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Public Energy Art Kits Push Back Against Consumerism

"You have immense powers."

That’s one of the messages of Post Carbon Institute's Public Energy Art Kit (P.E.A.K.) project.

P.E.A.K. is a collection of 15 original and provocative posters created by talented artists from across the country that illustrate the realities of our current energy predicament: fossil fuel dependency and excessive resource consumption.

The goal of the P.E.A.K. project is to reach the widest possible audience and increase the public’s energy literacy, as well as underline the unrestrained consumerism that defines our society today.

One image shows a three-headed "Goddess of Greed" spewing trucks into North America, while cutting into Planet Earth with golden cutlery that reads, "buy more." Another poster depicts a hopeful couple crouching in front of a barbed wire fence holding their vision of community power against a backdrop of corporate power, represented by an industrial wind farm. Mike King’s illustration highlights the importance of reuse through the metaphor of the energy train: a new bike requires huge energy inputs for its manufacture and sale, while a used bike has a much shorter energy train.

These 15 posters can be hung in public spaces, distributed in high-traffic areas (subways, libraries, coffee shops, plazas, universities), and shared on social media.

Recently, while hanging P.E.A.K. posters in Santa Rosa, California, I realized how the simple act of taping an image to the wall can spark conversation, as well as sympathy and hostility. When I put up a poster that read, “Someday this mall will no longer be here” in the central walking area of the Santa Rosa mall, I noticed a number of people stop and think about the significance of those words.

As I walked outside the mall with the artwork under my arm, I thought to myself, "Yes, I do have immense powers."

Do you want to see a new energy reality? Go to the P.E.A.K. website to download the posters or request copies to be delivered to you.

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