Thursday, June 27, 2013

Santa Barbara, California: A Modern Mephitic

Named after “Saint Barbara”, the “Patron Saint of Imminent Doom”, the California city of Santa Barbara sits nestled on a narrow strip of coastline that it shares with US Highway 101; hundreds of thousands of private and commercial cars, trucks, motorcycles, and all the heavy polluting junker-clunker vehicles that spew clouds of toxic tire wear, asbestos, benzene, diesel soot, and heavy metal dust into Santa Barbara’s air.
A stark difference in street signs. The topmost sign gets the brunt of the wind born traffic dust which follows the direction of the arrow on the bottom sign. The middle sign bears the original color of this vintage of Santa Barbara's street signs. The topmost sign has likely been discolored to a green hue from the many caustic chemicals in traffic dust. Note also the burnt charcoal look to the side of the palm tree trunk that also faces the traffic, and the usual wind currents for that location.
The Anapamu sign faces south while the Bath sign faces west, which makes it unlikely that the sun bleached the brown out of the Anapamu sign.September 24, 2012. 
The back side of the discolored street sign. This is the lee side (sheltered from the wind, traffic and wind born traffic dust)  of the Anapamu St. sign, it is the same original brown as the Bath St. sign. September 24, 2012.

Also on this narrow strip of coastline is, a railroad, and a large airport and its perpetual traffic jam.

Offshore is a corridor of marine shipping that belches tons of diesel soot into the ocean air which then rides on the onshore breeze to mix with the traffic pollution and then gets pushed against the local Santa Ynez Mountains.

Not to be outdone by the usual American vehicular pollution madness, Santa Barbara insists that nearly every inch of its polluted landscape be worked over by one, to four, different motorized power tools each and every week.
Tree leaves with air pollution burns, near rear entrance to Santa Barbara County Administration Building. The tree in the photo gets weekly attention from a grounds crew.
Mostly, it is poor and unskilled immigrants from Latin America who are hired to wield damaging and polluting power garden tools.

Long leafed planter foliage has been damaged by a power weed machine and a power leaf blower. The leaves have been sliced, nicked, and wounded by the rapidly spinning line of the powered weed machine, and the leaves have also been severely scorched by the hot dry air of high powered leaf blower. Santa Barbara, California.
But it is the Americans, and their unending thirst for cross border illegal drugs, and the American guns and violence that guts so many Latin American communities, which in turn drives so many decent people to flee their homes and become easy targets for mostly dead end jobs in places like Santa Barbara.
Maybe all this keeps in the spirit of Saint Barbara and her Mission built with the blood and bones of thousands of native Chumash. But now the modern Chumash have embraced gambling casinos as their, pay in cash, saviors. Or do they just mimic others?

Are we back at the beginning yet?
Let’s see…
Nestled on a narrow strip of the California coast, sits Santa Barbara, a city named after the “Patron Saint of Imminent Doom”.
Saint Barbara was no ordinary saint.
Some folks believe she symbolized a final justice to those who made a habit of sinning against the gift of life.
Others think she has become a figurehead for a greedy delusional society bent on self-destruction.
Many don't don't seem to think at all.

But look, art. Bas relief art. Black carbon bas relief art, in public too.
Black carbon dust in bas relief, Santa Barbara style. Over time,the rough textured recesses in the white walls are embedded with black from air borne black dust and soot (behind flags and above arch, forming a bas relief effect.

 All photos (C) 2012 {D. T. Lange}