New exhibit explores carbon footprint – in Braille too

August 5, 2011
Author: Hannah

When you’re next at Eden, pop down to our education centre the Core, where we’ve fitted a whole carbon exhibit into a tiny Smart Car.

The boot and roofrack are jam-packed with everyday items, from mobile phones to strawberries to a pair of shoes, each with their own carbon ‘price tag’.

Visitors can explore the car to see the hidden carbon impact of products and processes such as a holiday to Barbados or a campervan trip around the UK.

They can also find out why a large cafe latte creates 17 times more emissions than a black filter coffee, or see how the carbon footprint of hothouse-grown strawberries is 12 times higher than that of a punnet grown outside in season.

The car was unveiled for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to the Eden Project.

Heidi Dorschler, the exhibit’s creator, explains where she got her inspiration: I like to design exhibits which are sustainable, a sensory experience and inspire people to investigate an idea further. It was therefore very important to me that the exhibit be real, tactile and interactive.

‘A car filled with shopping was an ideal vehicle to introduce the concept of carbon pricing, as it had a wide audience appeal as well as fulfilling all the objectives.’

Heidi created the interactive exhibit using data from the fascinating and exhaustive book ‘How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything’. Author Mike Berners-Lee worked with the Eden team to come up with the concept, as well as an online version, Show me the Carbon, which visitors can also explore in a touchscreen inside the car itself.

What’s really exciting is that this is Eden’s first fully Braille exhibit, too. On the reverse of each wooden price tag is the same information in Braille.

Interpretation Manager Justine Quinn says: ‘We’re always looking at ways of making Eden more accessible, so it’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to incorporate a substantial amount of Braille for the first time in one of our exhibits. The next step is to introduce an audio element, which will be coming soon…’

The car and online tool were put together for Clear About Carbon, a European Social Fund financed project that Eden is part of, which has a mission to find new ways to increase carbon and climate awareness within businesses and the public sector.

1 comment

One response to New exhibit explores carbon footprint – in Braille too

  1. Paola says:

    Everything we do requires engery. Energy mainly comes from compounds that have carbon in them. Reducing your carbon footprint means essentially to live your life while requiring less carbon-based engery. Therefore, using solar power reduces your dependence on electric power plants that burn fossil fuels (creating carbon dioxide and carbon soot).Buying local produce will reduce the amount of vehicle traffic that burn diesel or gas for power (that carbon dioxide again). You can eat less too, but there are limits.Using recycled paper reduces the amount of trees/live organic material cut down (organic material is full of carbon) to allow us to write.Recycled steel removes the need to mine and purify iron ore, saving electricity and fuel to process.Just remember, your footprint cannot be zero (you breathe out carbon dioxide too), and on top of that, you should (your choice) live a productive life, so at some point, it’s not about the size of your footprint, but the value generated per unit of carbon processed.hope that helps.

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