Sustainable Energy Choices for the 21st Century

Climate change and Sustainable Energy Choices of the global human enterprise are two of the most critical issues of the 21st Century. If we are to tackle these problems effectively, we need to make prudent, evidence-based choices about energy. This is the story told by this short (2 min, 35 sec) animated video:

Last year I was fortunate enough to be awarded the 2010 Science Communicator of the Year at the SA Science Excellence Awards; along with an elegant and unusually shaped glass trophy, this award also included some prize money to spend on my research communications. I wanted to do something practical and interesting with these funds, and so I hatched a plan to make a brief video, aimed at the general public, to introduce some of the general motivations behind BNC. The above animation is the result — and, I hope, the start of other big (audiovisual) things to come!

The script was written by me and my friend Ben Heard (of Decarbonise SA – Ben has more comments on the video here). We also mocked up the first ‘storyboard’ of the visuals (but the kudos for the form of the final sequences, and all the associated glitz, goes very much to Ron Furner and his team, see below). Ben and I wanted something that was accurate and evidence-based, but at the same time did not wade into too much technical detail. Our aim was to deliver a punchy message that also left the audience wanting to know a little more, and was not too preachy. Hence the theme about ‘choices’.

We also appreciate that this had to be short and sweet, if busy people were going to take the time to watch it. So we settled at a script length of no more than 2 minutes — which was quite a challenge (our first draft was closer to 5 min, from memory, and so a lot was left on the proverbial cutting-room floor). The final version of the full clip is actually 2.5 min because of additional animation time.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not perfect — because such things really never can be. Everyone would do this somewhat differently. Indeed, the way we chose to present this material will likely provoke some accusations of glossing over important or complex issues, oversimplification, biased perspectives, and so on. Well, such is the nature of these things.

We still hope you find it useful. And if it motivates you to make something better, or something with a different slant, or to tell the next chapter of the sustainable energy story (as you see it), then fantastic. Our little move will then have really served its purpose.

My sincere thanks to Ron Furner and his team of Fury Films, who organised and edited the soundtrack, put together the animations. They did a brilliant job in a tight time frame. I’d also like to thank Scott Mills, Mike Seyfang and Steve Kern for support and advice in the conception of this idea, and ongoing help on what may come after. You guys are terrific.


Posted on 27 June 2011 by Barry Brook


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