Friday, October 12, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize for Architects of European Union

Something in me —the Dutchess raised in Post WWII Holland— says: Yes, people at the center of the European Union have been working very hard to unite and organize countries that for centuries were at war with each other; crossing borders, infiltrating, occupying, stealing and murdering.


So yes, leaders and representatives of countries who make this happen are entitled to kudos. On the other hand, that the Nobel Peace Prize would go to an organization of countries is a new and alien thought, some argue that the prize and the attached money should go to an individual, not to a union of countries.

We should however not confuse the history of Europe with all of her autonomic nations, with the history of the United States, which was comprised of colonies, not autonomic countries, with clear national identities. Perhaps the architects of the European Union should have been awarded the Nobel Prize instead of the umbrella the European Union is.

Thoughts anyone?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, October 04, 2012

WM's Think Green Triggers Idea for Xacuabš Public Art

A South East Seattle neighborhood won a big prize this year, not for having the most beautiful gateway, but for being the best at waste management. Yep, members of the Rainier Beach Community Club rallied for better recycling and more composting, which naturally resulted in less garbage, and in being rewarded for their efforts.

follow link "composting kitchen scraps" for step by step system
Readers of this blog know I sing praise to black gold, aka compost, hey, at my home we make composting kitchen scraps an art form. Long before we even knew of RBCC's drive our aim was to bring down the amount of garbage we generate, for instance by scooping our organically grown brown rice in bags at PCC rather than buying prepackaged brand. We're proud users of the one but smallest garbage bin, and we only fill that every other week. Still, it wasn't until some time this summer that we found out we're part of a neighborhood movement!

As the Rainier Valley Post reported on June 6, 2012, the Rainier Beach neighborhood was the winner of Seattle's Waste Management's Think Green Recycling Challenge. This is without a doubt thanks to the inspired efforts of the Rainier Beach Community Club leadership and members. The prize? $50,000 for a Main Street Makeover.

Truth be told, we had been unaware of the challenge, perhaps because we already Think Green.

Until this summer we didn't know much about the Rainier Beach Community Club other than that it was a social club, more focused on positive action than complaining about problems. Last fall we accompanied friends to RBCC's After Thanksgiving Party (great way to revamp and share leftovers y'all!). The old Rainier Beach Club House was rocking with live music and animated banter of adults and children. Nice!

The reason for attending a membership meeting this summer was to introduce the Social Network Nextdoor. Two days prior to the meeting I had almost inadvertently created a Nextdoor website. How? By drawing a circle around the houses of people we know in our immediate neighborhood after reading an article about Nextdoor in the New York Times.

At the meeting RBCC president Sue Harambe announced that our neighborhood had won the Main Street Makeover prize. Hooray! $50,000 for beautification of the crosswalks, bike racks, flower baskets, park benches, maybe a kiosk, and possibly banners that tie the larger business section of the neighborhood together. 

Inspired by a request from a committee member a few days before the RBCC August meeting to bring in my ideas (even though the membership had already discussed the possibilities), I strapped Mocha on her leash and moseyed down the hill to get a feel for the Gateway project. We crisscrossed the intersection and looked out across Lake Washington. I mused about the history of this area, and a vision developed in my mind.

At the meeting I proposed the germ of a Storytelling Public Art idea. A project that points at the  the Xacuabš, the indigenous people who lived along the shores of S.E. Lake Washington. Visual storytelling will tie their history to the present Rainier Beach and Be'er Sheva Park. Not something that would be made possible by the WM Award as became clear. Still, the more developed idea for that project will fit 4Culture's Heritage Special Projects program.

As a storyteller, whose history do you bring to live?

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License