Link About It: This Week’s Picks

An oyster army, meaningful gift giving, a benefit art auction and more from the internet

Building an Army of Oysters Around NYC To Mitigate Floods + Erosion

Before commercial harvesting, oyster reefs used to compose more than 220,000 acres of New York’s coastline, acting as a natural flood-mitigation system in addition to increasing marine biodiversity. With these reefs’ destruction, New York is dangerously vulnerable to natural disasters—a threat that (as Hurricane Ida recently showed) is only growing. To protect the city, Billion Oyster Project founded by Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, is constructing a wall of recycled oysters (collected from over 45 restaurants) in order to soften the blow of big waves, lessen erosion and ease floods. Volunteers from the non-profit collect the leftover oysters, clean, cure and set them with microscopic larvae and then bag them, placing them around the city’s harbors to foster the growth of baby oysters and grow back the reef. While this process will take over a billion oysters and hundreds of years, the founder of the project, Pete Malinowski, is hopeful, “because the key to solving these challenges of climate change is changing human behavior, and humans aren’t going to change their behavior without a direct connection to the natural world,” he says. Learn more the project and the path it opens for sustainable infrastructure at Bloomberg.

Image of Helene Hetrick of the Billion Oyster Project, courtesy of Catherine Blewer/Bloomberg CityLab

Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is Now Available Online

The Smithsonian recently launched Searchable Museum, a digitized version of the institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, featuring in-depth and reimagined exhibits including the permanent exhibition Slavery and Freedom, multimedia components, videos, audio podcasts and 3D models based on more than 40,000 artifacts. In addition to making this history more accessible, the online platform spotlights new experiences not at the museum in DC, like the interactive exploration of Point of Pines Slave Cabin that allows visitors to look within the South Carolina home that housed enslaved, and then formerly enslaved, African Americans. “Allowing the public to virtually revisit the originating struggle for American freedom reminds us of the centrality of the African American journey to the American experience—a story of triumph, resilience and joy over the centuries,” says museum director Kevin Young. Find out more about the new platform at Hyperallergic.

Image courtesy of National Museum of African American History and Culture

Artsy + Planned Parenthood’s “Choice Works” Benefit Auction

A response to the extreme law recently passed in Texas, part of “a national agenda to end access to abortion across the US,” the Choice Works benefit auction launched by Artsy and Planned Parenthood aims to raise funds to be used in safeguarding reproductive rights across the country. Live online now, the auction corresponds with an event during Miami Art Week on 2 December and officially closes 7 December. Many works already have several bids placed, and Artsy has published a list of key pieces included—from Jenny Holzer to Simone Leigh, Raymond Pettibon and Erin M Riley. See more at Artsy.

Image of Erin M. Riley’s “Humble Magnum” (2018) courtesy of the artist and Artsy

Snappy’s Free Online Game Lets Participants “Play-It-Forward” to the Make-a-Wish Foundation

An all-in-one online gifting platform, Snappy aims to return imagination to the process of giving a gift and make it feel less transactional. Recently, the organization conducted a survey and learned that 55% of the employed Americans they spoke with would appreciate the option to forgo a Christmas gift from their company and have the money donated to charity on their behalf instead. Further, 72% of the people surveyed believe that the pandemic has changed their thoughts on meaningful gift giving. To highlight their mission and these learnings, Snappy has launched a free online game that contributes one dollar per player to the Make-a-Wish Foundation (up to $50,000 this holiday season). Players also have the opportunity to win one of several extraordinary prizes themselves. To learn more, or simply play, head over to Snappy’s winter game online now.

Image courtesy of Snappy App Inc

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image of Robin F Williams’ “Space Angel (Study)” (2021) courtesy of the artist and Planned Parenthood Benefit Auction