Does it affect you?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

Have you been affected by recent events? What would Ben do?

IMAGE: Many thanks, again this week, to Time4Change, this time via the Pinterest “Social Justice Quotes” pinboard, for this illustrated quote from Benjamin Franklin.

Water on wheels

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest 

Nippon Basic founder Yuichi Katsuura demonstrates
the Cycloclean bike-mounted water purifier.

During “Social Justice February” I’ve been looking at innovative ways to deliver safe, clean, affordable water to populations that need it. 

The United Nations recognizes access to good water as a basic human right–and it isn’t only in developing nations where it’s a problem.

Remember Flint, MI, where problems with lead contamination in the water will unfortunately continue to be an issue for several more years.

Providing good water in times of disaster is a particular challenge, and that was the spur for innovation that created the Cycloclean, a product of the Nippon Basic Co., Ltd. It’s a kinetic water-purifier mounted on a bicycle.

How does it work? Well, first of all, it can go anywhere you can ride (or push) a bicycle, so it’s pretty portable. It uses no gasoline or other fuel (except pedal-power), so it’s entirely eco-friendly (though possibly not so leg-friendly).

Park it next to a water source, insert the hose, then prop up the bike on its stand (one website called them the bike’s “crutches,”) and hop on for some vigorous pedaling.

This pumps the water up the hose, into the purification filters, and out to whatever catch-vessel you have–cans, jars, or maybe one of last week’s Hippo Water Rollers.

The biggest drawback to the Cycloclean right now is its price. Though it varies from country to country, it costs several thousand dollars for one unit. So far, the main customers have been local Japanese governments, especially in mountain villages. But the company also has been expanding into Bangladesh and elsewhere, and prices are coming down.

IMAGES: Many thanks to InfoHeaps, for the photo of Katsuura on the Cycloclean and the “Simple Overview” diagram. The close-up of the filters on the bike is courtesy of The Rakyat Post, via BaikBike, and the side-view of the bike with the unit mounted on it is from the Leonard J Kovar’s Self Sufficiency Off-the-Grid Survival post “Cool Water Purification Gadgets,” which also features the LifeStraw. Thanks very much to all!

The ‘medicinal art’ of Ricardo Levins Morales

I’ve been wanting to round out my mid-week “Social Justice February” posts with art–and I’ve found the perfect “poster man” for the topic. He is Ricardo Levins Morales. You may find that you recognize his work, but even if you don’t I hope you enjoy it.

Trayvon Martin-Ella Baker
I had seen this image before, but never knew who the artist was.

Posters have a long history in art. They haven’t always been appreciated for the art form they are, of course–Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, for example was scorned by other artists for his commercialism when he created what are now considered iconic images. And Alphonse Mucha tried to distance himself, later in life, from the Art Nouveau style he helped create with his marvelous posters.

Budget Priorities speaks to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Ricardo Levins Morales, by contrast, has embraced the art of the poster-style image in his own unique way. The artist/activist has turned it into what he calls “medicinal art.” What does that mean?

History’s Perspective offers hope in an unjust world.

“when I work with any community I start with a diagnosis,” he explains in his online biography. “I ask what it is that keeps this group of people from knowing their power and acting on it. Not what has been done to them but wounds, fears or ways of thought keep folks immobilized.”

We Are the Mainstream

His work embraces social justice, the environment, empowerment for a variety of minority groups, and labor issues. I’ve collected a “mini-gallery” of some of my favorites here, but you can see many, many more wonderful pieces at his Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio website.

Environmental Justice

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio for all of the images shown in this post. I’ve linked each back to a page where you can purchase the image if you wish. Many are available in at least two formats.

What is evil?

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

When better to speak than now?

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Time4Change Facebook page, for this illustrated quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

A different kind of “water wheel”

The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

This month the Images of Interest have been exploring better ways for people around the world to gain better access to clean, safe water–defined by the UN as a basic human right, but out of reach for millions, if not billions (different sources cite different numbers) of people all over the world.

Previous posts have discussed ways to make the water safe to drink, via LifeStraws and ceramic water purifiers but before you can clean it you have to get it. 

And bring it home.

Some people in “undeveloped” parts of the world may spend up to a quarter of their lives hauling water.

Enter the Hippo Water RollerThis reimagined child of a water barrel and a wheelbarrow holds about five times as much as the average bucket, and was designed by two South Africans who grew up in rural areas, Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker.

They’ve been making them since 1991. As of mid-2016, some 50,000 of them had been distributed to more than 20 countries, and countless lives have been improved.

I guess that’s just the way they roll.*

*Augh! Sorry! Couldn’t resist.

VIDEO: Many thanks to Hippo Roller’s Flickr Photostream for the still shot of Hippo Water Roller users in action, and to Insider on YouTube for the Hippo Water Roller video. And a tip of the hat to Warren Whitlock (@WarrenWhitlock) for alerting me to this ingenious solution to an age-old problem!

Yet more evidence that dogs are wonderful

The other day I came upon what I think is a wonderful story from the Denver, Colorado area. I’ve shared stories about a variety of service dogs on this blog, but this is the first “facility dog” I’ve encountered. 

This is one way that Pella helps comfort child witnesses, out of sight of the jury.

This program in Colorado was born of the persistent vision and efforts of criminal investigator Amber Urban, who got the idea from the Courthouse Dogs program in Seattle, WA. Over time, the Arapahoe County Courthouse has become one of several courthouses and child-services facilties where Pella and others like her are now accepted.

Pella helps children feel more empowered during what can be an extremely stressful interview or turn on the witness stand. The interviewers make a point of letting the child decide if Pella should be there or not (giving him or her a bit of control, in what is almost guaranteed to be a frightening, out-of-control experience).

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Denver Post’s excellent 8/18/2016 article about Pella and the “facility dogs” program in Colorado, by John Wenzel, from which some of the background material for this post was drawn, for the photo of Pella in “stealth mode” on the witness stand, and to YouTube, OakwoodNS, and KUSA for the 2012 video clip about Pella.

Feeling powerless?

The Artdog Quote of the Week: 

It is always appropriate to speak up, when we see a wrong. It may be hard or inconvenient, but the alternative is far, far worse.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Rescue Her (a group dedicated to fighting human trafficking) for this quote from Elie Weisel.