What is this course about?
The course focuses on the significance of garbage as art. In the first part of the course, it will consider what garbage reveals to us about both global culture and Hong Kong. Key questions include what our garbage shows us about what is valuable and not valuable, usable and not-usable, meaningful and wasted. In the second part of the course, it will explore examples in which garbage is recycled as visual, aural, or performance art; what we can learn from these examples; and how we can develop our own art projects using garbage. Emphasis will be placed on learning skills related to the artistic practices of visual, sound, and performance composition.

There will be a final art installation exhibit and public performance at the end of the course.


How can I benefit from this course?

The ability to engage in interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex questions requires skills in both the arts and sciences. The capacity to use one’s critical and creative capacities in a variety of learning contexts enhances problem solving, communication, and innovation – all skills necessary for successful student life as well as effective professional development.

Through this course, you will

  • Gain a broad-based understanding of garbage as art, i.e. its traditions and its contexts;
  • Contextualize contemporary interest in garbage within a cultural, historical, and political frame;
  • Explore how research on garbage can fruitfully be explored through arts-based research practices;
  • Apply course findings to individual areas of interest of garbage as art;
  • Refine critical thinking, creative thinking, and a variety of research skills.




Message from Our Executive Director

Eco Monitors Society Hong Kong is involved in educating the tourism industry in Hong Kong, Macau and greater China in areas of environmental responsibility. There has been much work done by major hotel chains in the areas of water conservation, reduction of chemicals used and the types of chemicals used, heat insulation, eco lighting etc but more can be done. There is also a lack of such programs in medium and small independant hotels in the region and indeed the world. We are also concerned with tourism development which has a negative impact long term on the natural environment and in the community. Many such developments fail to recognize the damage done or being done. Eco Monitors works with hotel and tourism developers to take steps to prevent such negative impact.We are also active working with indigenous communities throughout the region on eco tourism projects, protecting endangered species, flaura and fauna. Of particular concern is the Himalayan plateau, water security issues, pollution from the tourism industry and from military presence there.We have ongoing projects in all of these areas and partner with local and national Governments, NGO’s, Industry and other groups who share our concerns.We welcome new partner organisations and individuals who would like to work with us to save the environment. As Pope Francis said in May 2014, ”If we destroy creation,creation will destroy us, never forget this”




 The military dimension has generally prevailed over most of the other dimensions of human existence since the dawn of history; but never to the extent that it has in recent times. Coming even closer to our day and age it now tends to submerge most other dimensions, to the detriment of the planet as a whole. As a landmass, the Himalayas and the regions adjacent to the great mountain chain, have the playing host to perhaps the largest concentration of military forces and destructive weapons systems anywhere in the world. The collective concentration of the forces of  China, India, Pakistan and few other states could soon destroy one of the most magnificent natural habitats of the world. Individually, some countries like India and, possibly Nepal, Bhutan and China have started perceiving at the edges of their military vision that all is not well with the ecology of the region. In non-military segments awareness has come that an irreversible decline may already have set in. All the countries that derive sustenance from the mighty Himalayan sources have subconsciously realized that the day of reckoning is not far off. The audience present here does not have to be reminded of the suffering caused to hundreds of millions of people by unprecedented floods. In this presentation we will look at the inter-regional dimension of the problem in order to highlight the fact that unless the countries of the region come to their senses and join hands to reverse the eco-destruction of the Himalayas the future generations of Chinese, Indians, Tibetans, Nepalese and Pakistanis will not have much left to fight over. The eco-restoration of the Himalayas is now an ineluctable survival imperative for over a billion people living in and around the Himalayan region.

    有史以来,军事因素是人类生存首要考虑的因素,其重要性超越了其他因素;但近年其重要性达到了历史新的高度。在21世纪,军事因素趋向于掩盖其他因素,甚至已经达到损害全球安全的境地。作为一片大陆,世界上最密集的军事力量以及毁灭性武器系统分布在喜马拉雅山及其大山脉附近区域。中国、印度、巴基斯坦以及其他国家的军力在这个地区集结将迅速摧毁这世界上最宏伟的天然栖息地。个别国家,诸如印度、尼泊尔、不丹及中国 已经开始意识到基于其军事规划优势的考虑将会破坏本区域的生态环境。在非军事区域,人民已经意识到喜马拉雅地区的生态环境已遭受不可逆转的破坏。所有得益于喜马拉雅丰富资源馈赠的国家在潜意识中已经意识到大自然的报复将很快来临。今天在列的所有听众想必不会忘记给上百万人带来灾难的特大洪灾。本次阐释中,我们将着眼于研究环境问题的区域间因素,以突出只有本地区的国家达成共识并携手共同逆转喜马拉雅山脉的生态破坏的不利局面,才能为中国、印度、西藏、尼泊尔以及巴基斯坦的子孙后代造福。 喜马拉雅山脉的生态恢复已然成为生活在喜马拉雅及其附近区域的上亿人的当务之急。
The eco-revival plan being put forward for consideration divides the larger portion of the Himalayan region into five segments: i.e. areas West of the 75° E meridian, that is the Pakistan-Afghanistan sector; the India – Pakistan sector, the India-China sector and other relatively dormant sectors. The first sector West of the 75° meridian is outside the purview of today’s presentation being the battleground for the power play of too many outside powers. We will take the remaining sectors turn by turn.
Indo-Pak Sector (Jammu & Kashmir Sector)
          The J&K sector can again be divided into two sub-sectors i.e. Ladakh sector and areas to its North and remainder J&K.
          In the Ladakh sector the major dispute centers around . The highest battleground in the world has created, in addition to the human suffering undergone by troops of both sides, environmental devastation whose effects will only be known once the troops pull out. Tens of thousands of tons of human waste, oil and lubricants and other contaminants have penetrated the snowy vastness, not to mention the millions of rounds of small arms ammunition and mortar and artillery shells. We grew up with the phrase “pure as the driven snow”. It has acquired a different meaning in much of the Himalayan landscape. We recommend an immediate de-militarisation of the Siachen region along the following lines:重要分歧围绕拉达克中心地区展开。除了由于双方交火造成的人员伤亡之外,还包括军队撤退后环境恶化所带来的影响,本地区已成为世界上海拔最高的战场。除了轻型武器、迫击炮及弹壳外,成千上万吨的人类生活垃圾、油、润滑剂以及其他污染物已经渗透到被白雪覆盖的广大地区。我们从小就听着这句话长大-“像雪花一样纯洁”。这对于喜马拉雅的景观来说具有不同的意义。因此我们建议希亚琴地区立即非军事化,并提出如下非军事化线路图:
·        Non-military joint commissions to verify the exact position of the belligerents on the ground. After verification the documents to be deposited by the respective governments at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Both countries would give written undertakings not to change the status quo after troop pullback for a minimum period of twenty-five years. In case of infringements, the ICJ to be empowered to impose heavy fines on the defaulting party. Concomitantly, China would give a written guarantee not to, in any way, take advantage of the demilitarization to the detriment of the countries pulling back their troops. Other nations are not required to get into the act.核实地面交战方具体位置的非军事联合行动。一经核实,相关国家提交的文件将存放在海牙国际法院。交战双方将提交书面承诺保证军队撤离后地区现状保持至少25年不变。为防止违约,国际法院被授权对违约方予以重罚。此外,中国将作出书面承诺,不以任何形式借非军事化名义侵害撤军国家的利益。其他国家不得插手该地区事务。
·        After submission of the documents to the ICJ complete demilitarization up to designated lines would be effected within 180 days.
·        The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to jointly dedicate a memorial to the dedication and fighting spirit of some of the best soldiers in the world fighting under conditions which could be termed as the utmost in human endurance.
          Thereafter, joint Indo-Pak scientific teams to study the environmental impact of the Siachen folly and remedial measures for limiting damage to future generations.
India-China Sectors
          The India-China sectors can again be further subdivided into three zones from the point of view of past hostility as follows:
·        No skirmish zone (since after the occupation of Tibet by Chinese troops)
·        Zones of continuous tranquility (for over thirty-five years i.e. since after the 1962 conflict)
·        Zones of potential hostility
          Having delineated the sub-sectors we recommend the following pattern for gradual demilitarization of the Sino-Indian border and ecologically fragile zones of Tibet.
·        In the first instance the Siachen demilitarization model to be applied to the first two zones of the Sino-Indian border i.e. the no skirmish zone and the continuously tranquil zones. Similar deposition of documents before the ICJ along with identical pledges and penalties for infringement. China being a permanent member of the Security Council with veto powers that body has been given a wide berth.
·        Establishment of joint eco-restoration commissions to undertake joint eco- restoration work without prejudice to either country’s stand on the boundary dispute.
·        Pledge before the ICJ that neither country would ever use the eco-restoration zones for military activities in the future or to launch any military operations through those areas.
·        The Chinese government to set up an independent commission for phased de-nuclearisation and demilitarisation of Tibet in anticipation of international movement of the nuclear powers in that direction. Regardless of the rate of that progress the Chinese government could plan a massive twenty-five year program for the eco-restoration of  Tibet. World Bank and the Tibetan diaspora to assist.
·        The Government of India in concert with the Royal Nepal government to plan a similar twenty-five year scheme for the full scale eco-restoration of the Himalayas in the entire sub-Himalayan and trans-Himalayan regions. Ex- military men can be fully incorporated in this mammoth task.
          Currently we have outlined a proposal for the eco-restoration of the Himalayas on behalf of the Eco Monitors Society. We have already done considerable work on this proposal.

The Five Worst Mass Extinctions


Time periods in the history of life on Earth during which exceptionally large numbers of species go extinct are called mass extinctions. These extinctions are quite different from the rate of extinction, which occurs even when the diversity of life is increasing. Many species vanished in five cataclysmic mass extinctions and today, 99.9 percent of all species that have existed on Earth are extinct.

The Ordovician-Silurian extinction occurred about 439 million years ago due to a drop in sea levels as glaciers formed followed by rising sea levels as glaciers melted. During this extinction 25 percent of marine families and 60 percent of marine genera (the classification above species) were lost.

The Late Devonian extinction took place somewhere around 364 million years ago. To this day its cause is unknown. However, evidence supporting the Devonian mass extinction suggesting that warm water marine species were the most severely affected in this extinction event, has lead many paleontologists to believe that an episode of global cooling, similar to the event which that may have resulted in the Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction, may have lead to the Devonian extinction. Thus this theory suggests that the extinction of the Devonian was triggered by another glaciation event on Gondwana, which is evidenced by glacial deposits of this age in northern Brazil.

Similarly to the late Ordovician crisis, agents such as global cooling and widespread lowering of sea-level may have triggered the late Devonian crisis. Scientists have also suggested that meteorite impacts may have been possible agents for the Devonian mass extinction, but the data in support of a possible extra-terrestrial impact remains inconclusive, and the mechanisms responsible for the Devonian mass extinction are still under debate. What is know, however, is that this mass extinction killed 22 percent of marine families and 57 percent of marine genera.

The Permian-Triassic extinction happened about 251 million years ago and was Earths worst mass extinction. 95 percent of all species, 53 percent of marine families, 84 percent of marine genera, and an estimated 70 percent of land species such as plants, insects and vertebrate animals were killed during this catastrophe. Direct evidence for this period has not been found but many scientists believe a comet or asteroid impact led to this extinction. Others think that volcanic eruption, coating large stretches of land with lava from the Siberian Traps, which are centered around the Siberian City of Tura, and related loss of oxygen in the seas were the cause of this mass extinction. Still other scientists suspect that the impact of the comet or asteroid triggered the volcanism.

The End Triassic extinction, taking place roughly 199 million to 214 million years ago, was most likely caused by massive floods of lava erupting from the central Atlantic magmatic province triggering the breakup of Pangaea and the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. The volcanism may have led to deadly global warming. Rocks from the eruptions now are found in the eastern United States, eastern Brazil, North Africa and Spain. 22 percent of marine families, 52 percent of marine genera, and an unknown percentage of vertebrate deaths were the result.

Finally, the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction occurred about 65 million years ago and is thought to have been aggravated, if not caused, by impacts of several-mile-wide asteroid that created the Chicxulub crater now hidden on the Yucatan Peninsula and beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Yet, some scientists believe that this mass extinction was caused by gradual climate change or flood-like volcanic eruptions of basalt lava from the Deccan Traps in west-central India. During this extinction, 16 percent of marine families, 47 percent of marine genera, and 18 percent of land vertebrate families including the dinosaurs.



The Sixth Mass Extinction has begun!

As unbelievable as it may sound, after having read through the five mass extinctions, the sixth mass extinction is in progress, now, with animals going extinct 100 to 1,000 times (possibly even 1,000 to 10,000 times) faster than at the normal background extinction rate, which is about 10 to 25 species per year. Many researchers claim that we are in the middle of a mass extinction event faster than the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction which wiped out the dinosaurs.

Rather than a meteorite or large volcanic eruption, the alarming decline of biodiversity (diversity of species on earth) leading to the current mass extinction is the results of five major human activities:

Habitat destruction including human-induced climate change. Human-induced climate change is the result in high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions (primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide). Acting like a greenhouse, these gases trap heat from the sun. Other human activities such as habitat destruction in combination with climate change are making the situation only worse. Increasing temperatures may force species to move toward their preferred, and generally cooler, climate range. Thus, if those habitats have already been destroyed, then the species are not be able to escape the climate change and will go extinct.

Invasive species. Invasive/aliens species displace native species through predation, competition, and disease organisms.


Human overpopulation.

Over-harvesting (hunting, fishing, and gathering).

The Hawai’I chaff flower, the golden coqui Puerto Rican tree frog, the Martinique Parrot, the Yuman box turtle, the Madagascan Pygmy hippo, and the Japanese sea lion are amongst the list that include the 784 species of plants and animals that have recently vanished from earth because of human activities. All continents are impacted by this ongoing biological catastrophe. The completion of species inventory on earth and saving them from becoming extinct must be a world priority.