All posts by Mark

the daily climate forecast

yesterday (14th February 2007) i was lucky enough to attend the 3rd Design Futures conference, held by the BBC’s Design Forum. yes it is for BBC staff only but the ideas are so important that they need to be spoken about elsewhere.

the day had 5 world class speakers, one of whom was John Thackara, of ‘In The Bubble‘ and ‘Doors of Perception‘ fame. His talk was about content, an underlying theme of the day. His focus was content in the face of global, catastrophic climate change.

by starting with a distillation of Al Gore’s presentation to four slides he then went on to present some of the work that is happening in DOTT07, or Designs of the Time. this is happening in the north east of england and is looking at design and everyday life, in the context of climate change.

he then gave four ideas that he felt that the BBC could help build and communicate. all four are good and important and i can see ideas for all of them but at the moment i want to concentrate on one which i feel is visibly most appropiate for the geeKyoto project.

‘the weather report’

on prime time television, every day we have meteorologists present what is essentially a jargon ladden, scientific based prediction and report on the current and expected weather. most people watch it and note the graphic over their area, the rain or the sun maybe paying attention to the time as well. does anybody really understand what they mean by the bands of high (or low) pressure and why it affects the weather over their heads?

so the challenge is can we present the state and predictions of the climate, globally and locally. all the science and politicians state that it is going to get worse before it gets better and if we do not do anything it will just get worse.

can the BBC do this? well yes i think it can but so could geeKyoto, could we make a ‘the daily climate’ meaningful and easy to understand in as ambient and easy a way as possible?

creating a new presentation

how do you start building a presentation to explain what is going on?

how do you tell people, who might not want to hear that they will have to change how they live, that they will have to change to survive?

how should they change?

it is no easy task, though nothing of import is ever easy. in the news now we all hear that climate change is happening and that we have caused it. unless people are told how to chnage though, they will just assume that the politicians and big business will save the day.

do we start with the earth, seen from space with clouds our blue marble or do we start with a pale blue dot viewed through the rings of saturn? or maybe we start with a picture of our homes, the places where we live, the places where we as individuals have to make a difference.

a lot of us have to start telling the story and doing the story, not everything will be big and world changing mostly it will be small, local but always important.

What is geeKyoto?

It is a project to :

  • create an open source presentation stack to do the same job as Al Gore’s ‘an Inconvenient Truth’. Why? Well he has promised to open this up under a Creative Commons licence but its not happened yet. Besides we need to tweak and change the presentation to each audience.
  • create onlne tools to help combat the global crisis. Widgets that keep the power used by our computers visible, how to track the environmental impact of the stuff we surround ourselves with. We need to keep ‘viridian’ cool visualisations that engage, challenge and excite.
  • Develop guidelines for creating an Urban Centre of Alternative Technology. To show and help everyone living in our towns and cities what they can do.

geek + kyoto = ?

It’s all about what we can accomplish. Did you go see ‘An Inconvenient Truth’? Have you read the ‘Worldchanging: A users guide to the 21st century’ book? Do you recycle?

There is so much that needs to be done and so much to distract us.

If you have not done any of the above, then I do urge you to do them. The film is interesting, the book an evolution of the ‘Whole Earth Catalogue’. Both are inspiring so go and get inspired and then come back to geeKyoto and lets see what else we can do.