Animations Make The Invisible, Visible


Imagine a world without light. A world without food, without technology, without any way to move from point A to point B.

That might sound like an unrealistic situation, but that’s what life would be like if it wasn’t for energy. Energy is vital to almost every aspect of our lives, but, ironically, the average person rarely thinks about it in a meaningful way. Its tremendous impact on us–and the impact our choices have on how much of it we use–is often lost on us.

It doesn’t have to be that way though.

We wanted to find a way to make the invisible aspects of energy more visible and more accessible to the average person. So we dug into the ways it intersects our lives on an everyday basis. From how we think about food, to the electricity that flows through our homes, to how our incessant use of technology is leaving behind an enormous carbon footprint.

We worked on this project in collaboration with student animators from the University of Colorado-Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information. The student animators, with assistance from Inside Energy staff, produced this series of videos that highlight the often invisible aspects of energy and its role in our lives.

Our Food and the Cost of Convenience
Only 1.5% of Americans are employed in agriculture according to the most recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that most people are pretty disconnected in terms of where their food comes from and how energy intensive the processes are. Our daily food choices are often made out of a desire for convenience, but convenience doesn’t always equal energy efficiency.

The Size of our Digital Footprint
Technology’s existence in our modern world is commonplace and unsurprising. Walk into almost any coffee shop or walk down the street and you’ll find people bent over laptops and smartphones. While these technologies are highly visible, the digital footprint left behind by them is less so.

Are We Stuck With Just One Electricity Provider?
As consumers in a capitalist society, we’re used to having a multitude of choices when it comes to the products we purchase. Oddly enough though, that range of choice doesn’t extend to those who manage and provide our utilities. Every month we use electricity to light and heat our homes but very few people have any kind of say in where they get that electricity from or how much they’re paying for it. However, our electric grid is currently undergoing a huge revolution that may start to change all that.

A Car or a Plane? Which one Leaves Behind the Smallest Carbon Footprint?
When it comes to traveling cross-country, we have a variety of viable options. We’re able to board an airplane, strike out on a road trip, hop on a bus . . . . Each method as its pros and cons, but which one is more energy efficient? Well . . . that depends.