Who I am, the logic behind what I am doing and what I want in the future.
Hi. I’m Matt, a New Zealand born, Australian raised thirty something currently living in Berlin, Germany. I am a chemical engineer by degree but my working background has been in energy efficiency for a large water utility in Western Australia.
While I have always had an interest in sustainability issues I was a pretty normal guy keeping myself busy working, playing sport, socialising and being lazy on the couch.
But as my awareness grew I came to discover just how critical energy is to our modern way of life. Not only as the enabler of so many things I would not like to live without, but also how it’s wasteful use threatens to destroy what so much of modern civilisation has helped create (via climate destabilisation and economic decline).
Just Do It
A few years ago, after seeing the political response to our energy conundrum fade into woeful inadequacy, I made the decision to opt out of a normal career in order to focus on doing “something”. The question of course was what and I spent several months getting lost in the specifics of that question. My answer continually came back to the idea of education.
For me, the roadblock on issues surrounding climate destabilisation, energy and economics are not based on technology, economics or public policy but rather understanding. Most people do not have the perception that this is will humanities biggest challenge this century nor do they have a great enough awareness of how the systems that support their way of life work. But hell, I can hardly blame them, if it wasn’t for my education in energy I probably would still be living life much like the typical energy guzzling Australian, as ignorant and uninterested about these issues as I was when I was younger.
So unless there is a critical mass of people who really “get it” there will not be enough top down and bottom up pressure to catalyse the public policy changes required to bring about systemic changes to our energy and economic infrastructures. Without those, all efforts will just be tinkering on the edges of a machine driving in the wrong direction.
Video Killed the Radio Star
But most people just do not have the time to find, read and reflect on these kinds of big picture, slow burn issues. I had given myself the luxury to do so and even then found the idea of reading everything overwhelming and undesirable/slightly depressing. But video to the rescue! The few moments I have enjoyed learning were during well put together video clips in which I effortlessly learnt more in 10 minutes than I did in hours and hours of tough reading.
So I have made it my mission to try and clearly articulate the situation surrounding climate destabilisation, peak oil and our economic structure and some of the ideas on how to deal with them in such a way. Fortunately many people have already tried to do this and one of my main goals is to collect all the finest video and info-graphic sources that explain the problems we face and filter them according to who the relevant target audience is. So if you are all new to these topics there will be some short simple videos that will succinctly get the main points across. But if you already know a lot then these videos are relatively useless so you might want to go to a higher level to find more in depth videos on more specific topics.
Unfortunately there are still some huge gaps in certain topics and at certain depths on knowledge in video form (despite the wealth of material in written form). Definitely far too many gaps to get a good understanding of the main things you should know in just a few hours. So the main chunk of work I have focused on has been creating the “Peak Oil Files”, an objective, data based video series that uses the power of graphic design to hopefully transform people’s understanding of energy and it’s role in the economy in a matter of 2-3 hours. I hope you will watch it and find it useful.
Right Here, Right Now
After having lived in the UK (Surrey) for a couple of years I decided to make the move to Berlin, mainly because I feel at home here, it’s bike friendly, the beer is awesome (German purity law people!) and it is one of the cheaper cities in Europe to live in. I am now living in the suburb of Freidrichshain with my girlfriend and a couple of others. I spend 2-3 days a week flipping burgers and pancakes in a small homestyle American Diner to pay the bills and, minus what’s left of the weekend, the rest of the time is spent on all the background stuff that is climateexperiment.com, the videos and networking. My hope is that one day I can concentrate full time on this more important stuff, hopefully with a group of like minded people, in order to create a wealth of very useful material that will hopefully play a part in shifting society’s understanding and perception of the most important issues of our time.