WhiteHorse Storyboard Painting
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Pezzoli, Keith (2021). WhiteHorse Storyboard Painting. In Art of Science. UC San Diego Library Digital Collections. https://doi.org/10.6075/J0S46RVJ
Caption: Clam Diggers Working the Great South Bay, Long Island, NY
Participant category: Faculty/Scientist
Department: Urban Studies and Planning
The Great South Bay "StoryBoard Painting" is a form of research communication that sets the stable for discussion about the theory and practice of Bioregionalism. I co-owned and operated the White Horse bay boat featured in the painting foreground with a partner of mine for many years as clam diggers on the Great South Bay (Long Island, NY). My experience on the bay as a workspace fired up my lifelong interest in the use and management of common-pool resources. With conservation practices in place for harvesting clams, the bay kept many people (young and older alike) gainfully employed for decades. Sadly, red tide (suffocating algal blooms) and other forms of ecosystem degradation have decimated the Bay’s clamming industry. The loss is not only economic (loss of jobs), it is also a loss of culture and tradition. A diverse group of concerned citizens, clam diggers, local government agencies, business people, conservationists, and others have been working hard on various restoration initiatives, with mixed results. Some very hopeful signs have been dashed by ongoing red tide events, and the difficulties diverse groups face when trying to collectively establish viable common pool resource management/governance practices). The painting is a storyboard in so far as it provides a visual for celebrating the benefits historically provided by the Bay (clams, healthy livelihood). And it prompts discussion of what it can be in the future if reclaimed --coupling human and natural systems in resource-conserving ways. Note we dug the clams with tongs by hand without large mechanical fossil fuel-driven dredges. This was by design. Digging using human labor power alone is a resource-conserving, regenerative ecosystem approach to harvesting clams. Fossil fuel-powered dredging floods the market with clams, causes prices to drop while damaging the bay bottom and the sustainability of clamming as an industry. The White Horse is long gone now, its old wooden planks part of the earth again –it was built in 1922. In this storyboard painting, the White Horse in the sky symbolizes robust living biopower (horsepower). Humanpower is what clam diggers used to harvest the clams in this period (1970s). Common pool resource conservation by an intentional restriction on the type of power and technology used in harvesting resources is an artform in regulatory innovation. This image celebrates the value of human power as an element in a sustainable and regenerative approach to common-pool resource management.
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