A Duck In The Distance | Issue No. 18

They say We Didn’t Start the Fire, but they’ve also always said that we invented fire and made such a big deal about it being this major turning point in evolutionary history, because fire made everything possible. So much so, that we started all these little fires and used them to cook food, form society, burn down the rainforest, invent the printing press and turn on the first light bulb. And eventually, we used our little fires to invent new ways of making new kinds of fire, so that we could melt plastic, spread democracy, spread plastic, melt ice sheets and make printers that print things out of plastic. So, it seems like we not only definitely started the fire, but that it was one of the biggest things we’d ever started until we started the Internet, which we’ve famously used to ruin all the parts of humanity that we hadn’t already covered in plastic and torched.

Regardless of who started the fire (us, unequivocally), the defining fact of our modern human existence is that it’s up to us to put it out. And we’re up to the challenge. Over half of the country’s registered voters support The Green New Deal and millions of people took to worldwide streets last month to stand and to shout in defense of the planet in the biggest environmental action in history. 

And while we’re also putting out tiny fires in our own lives with our metal straws, reusable cotton rounds and hilariously ill-informed, aspirational attempts at recycling, we can’t help but grieve the peace, love, unity and respect that used to exist between our mother (Earth) and us (her shitty children) and wonder how we might mend our broken home. And so we did what we always do: grabbed our microphones, went outside, and asked Brooklyn if things were getting serious with the environment, or if we’re all just friends with endangered benefits.

This month, we’re defining the relationship we’re in with the planet. 

You gotta have Park!.. in Brooklyn, USA.

Dissolving Down
By Lindsay Skedgell

Amy Cunningham is a death educator who works with those in grief to send their loved ones off with meaning. Through her work with green burials and cremation, Amy is re-shaping the way that traditional end-of-life practices are approached and carried out, with a focus on sustainability and accessibility. Forgoing the chemicals, hardware, and prohibitively expensive burial plots it often takes to preserve the human form, Amy opts instead to view death as an opportunity for reconnection with the earth. Producer Lindsay Skedgell caught up with her in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery, to explore the history of post-death practices and the recent shift to cremation and green burials.

Between A Human And A Fish
By Reva Goldberg

Under the sea of jet skis, ferries, and booze cruises whipping around Brooklyn’s waterways, lies a diverse ecosystem of marine life. Back on land, Tanasia Swift works with schools and communities across the city to keep up with the creatures of the New York deep. Each year, Tanasia and her team at the Billion Oyster Project lead the Great Fish Count as part of the World Science Festival, numbering fish and inspiring New Yorkers to see their Harbor in a new light. This summer, producer Reva Goldberg joined the team at Bush Terminal Park, as they tallied 275 living creatures, spanning 26 different species, and hit a five-year high for winter flounder.

These Rocks Don’t Belong Here
By James Dinneen

Millions of years ago, a sheet of ice thousands of feet thick formed over North America. It crept south as it expanded, eventually reaching and covering most of New York. Eighteen-hundred years ago, the glacier began to recede, but not without leaving its mark on the landscape: a line of rubble stretching across the northern United States that cuts directly through the heart of Brooklyn. Producer James Dinneen met up with geologist Guillermo Rocha in Prospect Park to learn what the glacier left behind and why.


These Things Have Been Growing For Years
By Brian Vines + Emily Boghossian

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden was built on a coal ash dump in Crown Heights over a century ago to ensure that future Brooklynites would have access to green spaces. Today, the garden is home to over 8,000 different plant species, including rare and endangered cacti, orchids and bonsai. But Crown Heights is gentrifying, and the plants and people who live in the shadow of its changing skyline are facing the extinction of their generational home. BRIC TV’s Brian Vines and producer Emily Boghossian journeyed into the flowers to shed some light on the neighborhood’s recent developments. Brian and his team are taking on climate change in Brooklyn on this season of Going In With Brian Vines. Check out the trailer below, and tune into BRIC TV on Wednesday nights at 8pm for more.

Bloom Again Brooklyn
By Kritzie Roberts & Khyriel Palmer

Founded by Caroline Gates-Anderson, BloomAgainBklyn takes unsold or gently-used flowers and crafts them into beautifully uplifting experiences for those who need them most. Producers Kritzie Roberts and Khyriel Palmer followed the Bloom Again Team to PS 29 in Cobble Hill to join the eco-friendly fun.

Brooklyn, USA is produced by Sachar Mathias, Emily Boghossian, Shirin Barghi, Khyriel Palmer, Sasha Whittle and Charlie Hoxie. We’re tackling everything from gun violence to cooperative economics this season and we want to hear from you. If you want in, send us tips, pitches, thoughts, ideas, self-destructing messages, or just regular normal emails and check out our pitch page for more information.