Today is World Water Day, and a good time to reflect on rivers, the lifeblood of many plant, animal, and human communities. Yet many of the world’s rivers have been dammed, degraded, polluted, and overdrawn at alarming rates.
Some of the world’s great rivers, from the Colorado to the Indus, don’t always reach their ends because people have diverted so much water for agriculture, industry, and municipal uses. Other rivers have been completely covered over by development, as people attempted to “tame” nature by ending flooding and maximizing usable land area.
But what happens to once-thriving freshwater ecosystems when the rivers they depend on are entombed in sewer pipes beneath layers of concrete and soil? Few species can make the transition to subterranean living. Ironically, it was often rivers and streams that attracted people in the first place, but those very sources of life can fall victim to the expanding concrete jungle.
This was the case in the late 1800s for Sunswick Creek in the Queens section of New York City. Appearing on maps in the 1870s, Sunswick Creek was soon completely covered over. Now, it exists only as a meager flow through buried sewer-like pipes, as documented in this photo by Steve Duncan.
Duncan notes that the burial process appears to have occurred in multiple phases, based on his explorations of the dank channels.
Thousands took to the streets in cities across Europe on Saturday to protest the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, also known as ACTA.
ACTA is a global effort to protect intellectual property rights by banning counterfeit goods and online piracy. Critics say it would severely limit net freedom and could also have life-threatening consequences when it comes to pharmaceutical and agricultural patents.
While at least 30 governments initially signed the the agreement, some European countries are putting their decisions on hold. Most recently, Germany announced on Friday that it would delay signing the accord in order to “carry out further discussions.”
While the most exciting wave of civil unrest unfolds in front of our eyes, anarchists across London seem to be failing at actively supporting this immense expression of anger and frustration. We believe this expression to be totally legitimate and should be encouraged and supported. But how? The writers of this are not sure themselves but here are a few ideas and we hope people will think about and act out their response to this situation.
Create a visible and directed anti-authoritarian presence - we should be on these demonstrations with banners and literature but perhaps most importantly facing down the police. Think black-bloc, barricade roads, don’t run when the pigs come.
Legal advice - we should be making people aware of the importance of masking up and the presence of CCTV. Distributing bust cards is also important (note: many people wary of receiving legal advice from perceived outsiders. we are not completely sure how to overcome this and it needs thought.)
Pick your targets - the rioters so far as doing a good job of redistributing wealth by attacking large corporations. what else can we go for? police stations, courts, other government buildings, banks, CCTV cameras
Think about safety - we should be aware that some people are using this as an opportunity to mug others. stay safe, move in groups and think seriously about who you trust with your physical safety.
This is just the beginning of what we should be doing and we hope a dialogue is formed between all protesters across the city and the country who are tired of the police harassment and exploitative economic systems.