Monthly Archives: April 2017

Erica’s Final Project

For my final project I am creating a children’s book.

Title: Clay and The Change in the Iowa River


Setting: The Iowa River

Prairie- In the beginning it is just the fish and the other animals. The land is filled with rich prairie, and the water is very clear, so clear that the fish looks up to the sky (reference to clean air.)

Then settlers come – they seem harmless at first, but then changes in the environment begin to change– (first their animals and the people just drink from the stream/wash their clothes in it. Then before the fish knows it everything is industrialized-imagery of factory, runoff, and lack of prairie. (quick change).)

Regenerative (restoring the prairie, converting to organic farming (minimize nitrides in the water from lack of pesticide and fertilizer use, Clay notes the bugs returning), houses begin using grey water, VFI are installed in lake, people CHOSE to not dump in the lake


Main character: -oldest fish in the word – Name:  Clay(reference to soil of earth.)

Asher, Clay’s friend

Other important characters: Sage – (meaning “wise one”) child who befriends Clay and Asher


Important Notes:

-Emphasis on fish life being comparatively long to the settlement of humans

-rich prairie, deep root structures, a lot of animal life

-its ok when settlers first come, but the change happens quickly

-the change (what humans did to the environment)

-change only gets worse and worse, but the fish keeps on living

-Clay has a friend Asher who becomes sick from agricultural run off
-little girl is by the water, Sage, and she notices Clay in the water

-Sage is a very mature little girl with little friends They have a conversation

-Sage decides to involve her family who raises awareness about Clay’s friend Asher becoming sick

-Asher’s story inspires the family to convert from industrialized arg. To organic farming

-the family changing their way of farming inspires other farmers to change their farming habits, eventually leading to a cultural shift in farming that aims to work with the earth instead of against it

-the book ends years later after the fish continues to live and he is having a conversation with Sage, who is now grown up and owns her mother’s farm, where she explains all the changes that have happened in the agricultural world




Mac’s Project Excerpt

For my presentation I will have a live skit performed by myself and two other actors. The premise of the skit revolves around an interview with “Jason” who is on the show “Alt-News with Pat Riot” to promote his national best-seller “Ecopolis”. What ensues is a deconstruction of attacks and insults thrown at by Pat towards Jason, where we find out how cities across the world have led the way in progress towards regenerative cities.

Here’s an excerpt:

Pat Riot:
Welcome back to Alt-News! Where our Egos are fragile and the news may not always include facts or science! I’m your host, Pat Riot! Today I’m joined by author and local hippie, Jason Gentry. You may have heard about their latest book – “Ecopolis (We Want It Back)” which has not only become the biggest seller of the year, but it’s become a national phenomena. Please welcome Jason!

*Interviewee comes in off stage*
*Host presses button to start booing track*
*Interviewee looks at host with dissaproval*

Jason: Really? I haven’t even sat down.


Don’t worry, you should have seen when we had Leonardo DiCaprio on the show.
Interviewee cautiously sits down, unbuttons coat


So, this Ecopolis thing, is it some new hippie slang the elitists came up with recently?


Well actually Pat, the idea behind it has been around from even before you or your grandparents were even born.


Oh really? I find that hard to believe.


No really, an Ecopolis is a regenerative city that has it’s urban consumption directly support and regenerate the ecosystem around it, it’s what we’ve had before Petropolises.

Maggie’s Final Project

 I interviewed Blair Frank, climate activist and co-founder of Gaia’s Peace Garden in Iowa City and took a tour of the garden. My project will be a video about the garden, regenerative living, and being a water protector.


Here’s a few clips:

“There’s five grannies that are gonna go on trial…They were arrested the same day as my wife was. That’s an absurdity in the spotlight. If our system was working, would our grandmothers be on trial?”


“When it comes to oil…well, I’m working on it. I have ten solar panels. I have an electric car….There is so much alternative energy…when we find our collective voice…the people are going to demand the CEOs, the masters of energy, that now is time. Their pants are down. We know what’s going on. You’ve hidden the free energy…There is energy in the air. There’s energy everywhere! We don’t need fossil fuels anymore! We do not need them! Anybody that tells you different, tell them to turn their TV off and come over to Gaia’s and talk to me. ”


Update on Dawson’s Final Project

So it has been very tedious drawing this book project. I am an artist, so I have to make sure that the drawings reflect the story line, and each picture represents the message I am trying to get across for this project–not only to myself, but to my targeted audience whom are young of age. As I do have experience doing this, I forgot how much I put into making a book.

My original idea was to do an animated cartoon, and not a book, because it has been a long goal of mine to do that. But making a book is cool. The language aspect of it, which is what I initially wanted, is something that would take a long time to do, because translating is a hard to do. Our language is very descriptive, unlike the English language, where red means red. When a person says red, one is to automatically picture something red, an apple or a dress. Not only that, but then there is the recording aspect, where I’d have to find somebody who knows how to properly speak and get them to record the sentences. Our language is dying out, so it would be harder to find somebody to find the time to come and do this, especially if I wanted to portray a young person, I’d have to have a young person come and do this, which would be harder, because they probably don’t know the language. Our language is a breath language, so even the way you breathe or let out a breath, could change the whole meaning of the word. So it is a little more difficult then I imagined to do, and I will continue to pursue that goal, long after this project is complete.

I have been drawing like a madman trying to make this project the best I can with what little I have and with what little time I have, as I have been dealing with a lot here at home. It’s hard to get my head back into school, when my family and community have endured so much in the past month. I have done my best to focus on school, but my family and community will always come before anything. That is something that can’t be compromised. However, I have been thinking and working on this project because I have made that commitment, and also because I do not want to let the rest of the group down. So I ask for your patience, and know that I am doing my best to give you a great product. I strive to make you all proud, and to represent my culture to the best of my ability.

I am super blessed to have been a part of this project and to be with you all, you have all inspired me to be better, each and every class, and to learn more about the climate, and to understand the importance of taking care of not only the planet, but ourselves.

I have learned so much from this class, (you’re all dope in my book) and hope that you all continue in your journey to make our planet a better place, not only for us, but for future generations. Anyway, I just wanted to post about my project and it is coming along…I just have to color somethings in, and work on my sentences….I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my artwork, and my books. But I will have it done, no doubt. I can’t wait to see everyone else’s work.

Alejandro’s Project Finalized

Here’s a short clip of the project I’ll be presenting next Wednesday, May 3rd. Here are the first four scenes out of eleven scenes from my play. The play explores the psychological impact of climate change on us, the main character reverses this psychological impact on him with different techniques and methods that can help reduce our impact on the environment, including; carbon neutral neighborhoods, recycling and renewable energy, to name a few.

Scene 1: The introduction to the problem

[Everything is dark and all of the sudden the narrator starts to talk, as he starts to talk the light slowly start to shine more and more on stage, pointing at the character. At this time the character is facing a computer and giving his back to the audience]

[Introduce audio about typing keyboards]

Scene 2: Student sees video

[The video starts playing on the projector that’s on top of the character, so the audience can see what he is seeing. The video is about extreme climate events caused by climate change.]

Scene 3: Student Assimilates video

[After the video is done the character grabs his head and shakes it like in disbelief of what he has seen. Then the lights start to dim, till it is all dark and quiet]

Scene 4: Arrival of first friend

[One of his friends enters the room, a light will then point at the friend, and we will be illuminated until he walks on stage. Also as soon as the light shines on the friend when he enters the room, so will a weak light pointing at the main character. Once the friends enter the stage, the whole stage will be illuminated.]

[His friend makes eye contact with the main character and at that moment the friend pulls out a can of beer, at which same time there is an audio that resembles a party.]

[The depressed main character shakes his head, rejecting his friend idea. And asks his friend to leave, by pointing to the exit of the stage. The friend looks confused and rejected but follows his friends desire and exits the stage. Once he exits the stage the light stops following him. But one other light still remains on the main character.]




Hip Hop and Climate Change

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and We Gon’ Be Alright, about hip hop culture and its impact on political issues.

Jeff stated that before we can make political change, we have to make cultural change, and that happens in communities like breaking and hip hop.

During our discussion, we explored breaking and how it can be interpreted as almost an act of defiance or rebellion towards political movements. For example, in South Korea, many professional bboys surrender their dancing careers after they are forced into the military. So many Korean have a very different mentality than other groups because culturally, bboying is used to express themselves before they are forced into the military and consequently lose some of their individuality.

My colleagues, Maciek Chuchra and Dawson Davenport, both felt as inspired as I did after our talk with Jeff. His words helped contextualize some of our projects and sparked new avenues for us to explore. I’ll especially keep in mind what we talked about in regards to hip hop with my final project: discussing climate change through breaking.

Natalie’s Project Excerpt: Is nature mad at me?

The poem below, Is nature mad at me, is part of an inter-active and multimedia website design.

Is Nature Mad at Me? Poem/audio^

is nature mad at me?

i feel like nature’s mad at me

i don’t even know what i did

to sour her breath to an acid stench

to ruffle her feathers with sticky tar

to blow her top to smithereens


seems like she has a bone to pick with me

bornean orangutan bones

white rhino bones

siberian tiger bones


but i cant see where this is coming from

the nature i remember is gentle and kind

but lately she’s been turning up the heat

and the water she’s offering is a sickly green


“we’re cool, though—

–right?” i say to her

but i can feel sweat on the back of my neck

and I feel uneasy

and my breath makes a slight wheeze

because my city is a fishbowl

fogging up with chemical steam


natures mad at me


but dont you think

shes acting a little extra

with the extra n and p and co2

with the extra shakes and quakes

and 50 foot waves


im not the one with the problem

i didn’t do anything wrong

i just

forgot we made plans


maybe i got caught up

in the petro-party

the neon trees and plastic cities

but friendships don’t heal by turning over the spotted leaf

friendships don’t heal by removing the harpoon from the bloodied back


nature’s not mad at me

nature’s pissed



i think that’s her calling me right now

should i answer

or just let it ring

Jack’s Project Excerpt

Here’s a peak into the project I’ll be presenting next Wednesday, May 3rd. This is the first of three poems exploring the human narrative in climate change through the lens of the Emerald Ash Borer and the regenerative city.

1. Hinterland

The sun hung, swinging in the still,
sprawling a field in light.
Stalks of corn were left mangled
in dirt to freeze with winter.
The rusting corpse of a thresher
lay like a dull green elephant, poached.
Angry men of industry
leveled the horizon of limbs.
Somewhere between sky and thaw
the ash borer yells
“I’m sorry everything is falling apart,
I just needed a home,”
and the crop lines hunched over
the northern bow breaking the distance.
They’re marching towards tundra, the Arctic,
or somewhere else.