Rightnowish: Jamie Facciola, Lucy the Dog and the Furniture Hunt

3 min
Jamie Facciola takes photos of discarded furniture on the streets of Oakland to raise awareness of waste. (Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED)

A few weeks ago, Jamie Facciola, who I’ve known for some years through the Oakland-art-social-circles, hit me. She was looking for a few pointers on how to run a photo series project, something I’ve done in the past—most notably through my OG Told Me series.

Jamie told me about her project, in which she walks her dog, Lucy, around their North Oakland neighborhood and takes pictures of discarded furniture, and posts them to her Instagram.

And I’m like, meh… doesn’t seem too engaging.

Then she told me about Upholstery Awareness Month, which is in October. She said that finding this wide, global community of #UpholsteryAwareness was one of the things that inspired her photography.

My ears perked up a little.

Jamie Facciola takes photos of discarded furniture on the streets of Oakland.
Jamie Facciola takes photos of discarded furniture on the streets of Oakland. (Pendarvis Harshaw/KQED)

And then she described the cycle of people nonchalantly discarding used furniture, just to turn around and buy new cheaply made furniture. How it's one of the many things contributing to deforestation, and ultimately global warming. It's something that's been written about. A lot.

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I started to see the bigger picture. And then she brought it home.

She told me how the City of Oakland offers annual free bulky pickups to residents, as well as quarterly bulky dropoffs. And they even have a service where people can report large pieces of waste on the streets called SeeClickFix. But you know how it goes: not everyone uses or is aware of the services, and it’s obviously more convenient to just dump stuff.

The overall problem of illegal dumping on the streets of Oakland isn't news to me. I'm not even surprised by the report that illegal dumping in Oakland increased by 100% from 2012–2017, according to a study on the city's website.

How could I be surprised? I've seen it with my own eyes. I guess I just got used to walking past it. But ever since Jamie told me about her project, I can’t stop seeing dumping everywhere, and old furniture, specifically.

After listening to her story, you'll see it too. Click the audio link above to hear all about it.

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