The Times They are A-Changin

The main theme behind the articles seems to be summed up best by “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism”.  “Do you, then, wish to waste all your best powers in this eternal and futile worship of the past, from which you emerge fatally exhausted, shrunken, and beaten down?”  In other words, why remain stuck in the past when the future is what will save us?

In “Incinerators vs Zero Waste: Energy to the Climate”, it’s understandable to want to move toward the future to protect the earth’s environment.  By ultimately getting rid of landfills and incinerators and replacing them with “waste to energy” plants quite a portion of greenhouse gases can be decreased.  “Fuel from Waste, Poised at Milestone”, is very similar in that it offers a new efficient way of making fuel that will release fewer greenhouse gases and are made from compost.

It is also understandable that architecture be made to help improve our living style.  However, it seems that the author of “Manifesto Futurist Architecture,” is not so concerned with this.  In fact, more or less, he is preoccupied with the art of future architecture.  What I find hard to understand is, why is this so important?  The author seems to think that architecture now is just a copy of the past. The only difference is the new materials used.  He insists that a new style of architecture be started to “invent and rebuild the Futurist city like an immense and tumultuous shipyard agile, mobile and dynamic in every detail.”  How is the image of a building going to improve our society by being environmentally friendly?  Is there any point to this argument?  Is not the copying of old architecture styles through the use of different supplies a type of art in itself?

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A Call for Futurism

In the “Manifesto of Futurist Architecture,” Sant’Elias discusses the problem of architecture being unoriginal and unchanging. His main complaint is that architecture has just become a mesh of classic designs from the Greeks, Byzantine, Japanese, etc. He boldly mocks the architecture during the 1900s as just a “moronic mixture of the most various stylistic elements.” As a futurist himself, he states that modern architecture should keep progressing and new forms and styles should be discovered and utilized. How do you feel about architecture in the post modernism era? Do you share similar sentiments as Sant’Elias?

In a similar sense, “The Futurist Manifest” by Marinetti passionately calls for the launch of futuristic art and the rejuvenation of Italy.  He strikes up a comparison between old and new times. He compares admiring the old forms to “pour[ing] our sensibility into a funeral urn.”  He focuses in on an interesting point that humans have the need for change and struggle as “beauty exists only in struggle.” He names this also as a reason for our glorification of war. To what extent is his statement true? Is struggle necessary for happiness?


How easy is a greener tomorrow?

“Let us make an end of monumental, funereal and
commemorative architecture. Let us overturn monuments,
pavements, arcades and flights of steps; let us sink the streets
and squares; let us raise the level of the city,” -Antonio Sant’Elia.

The key element of futurism is to transform society into an idealistically efficient one; to get rid of the old and come in with the new. Perhaps such a radical change proposed by the two authors of futurism aren’t in any bit realistic, but the idea of progress and accepting change is one that society needs to adopt in order to make a greener tomorrow.

Technology has progressed faster than ever and we are living in a rapidly changing world, but how quickly will we ingrain sustainable lifestyles into our global human culture? The author of “Incinerators vs Zero Waste: Energy and the Climate,” proposes the realistic idea of simple tasks that can be practiced in order to make a large difference. For example, if we recycled paper, we would decrease the demand for wood and deforestation, which is responsible for 25% of carbon emissions.

Let’s not forget the fact that large corporations KiOR are building large plants that create fuels from wastes, contributing greatly to the reduction of pollution, but the impact would be incomparable to the participation of every citizen in saving the environment, starting from the community. Although this may be unrealistic, with time, political influence, the creation of incentives and the improvement of technology, we will see greater participation in the near future.

My question is this: What do we have to do incorporate recycling into our culture locally and internationally? Will it come naturally with time? Will rapid radical futurist change ever work?


To burn or not to burn?

Many companies nowadays are figuring out new and eco-friendly ways to remove waste. However, some people, as mentioned in the article, “Incinerators vs Zero Waste: Energy and the Climate,” thinks that this is called “greenwashing.” They believe that incinerator and landfill industries are making a profit from the climate crisis by making renewable energy by “greenwashing” trash. Incinerating, instead of recycling, is bad for the environment even though companies like KiOR, in the article, “Alternative Fuels’ Long-Delayed Promise Might Be Near Fruition,” states that it’s good for the environment. They have developed a way to mix shredded wood waste to generate fuel.

KiOR states that their fuel made from burning the waste will release one-sixth the amount of carbon dioxide than the other fuels burned. However, GAIA states that by just burning these materials, it releases high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and wastes energy too.

Companies like Ineos, a European oil and chemical company, is making a plant in Florida that would burn wood and woody garbage that breaks into hydrogen and carbon monoxide. These molecules will be turned and used to make ethanol. The company spent about $130 million on the pant and it’s supposed to make eight million gallons a year, which is only about 1 percent of Florida’s demand.

So the question is, do you think that it incinerating is a good thing or bad for the environment? Do you think companies really are trying to help the environment or just put money in their pockets? Do you think that these companies are profitable or useful considering the amount of money that are used in making it and the amount of energy they produce?


Waste-To-Energy: What Works and What Doesn’t

The article titled, “Incinerators vs. Zero Waste” points out how waste companies in the incinerator and landfill industries have been gaining access to certain subsidies by “greenwashing’ [their methods of] waste disposal “as a source of clean and renewable energy around the globe.” Yet in reality, these methods of waste management can release more greenhouse gases – like CO2 and methane – into the atmosphere than powerplant.

At the same time, Matthew Wald’s article highlighted several companies who have received federal incentives in order to further develop and commercialize their methods of producing alternative fuels from agricultural and wood waste. The article argues that commercial production of these alternative biofuels could be “a major milestone in renewable energy.” Furthermore, energy experts maintain that, “eventually renewable motor fuel could have a much bigger impact on the United States economy than renewable electricity from wind farms or solar cells.”

With that being said, there have been many other breakthroughs in alternative methods of waste management – Does this method sound more or less promising and do you think that the commercialization of this process will finally break the “long string of overly optimistic promises made by the industry and government?”

Another thought: this method of producing alternative biofuels seems like it is currently limited to wood waste. In that case, do these companies deserve more government support and financial incentives? Or should the government also focus on other problems, like putting a stop to incinerating and landfilling organic waste?

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