Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
When the sun hits 20 Fenchurch Street, a 37-story London skyscraper, at just the right angle, it turns the uniquely designed building into a $300 million heat ray. At this time of year, the effect — an intense beam of light as hot as 70 degrees Celsius, or 158 degrees Farenheit– lasts for as many as two hours per day, scorching pedestrians, starting fires, and even melting parked cars. A local London newspaper used it to fry an egg. “We are taking the issue seriously,” say the building’s owners.
Here is the walkie talkie’s fried egg pic.twitter.com/6oIGGTisPp
— Cloak Dangerfield (@c_dangerfield) September 3, 2013
Proud Jaguar XJ owner Martin Lindsay picked the worst parking spot in the city for his ride. He told CNN that he left the Jag beneath the building, and when he returned, he found that several of its panels had been “warped beyond repair” by the light beam.
The building is more commonly known to Londoners as “Walkie Talkie,” because it looks like a walkie talkie. Due to be completed next year, it may require a new finish that causes its 33,000 square meters of glass to diffuse light, instead of reflecting it directly, Bloomberg News reports.
Architect Rafael Viñoly, who designed the building, is also behind a similarly evil building in Las Vegas. In 2010, it was reported that the Vdara Hotel was targeting a light beam at tourists in its swimming pool, earning it the nickname “The Vdara Death Ray.” This probably isn’t what Viñoly meant when he called Walkie Talkie, on his website, a “high-performance, energy-efficient building.” Although in a way, it’s certainly living up to its promise.
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Lindsay Abrams.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.