Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edward Burtynsky on manufactured landscapes

Description from Accepting his 2005 TED Prize, photographer Edward Burtynsky makes a wish: that his images -- stunning landscapes that document humanity's impact on the world -- help persuade millions to join a global conversation on sustainability

One word for this video is wow. Everyone knows China is crowded and has a large demand for resources, but the pictures really do the job of sending the message. There was a lot going on in the video so I'll do my best to highlight what I believe were the major points.

To start off pictures involving waste were shown. A massive rock quarry and mountains of tires (about 45 million) were really mind boggling. So much waste piled up and such a large amount of resources removed from the Earth. The oil tanker remains piled up on the shorelines were shocking to say the least. The issue Edward tries to get across throughout the video is how waste from developed nations ends up in third world countries. One example was that 50% of computers end up in China to be recycled. To remove the precious metals from the motherboards they burn the boards, and the smell can be sensed from kilometers away. Its called E-waste and it piles up in some villages and even blocks roadways.

Many buildings had an obvious flaw, no central AC, each apartment has a separate AC unit. This obviously leads to massive power use. Power consumption is a major factor in China as they have a massive demand for resources. One steel mill had over 18 square kilometers of coal to run on.

The factories were literally another world. In one the film showed a woman assembling a circuit breaker with unbelievable speed. These factories can be huge, up to a half kilometer long. Buildings pop up literally overnight and some are built up around homes of people who are holding out for more money before they move away to let construction in.

In summary the Burtynsky stated that he want his images to provoke thoughts about conservation from not just this generation, but the next. Teach the youth about conservation and how it can help clean up the world. Many people (me included) are visual learners and Burtynsky's pictures really got the message across to me about conservation. Sometimes all people is the right shot to get them thinking, and then acting on that thought.

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