electricity for the entire nation all at once. As a result, we frequently experienced black outs. But, blackouts and all, I am thoroughly impressed with the power that the river holds, and hope that we can continue to see the value of our rivers.
A picture of me in Lake Malawi