As a society that relies heavily on oil for energy, we often forget we may run out of resources in the future. “Switch,” a new environmental awareness film, tries to remind us not to take our natural riches for granted by exploring various options for transitioning our global energy sources to prevent an
“Switch,” directed by Harry Lynch and starring geologist Dr. Scott Tinker, premiered at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema on Thursday, Sept. 20. The premiere was sponsored by NYU’s Center for Urban Sustainability and Progress, an applied science research institute that aims to increase energy efficiency
“[We] hope to use New York City as a laboratory to develop new methodologies and then export those technologies to cities around the world,” said Dr. Steven Koonin, the director of CUSP and the second undersecretary in the U.S.
Department of Energy.
Koonin is featured in “Switch” as one of many experts in the energy field. He praised the movie’s nuanced representation of environmental issues.
“[‘Switch’ is a] very well done depiction of the challenges in changing the energy system,” he said.
To investigate what it was like to produce all the energy that fuels the Earth, Tinker and Lynch traveled to geothermal, wind, solar and nuclear power plants and facilities all around the world for two years.
“We knew what we wanted to look at, but we really didn’t know what we would find,” Lynch said.
After exploring the different types of potential energy for the future, Tinker concluded that the best option for increasing energy efficiency and sustainability is to lessen the consumption of fossil fuels and switch over to natural resources, renewable energy and nuclear power.
After the film’s premiere on Thursday, the “Switch” team led a discussion about the film and gave the audience an
opportunity to ask questions and engage in a conversation about alternative energy sources.
Several audience members raised concerns such as the lack of discussion about climate change and the government mandates involved in the switch to sustainable energy. However, Tinker said this film was more about raising possibilities about alternative energy resources than setting policies in stone.
“Our goal is just to get our eyes on energy,” Tinker said.
Despite these concerns, audience members felt the documentary was thought-provoking and many enjoyed the cinematography.
“It was very informative, and I liked that I got to see the inside of power plants,” said Malcolm Kim, a second year student at the NYU School of Law.
NYU may already be on the way to sustainability. According to Jeremy Friedman, manager of Sustainability Initiatives at NYU, the university has cut 30 percent of energy consumption over the past five years.
“The key to our success and conservation is infrastructure and people,” Friedman said.
Dr. Tinker and Lynch will be self-distributing “Switch,” and they will be traveling to 50 universities this fall to show the documentary. They will also visit another 200 universities in spring of 2013. The film is playing at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema at 143 E. Houston St. through Sept. 24.
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 24 print edition. Jennifer Lu is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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