In this week's Newsletter: Words matter, Distilled: Still Lifes by Ben Shattuck opens at Steven Amedee Gallery, debate on how to replace Indian Point's electricity supply and much more!
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Regulations Vs. Protections

Cognitive linguist George Lakoff is known for his theory of metaphors and how the use of words can influence human thinking. He came to public prominence in the early 2000s when he first attempted to explain the ways that political factions use metaphors differently, and how the use of certain words can affect the way we percieve the various phenomena they describe.

In a recent blog post published by Alternet here, Lakoff asks, "What if, instead of repealing 75% of all regulations, the Trump administration came clean and admitted that what they are really trying to get rid of is 75% of all public protections?"

Doesn't have quite the same emotional impact, does it?

"Regulations" is looking at laws that stop corporations from ruining or compromising the commons, such as our air and water quality, purely from the point of view of the corporations, for whom it is expensive and sometimes difficult to refrain from poisoning the environment. A regulation in the eyes of an oil executive or lawyer is a protection to a farmer or family that may have to live with the consequences of corporate action for decades or centuries.

If politicians in the US want to gut protections for communities, then they should be forced to say so, and in no uncertain terms.

Distilled: Still Lifes by Ben Shattuck at Steven Amedee Gallery 

This exhibition represents three series that document environmental and social narratives:

Arctic Flora
For two weeks in late June, when the Alaskan tundra was in full bloom, Shattuck traveled 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle to sketch and photograph flowers in a landscape hit hard by climate change.  These small flowers, most no taller than a few inches, grow across the wide treeless valleys. With warming temperatures, shrubs like willows, alder, and shrub birch are moving north, changing the character of the magnificent mountain valleys. Flowers like Lapland Rosebay, Siberian Aster, Alpine Hawksbeard, Alaska Spring Beauty, Frigid Shooting Star, Moss Campion, Windflower, Arctic Bell Heather, Rock Jasmine - along with the lichen that caribou depend on - will be increasingly crowded out as the boreal flora profile shifts under warming temperatures.
While Arctic Flora spotlights plants whose futures are imperiled by political and economic policy, Gossypium (Latin name for cotton) turns to the past. Here is a plant linked to a history of violence, injustice, and hate, and yet, come December, they are sold at flower shops across New York City. The plant's significance in US history would seem too heavy for these plants to transcend, to become decorative centerpieces.

The Oceans
If Arctic Flora features problematic still lifes of the future, and Gossypium the past, The Oceans highlights the current crises in fisheries across the world. As the New York Times reported in 2015, "The Gulf of Maine cod stocks today are probably only a fraction of 1 percent of what they were during George Washington's presidency."

There will be an opening reception on Thursday March 2 from 6-9pm at the Steven Amedee Gallery, 41 North Moore Street between Varick and Hudson Sts in Tribeca.

Debate on Indian Point Continues

Now that all parties have agreed to shut down the two online reactors at the Indian Point Energy Center within four years, the next step in the decommissioning involves figuring out how to replace the nuclear power plant's substantial contribution to the electric grid, currently at about 2,000 megawatts.

There are basically three options for replacing that power, according to a new report from NRDC and Riverkeeper: Ramp up local renewables within New York State; import hydropower from Quebec using new high-voltage transmission lines; and/or reduce demand by implementing aggressive energy efficiency measures across the state.

The cheapest options are adding to the renewable portfolio and aggressively pursuing efficiency. While the Quebec hydropower option will be attractive to upstate politicians, since there are infrastructure jobs involved in laying new transmission lines, it is by far the most expensive, and somewhat limited, of all the choices. At most, Quebec hydropower could make up about half of Indian Point's output.

The good news is that building new plants that run on (mostly fracked) natural gas, long considered the most likely bridge fuel to a renewable future, does not figure in the report. Hopefully state officials will not deem those plants necessary after all. You can read more about this issue at the New York League of Conservation Voters website here.
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Upcoming Events at Solar One

Final Fridays Micro Film Series: Garbage Warrior
Solar 1, 24-20 FDR Drive Service Road East south of 23rd St at the East River, 6:30pm, $10 donation includes popcorn and 1 drink
Space is limited. RSVP to

Other Events

John Ares Nautical Portfolio: Photographs & Virtual Exhibit Opening Reception
National Lighthouse Museum, 1 Bay Street Landing, St. George, Staten Island, 7-9pm, $30 

Self Defense Workshop with It's Not Personal and Rachel Chung
Shaktibarre, 449 Keap Street bet Hope & Ainslie Sts, Brooklyn, 3-5pm, $20

Jamaica Bay Greenway Coalition Meeting
King's Plaza Community Room, 5100 Kings Place, entrance at Flatbush Ave & Ave V, Brooklyn, 6-8pm, free

Hunts Point Resiliency Community Workshop
The Point CDC, 940 Garrison Avenue bet Manida & Barretto Sts, Bronx, 6-8pm, free

A Kayaker’s View of the Hudson– Honoring Vladimir Brezina
Center for the Urban River at Beczak, 35 Alexander Street bet Ashburton & Wells Aves, Yonkers, 7-9pm, $5 suggested donation
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