~Meniscus Archives~

Summer 2004
Issue #4

May - August 2004

Visual Art and Spiritual Evolution
Andy Gmür
Biological evolution has advanced to the point that a 'spiritual evolution' is taking place. This natural process is happening, no matter if we are aware of it or not.

The Dehydration Epidemic
Jaime Larese
Our first step to improving a myriad of health problems is understanding dehydration and how much water we need to be drinking daily to maintain our fragile health.

What's Endangering Our Earth?
Jeff Hernandez
The everyday items that are meant to facilitate our lives, in fact may be harming us more than we bargained for. Organic chemicals are extremely cheap to produce and are very effective in their job functions.

Looking Forward to Clean Energy
Jon Heinrich
Fortunately, solutions exist and if we are able to raise awareness and convince our policy makers to consider it a priority, we can all look forward to a bright, energy-rich future instead of one marked by environmental, political, and social disaster.
Aaron Ades
You don't need to save for a rainy day if you create a system that is in harmony with the needs of the human animal. Create what you need and eliminate the reliance on things you cannot create.
Ten Things You Can Do to Help Your Earth
Chrystie Hopkins
Whether you live in New York City or Big Fork, Montana, everyday decisions that you make can impact the environment. The revolution starts at home. Here are ten things that you can do to help save YOUR world.
Derek Gumuchian
We are all one. In this article we explore the idea of the Earth as an entire entitiy and as our mother.
The Fabulous Sylvan Sisters
Dan Berthiaume
An hour later, Donna was lazily reclining in the passenger seat of Melinda's cherry red Volkswagen New Beetle, consuming a brunch consisting of a can of Diet Pepsi and a low-tar cigarette...
è bella Designs in Peru
Michael Weintrob
Photographer Michael Weintrob travels to Peru with è bella Designs, to capture how è bella has helped to revive the art of weaving and the Peruvuian economy.
Rough Around the Edges
Jonathan Alsop

Technically, first thing in the morning is the very best time to taste wine since your palate is fresh and unviolated. But I don't do it: the sight of daddy in his bathrobe on a Sunday morning slogging down a half-dozen bottles of wine could stay with a child.

Show Review:
Pete Pidgeon & Arcoda—Six Years of friends, funk and crack horns.
Jon Heinrich
Pete Pidgeon & Arcoda celebrate six years as a band by playing at Boston's Harpers Ferry. Opening up for Arcoda was Color and Talea and Caveman. 4/4/04.

CD Reviews:

Empty Food
Kerry Rumore
Fish Pond &
The Little Prince Discovers a Rose
Katie Molnar

Selections by Brian Gagné:

  • [It Fails to Pass]
  • Fever/Lever
  • Grief
  • Smallness annihilated in the scope of puzzlement
  • Untitled A

Spring Issue Launch
Club Europa,
Feb. 19, 2004

State of the Art,
Oct. 23, 2003

Portland, Maine
Aug. 30, 2003

Premier Launch,
Zeitgeist Gallery,
Aug. 14, 2003
















































































Check out these sites to help leverage your voice and save the earth!

Move On—


Natural Resources Defense Council—

Sierra Club—

Save Our Environment: A National Coalition for the Environment—

League of Conservation Voters—


Ten ways that you can change YOUR world

Chrystie Hopkins
Published 5/15/04

In July of 2002 I was driving from Philadelphia to Cape May, New Jersey. I was going to the Jersey shore to go to my cousin’s wedding. I had fond memories of visiting Cape May when I was younger, and I was looking forward to the trek back.

The first thing that struck me about the Jersey shore was the congestion. To people living in New Jersey, NYC and Philly, the Jersey shore is the promise land.

When we finally got up to a cruising speed, we were quickly cut off and nearly run off the road. The car zoomed in front of us, and as the driver pulled his maneuvers, the passenger proceeded to toss his garbage out the window.

Of course my reaction was anything but calm. I remember turning to my boyfriend, with my jaw dropped, I gasped, “Did you see that?”

A couple of miles up the road the space began to open up as the ocean waterways cut into the land with more frequency. It was beautiful and green. You could smell the ocean air. I spotted a fisherman, wading in an inlet. As my eyes naturally flowed from the sight of the fisherman to the rest of the area, my eyes stopped immediately. I could not believe what I was seeing. This man was fishing in the shadow of a nuclear power plant’s cooling tower!

At this point, I was seriously disturbed. This is the vacation Mecca of the east coast? With the tolls that we paid to get over to Cape May and back, our tour of the promise land, cost about $25.

On our return trip to Boston, we took the Garden State Parkway. A gigantic, congested highway that runs through the most populated and wasted part of the United States. The tri-state area is the home to 22 million people.

After traveling about a mile in an hour, we decided to pull off at the first rest stop that we saw. The line for gas was about thirty cars deep. The parking lot of the rest area was so enormous that it looked like the lot for a mall. The first open spot we could find was about 15 rows back. I stepped out of the car to find myself ankle deep in trash. Mostly McDonald’s bags, cups and wrappers. I waded through the trash and finally made it to the rest room.

The point of this story is not that nuclear power is bad (out for debate), or that McDonald’s produces a lot of waste (although they do), or even that the Jersey shore is an ugly place (it’s actually really beautiful). My point is that so many people do not see that the decisions they make influence the environment. Or they simply do not care. Imagine how much better the shore would be if people stopped throwing their trash out the window, or if there was less air pollution? Imagine.

Whether you live in New York City or Big Fork, Montana, everyday decisions that you make can impact the environment. The revolution starts at home. It starts with awareness, and gains fruition with action. Start today and help save that place on earth that it special to you. Whether it is the Jersey shore, the waters of Lake Michigan, the top of Longs Peak or the beaches of La Jolla. Help save YOUR world.

Below are ten simple enviro-friendly actions that you can implement in your life.

1. Recycle: Recycling has become easier and more common. Almost every community now offers recycling programs. Some are paid for by the city and others require payment. Unfortunately, there are many waste products that cannot be recycled. If you accidentally included a non-recyclable piece of plastic or metal with the other products, it can damage the machines that melt and sort. Your local recycling company should provide you with a detailed list of what can and cannot be recycled. Visit, www.obviously.com/recycle for more information.

2. Buy bulk: Buying bulk goods eliminates the packaging waste that most products produce. You local Whole Foods, or natural foods store should have a large selection of bulk goods. You can buy everything from pastas, to beans, oatmeal, granola, dried fruit, and candy.

3. Turn off the lights: It as simple as the flip of a switch, literally. Turn off lights, appliances, televisions, stereos, and computers if you are not using them. When you leave the house, make sure the lights are off. When you are home, don’t have every light on. Putting dimmers on your lights helps to reduce the amount of energy used. (Not to mention creates some great mood lighting). The popular “tiki style” halogen lamps use more energy than the standard light bulb, whether they are dimmed or not. If you are not watching the T.V. then turn it off. If you fall asleep to the T.V., or music, use the sleep mode so that it turns off after you are quitely asleep. This simple rule can save energy and money on your monthly utility bill.

4. Walk or ride a bike: It’s Friday night, you want to rent a movie from your neighborhood Blockbuster. The store is about .5 miles away. What do you do? Most people would hop in their car, cruise over to the store and cruise back. Why? It would take you ten minutes to walk. Considering you are going to be sitting on your ass for two and a half hours watching the movie, is it so unreasonable to walk for twenty minutes? Or ride a bike, which would take just as long as driving. We are too dependent on our cars. A simple change of mindset to walk if you can, rather than drive, will help to wean you off of the dependence. An energy crisis is just around the corner. Owning a car is a privilege, not a right. As a society, we have been abusing our privilege. Stop being lazy and walk or ride. Check out www.bikewalk.org.

5. Re-use: If you own something that works perfectly, it’s not broken, it looks good, serves its function, then don’t buy a new one. It’s simple; if it ain’t broke, then don’t replace it. Or, if you can fix it, then don’t replace it. Technology has convinced us that we need the newest, biggest, and best. If you already own a wide screen television that works great, then why would you need a flat screen TV? Because technology has brain washed you into think that you “need” it because it is the best? Everyday I hear people use the excuse that it costs more to fix something then to just buy a new one. This is not about cost, it is about eliminating waste. We have watched TV repairmen, cobblers, and tailors disappear. Everything we purchase is temporary and will only serve our needs until they break or tear, and then we return to the mall and spend MORE money that we paid on the last item. We replace a pair of shoes that would cost $10 to repair with a pair of new $60 shoes. We abandon our VCR (that works fine) for a DVD player. Here is a great link where you can participate in the “reuse” community: www.ebay.com. Brilliant!

6. Put on a sweater, sweat it out: It’s cold in Boston. New England winters are frigid, wet, and long. Many a night, I have come in from the cold commute home and wanted to crank up the heat to 75 degrees. The thing is, it is winter. Put on a wool sweater and fleece pants instead of turning up the heat. This simple change in fashion makes the monthly energy bill a lot easier to stomach. To see that the amount of therms that we used was less than last year is really satisfying. Unlike some of the other items on this list, heat and energy are two things that come directly out of your pocket. If you decide to crank the heat, not only will the earth be paying for it, so will you.

The same goes for using the air conditioner. So many people run to the comfort of the AC. If you have ever been a part of a blackout or energy loss during a heat wave, you know that it is a direct result of all the cranking ACs. The AC is a greater drain on energy than anything else. If you own a window AC and need to use it, make sure that your space is secured so that none of the air is being lost. Don’t have windows open. Try to cool a specific room instead of the entire apartment. Think about if it is really necessary to have an AC in EVERY room. The thing is that our bodies need the opportunity to adjust to the heat. The first heat wave is usually the worst, but with some ventilation and flow of air using fans, your home can be cooled to a reasonable level, and then your body can do the rest. Just try it, you may be surprised how the 80 degrees in June, just some how is not as painful in August.

Check out information on conservation and alternative energy at www.cleanpower.org or www.eere.energy.gov.

7. Don’t leave water running: There have been those that have said that turning the water off while you brush your teeth really does not save enough water to make a difference. But is it that hard to do? Even if I save a pint of water a day, that is worth it. Shaving is another water waster. Ladies, shaving in the shower while the water is still running is an incredible waste of water. Use a little water in the tub instead. There is no reason to take 30 minute long showers. Guys, the same goes for you while shaving. If you own a dishwasher, don’t run it until it is full. If you can hand wash it instead, do it. If you own a washing machine, don’t run a load with one item in it, wait until you at least have a small load ready. Visit www.awwa.org for more water conservation tips.

8. Why an SUV?: If you do not haul a boat, or go on four-wheel outdoor adventures, then don’t own an SUV. These gas-guzzling vehicles are so inefficient for a single commuter driving to work. The average medium sized SUV gets 15 mpg, while the equivalent medium sized car gets 23 mpg. Many people enjoy the room that an SUV provides. Some smaller vehicles offer a lot of legroom and comfort. Shop around and really think about your decision before you decide to buy an inefficient vehicle. I encourage everyone to explore some of the alternative fuel choices on the market, including the Honda Insight, and the Toyota Prius. Visit the Alternative Fuel Data Center at www.doe.gov for information from car manufacturers about their investment in alternative fuel and what types of vehicles they offer. In addition to these gasoline alternatives there is also a movement to use Bio-diesel. This alternative fuel, which is made from soybean oil, can be used in any Diesel engine made after 2000 without any modifications. Check out www.grassolean.com for more information about bio-diesel.

9. Don’t litter, duh!: No one likes a littler bug! When I traveled to Japan a few years ago, there was one thing that struck me the most; how clean it was. We were staying in Tokyo, which is the most populated city in the world at 33 million residents, and the place was spotless. As a culture, the Japanese still believe very much in honor and respect. Part of this is to respect where you live. It always blows my mind to see someone trashing his or her own neighborhood by throwing waste on the ground. This includes cigarette butts, spit, and urine.

There are two very easy ways to combat litter. 1. Don’t throw your trash on the ground 2. If you see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up and deposit it in a proper receptacle. Teach others that littering is not an option. Encourage local businesses (bars, restaurants) to put ashtrays and trashcans outside. Lobby for more public trashcans on the streets and in parks. Often times if there was a trash can in sight, then the trash would not make it onto the ground.

10. Vote green: The government can do more to harm or help the environment in one vote, or signature, than all 280 million U.S. residents combined could ever do. Unless, we all vote. Voting for local, state and federal officials that have a track record of protecting the environment is the most important thing that you can do. Get involved in environmental groups, petition against those wanting to relax environmental regulations, learn more about current legislation, and preserve the land that you love. Here are some great organizations that can help you learn more about voting for the environment.

Chrystie Hopkins



Meniscus Magazine © 2004. All material is property of respective artists.