This week’s Friday Roundup features: Illegal logging and loss of forest habitat, two important film festivals (Rio and Washington DC), opening of the Met Breuer in NYC, and a critique of the Oculus, the just-opened $4-billion transportation hub in New York City, designed by Santiago Calatrava.
Stop illegal logging: Does the flooring in your new house or renovated condo come from Russia, Peru or Indonesia ? Do you know ? Take time to listen to a powerful hour of radio, an NPR broadcast of the Diane Rehm show (Feb 29) with four experts on all of the implications of global deforestation and illegal logging activity. The illicit wood products trade– should we call it “blood timber”? – has brought millions of board feet of illegally harvested hardwoods into European and U.S. homes, and involves well-known companies. One of the world’s most biodiverse forests in Russia is being cut for millions of board feet of lumber/flooring.
Millions of feet of illegally cut timber from Peru’s Amazon rainforest are sitting in a warehouse, awaiting a U.S. legal decision. While southern forests (i.e. tropical) are known to have greater carbon sink capacity, the loss of northern forests undermines biodiversity and threatens endangered species such as the Amur Tiger in Russia. The radio panel: Alexander “Sascha” von Bismarck executive director, EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency);Cindy Squires executive director, the International Wood Products Association; Brad Kahn communications director, Forest Stewardship Council U.S.; Linda Walker director, Responsible Forestry and Trade, World Wildlife Fund. This is a topic that Green News Update will continue to cover in 2016. Listen to the show.
Documentary Film Festivals: Don’t Miss
March 11: International Uranium Film Festival, Berlin and Rio, films on Fukushima. The lineup
March 16-23 Environmental Film Festival, Washington DC
May 20-29 International Uranium Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro Modern Art Museum (MAM Rio) cinema
The Uranium Film Festival sheds light on nuclear power and the risks of radioactivity – from uranium mining and weapons to accidents and nuclear waste—with documentaries, movies and animations. The first festival was held in May 2010 in Santa Teresa, an artists’ quarter in the center of Rio. This year’s event at MAM Rio features 41 films selected on the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. The Festival’s philosophy: “Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Goiânia or now Fukushima should never be forgotten – nor repeated. “ Learn more and see the lineup
Washington DC’s Environmental Film Festival now in its 24th year, will feature 145 films from 33 countries–including 70 US, DC and world premieres. Many of the screenings are free of charge at venues throughout the area – museums, embassies, and NGO headquarters. This year’s theme Parks: Protecting Wild, salutes the U.S. National Park Service’s 2016 Centennial and its stewardship of national parks. Documentary, narrative, animated, archival and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on a variety of environmental issues facing the Earth.
Here’s a smattering from the Environmental Filmfest lineup: An American Ascent documents the first African-American expedition to tackle Denali. The Babushkas of Chernobyl depicts a defiant community of women who live on some of the most toxic land on Earth.The documentary E.O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men, is the winner of Conservation Hero, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival; Blood Lions: Breeding facilities in South Africa raise lions in captivity to be shot at close range by the highest bidder, using loopholes and “wildlife sanctuary” fronts. Learn more about the festival, venues, lectures
New York Met Breuer opens May 18 in New York: In a brilliant example of building recycling the Metropolitan Museum of Art has leased the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art at 75th and Madison to display its contemporary art holdings and mount contemporary shows.
The building is named for Marcel Breuer, a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer. (Remember the 1970s Mid Century Marcel Breuer Cesca Caned Chair? Endlessly reproduced and something of a household fixture from the ’70’s. I have two!) Architectural writer Karrie Jacobs wrote in 2014: “That [Breuer] designed such a thing—an inverted ziggurat clad in granite and concrete—and deposited it on Madison Avenue seems, today, like a miracle.” Learn more about the Breuer-design building
Santiago Calatrava’s new World Trade Center Transit Hub –newly opened in lower Manhattan – is the home of multiple subway and train lines that bring people into the city. The sun-catching Oculus is a marvel in the morning: “Curved, steel-ribbed walls rise 160 feet like a pair of immense clamshells toward a ribbon of glass that is the giant hall’s skylight. “ Eventually it will feature hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail. The $4-billion project is being hailed as beautiful, wasteful, over budget and deadlines, and not yet complete! Read the March 3 New York Times review and see the photo gallery.