Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back Online, Thanks Eco-Absence

Hello friends. Back from Cape Cod. There is truly nothing like the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the beaches of New England. A real highlight (in addition to the reunion of my extended family) was the wondrous pleasure of following a finback whale in the wild as he swam just along the surface for almost a mile near the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary.

I'm sorry I have no photos as I took a complete technology break. But, if you ever get the opportunity to whale watch, I can't recommend it enough. It truly is awesome and moving and rejuvenative.

For the record, I don't buy for a second that good environmentalism isn't good business. Real nature is a genuine economic draw. We paid about $25 each to a highly-regarded, eco-minded whale watching outfit called The Dolphin Fleet, and dropped some lunch money in the area as well. Not to mention the cottage rental fees, etc.

Here in Chicago, time and again, the most expensive, high-end properties are built near the lake or on the parks. Look at the Gold Coast. Look at Howe Street near Oz Park or the three-story single family homes with elevators going up on Greenview across from Wrightwood Park. When the original Lill Street Pottery Studio came down, huge million dollar homes were erected right across from Grace (now Noethling) Park.

People of all income levels value nature. Protecting it makes rational, economic sense. I just don't understand why our government thinks allowing increased mercury levels and ignoring global warming is a solution for anything. Good god, it makes me nuts. But, I'll spare you the extended rant. You probably have one of your own.

Back to the Midwest

Anyway, it was good to have a break from the Internets and nice to come back.

Thanks so much to Michael Allen of Ecology of Absence who stopped by to say hello and other kind things in the comments while I was away. Check out his site that explores the intersection of abandoned buildings, re-use and sustainability in St. Louis and the Midwest. From "About" on the site that he co-edits with Claire Nowak-Boyd:

Our project documents the disease of abandonment of the built environment and its treatment. We aim to reveal the odd interaction of social and ecological forces that lead people to build, abandon and reclaim buildings and structures. Thus, we draw upon the fields of history, urban archaeology, ecology, sociology and architecture to investigate the troubled urban areas of the Midwest.

Their site and blog are loaded with fun-and-interesting-to-poke-around in stuff. One example is their tip on Mid-century Dream blog, which focuses on arhcitecture and visual culture from 1930-1970.

Over at Metroblog Chicago

As I've mentioned before, I also blog at Metroblog Chicago. The city recently announced a competition to preserve and protect Chicago's roof top water tanks. Enjoy a great photo of one of the tanks by Steven Downs and read more over there.

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