After turning in our briefs this past Friday, thesis officially began on Monday, followed by five minute presentations from all UID degree students to the school yesterday (Tuesday). Below is the introduction of my degree project and brief.

For further curiosity, you can also read my full brief.

Panama sunrise

“To most Americans, the risks and consequences of energy consumption are vague and distant”
– BURN: An Energy Journal, Exploring for Oil and Gas in the Arctic

Scientists in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 annual report on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions attribute the changing composition of the earth’s climate to human activities. The burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other sources are high contributors to these concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (EPA, 2013). Research on American public attitudes and opinions towards climate change showed a majority view climate change as real, human action as the problem, and personal energy conservation as part of the solution (Gardner & Stern, 2008). Yet a 2010 study indicates that people have relatively little knowledge and understanding concerning the energy consumption and comparative use of familiar activities (Attari, Dekay, Davidson, & Bruine, 2010). Therefore, as many predict our current rate of global consumption will lead to the exhaustion of fossil fuels by the end of the 21st century, who will contribute and how, to a reduction of fossil fuel use accompanied by participation in sustainable future energy solutions?

My degree project aims to critique and challenge society’s relationship with energy by provoking individuals to examine their current habits of energy consumption, consider the future implications of these actions, and question their willingness to make sacrifices for a cleaner environment. This will be accomplished through the development of a fictional context in which individuals are required to produce all electrical energy that they need or desire to consume. Within this constructed situation, I will explore a series of potential scenarios that pair daily activities and their corresponding energy expenditures with the electrical consumption of personal devices or domestic technology. For example, an electric coffee maker must be powered by the energy generated from the arm motion used in brushing teeth. These explorations will include the physical prototyping of speculative energy harvesting solutions and an investigation of the personal, social, and temporal consequences.

What if you were required to produce all energy you desire to consume?

5 slides in 5 minutes