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An Earth Day post from Anne

Today we are pleased to welcome Anne Laker, our newest IMA blogger, representing the Education department. She is also known for her compassion for all things green, so please enjoy her inaugural post on this most appropriate occasion.

Never underestimate the potential of a bruised banana. Around the office at the IMA, my desk is known as repository for fruit that’s past its prime. Colleagues know—as an obsessive recycler—that I will repurpose their bananas by taking them home, tossing them in the freezer and using them in a smoothie.

The re-use ethic is the foundation of freeganism, the practice of strategic food salvaging. Freegans use their wits to rescue perfectly good food out of the back doors of grocery stores and other venues. Freegans and freecyclers can imagine other uses for other people’s garbage. [If you are an Indy-based freegan, please respond to this post!]

Photo from

I love freeganism because it raises questions about transgression and imagination—topics with which an art museum concerns itself. What risks are necessary to alter current systems and make the planet greener? Can artists and scientists re-engineer our technologies, and our worldviews—in time to save our skins from climate change? Designer Bruce Mau, whose name gets mentioned a lot around the IMA, put out a book and exhibition called Massive Change. His agenda is to show how the world can be re-designed (think Google Earth, water purification machines, biotechnologies, etc.) to save itself. Creativity is required to re-think bad systems, such as the coal-fired power plants that make Indiana the second most polluted state in the nation.

The IMA is doing its part to reduce our footprint. Our director of facilities has figured out to reduce our average monthly electricity and natural gas usage by over 21 percent since the beginning of 2006. That said, we are still struggling to institute recycling in public places at the museum. We can’t find a local recycling vendor that will accept plastics 1 – 7 and actually recycle them as advertised. The good news is that our frustration caused us to move from plastic plates to china plates in the IMA Cafe.


If you’re looking to green your outlook, check out some amazing events coming up: artist Fritz Haeg, who lived in a geodesic dome, created the Edible Estates garden project, and recently built a beaver dam on top of the Whitney Museum, is speaking at Herron School of Art today, (Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22).

Architect Maya Lin is speaking at the IMA next Tuesday, April 29, about the Indiana geologic inspiration for her installation Above and Below on the balcony of the galleries of Asian art. And as soon as the Tobias Theater opens, watch for Garbage Warrior, a documentary about New Mexico-based architect Michael Reynolds who builds buildings from trash.

In the film, Reynolds refers to himself as “the turd in the punch bowl” of the architecture world. That’s one way to put it. I’ll say: Thumbs up for creative (and green) transgressions.

Filed under: Local, Musings

9 Responses to “An Earth Day post from Anne”

  • avatar
    Ed Says:

    Great post, Anne! I agree that there are many opportunities to improve the efficiency of our society. And according to that Forbes article, it seems that there’s a lot of work to do in Indiana. From educating each other to creating new solutions to inspiring each other with efforts big and small, I think we all have the ability to make a positive impact.

  • avatar
    Richard Says:

    Hey, Anne, nice post. Did you see the Green Issue in the NYT today?

    I thought this was a good read:

    Why Bother?

  • avatar
    Anonymous Says:

    Has anyone looked into making the shopping bags at the museum store eco friendly? They used to have paper bags, but went to plastic in the last year. Also, the fancy paper bags are produced using a large amount of chlorine. There is nothing eco friendly about any of that :o(

  • avatar
    patty wykes Says:

    marsh grocery store in nora @ 86th and westfield boulevard is an unbelievable cornacopia. i’m thinking about buying myself a bigg-ass fishing net so i don’t have to get inside their nasty dumpters!

  • avatar
    Stephanie Says:

    I am interested in freeganism and I am looking for a dumpster diving buddy on the south side.

  • avatar
    Heather Says:

    Have you found anyone yet?I am in the Broadripple area hoping to find someone to try the diving with. Thanks!

  • avatar
    Katie Says:

    I’m interested in trying the dumpster diving too. I’m in Noblesville, but willing to meet somewhere central so we can all try together! Let me know if anyone’s interested in meeting up. Contact me at

  • avatar
    Casey Kenley Says:

    I’m a journalist interested in freegans in Indy. If you are a practicing freegan or know someone who is, please post a comment and I will pass along my contact info. I’m working on story for a local magazine (deadline is this week). Thank you!

  • avatar
    Natalie Says:

    Hi I’m interested in doing some freeganing…I live near broad ripple, but if anyone wants to meet up this summer please let me know!

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