Strange brewPosted by in News
Last night I attended a disturbing presentation by author and futurist James Kunstler to launch the Village-building Convergence’s Occupy Your Village series in Montpelier. Occupy Your Village represents a merger of the Occupy Vermont and Transition Vermont movements.
Kunstler is best known for his book The Long Emergency and his other straight talk about how the US should address peak oil and additional economic and environmental concerns.
My favorite part of his presentation was his exposure of the fallacy of the American technorati’s view that technology can solve the energy crisis. He told a great story about presenting the problem of peak oil to top executives at Google headquarters only to receive an almost universal response of ‘it’s cool, we have technology, dude!’
To which he stresses the above slide: technology != energy.
Which, of course, brings me to…beer!
Why beer, you ask? Well, an idea that has been brewing within members of the SMW for some time thanks to the vision of Gabe Melcher is to work with a local New Mexico brewery to design a limited edition for ISEA2012. Through this project we will not only all have fun enjoying yummy beer with our friends at the symposium but will also be able to highlight energy and environmental issues on a micro-scale.
For example, as shown in the graphic above (the life cycle of brewing as executed by local Vermont Magic Hat Brewing and Performance Company published in the Green Energy Times June 15th issue), brewing beer is an energy-intensive process, but it also produces gas (or ‘farts’ as my friend Sarah Lewison says) that could be harnessed for this energy, closing the loop so to speak.
Speaking of Sarah, she is a professor of media at Southern Illinois University (SIU) who does a lot of fascinating work engaging space, place and media and has been working on the issue of sustainable beer brewing for quite some time. She has investigated mushroom beer in a small town in southern China, using mushrooms that clean toxins (think oil spills) from the environment (mushrooms that SMW researcher Russ Bauer has also been looking into in his usual impressively obsessive manner).
So, everything seems to be coming together for an SMW trip out to SIU in Carbondale this summer to document (with the professional fimmaking skills of Estevan Ramirez and Eric Geusz) and brew solar beer with Sarah and to collect and curate international beer+art+technology videos to highlight at the symposium! Watch this space to see how the SMW solves the energy crisis and catches a nice buzz at the same time.