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MIXED MEDIA | big ideas and oddball interpretations

Sparks fly when it comes to renewables

Solar, wind, and other renewable energies fire our imaginations and creativity in ways that fossil fuels coal, natural gas, and petroleum don't. Here are some resources for finding clean-energy inspiration. —Reed McManus

enessere, hercules wind turbineART
Inhabitat has stories about renewable-energy art for its own sake, such as Theo Jansen's wind-powered, Star Wars–like Strandbeest, as well as projects with jaw-dropping commercial applications, such as the Hercules turbine. The Land Art Generator initiative promotes public art installations that generate clean energy for the electrical grid.

power surge, nova, pbsPower Surge (PBS, 2011) is Nova's introduction to the ways we can reduce our collective carbon footprint and prevent climate catastrophe. University of Texas geologist Scott Tinker explores renewables, measuring each energy source by how many people it can "power" in a year, in Switch (2012). Fuel (Cinema Libre Studio, 2010) is the story of director and eco-evangelist Josh Tickell's 11-year journey (in a van running on vegetable oil) to find solutions to America's addiction to oil.

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era (Chelsea Green, 2011), by energy guru Amory B. Lovins and his Rocky Mountain Institute, is a comprehensive and even entertaining blueprint for transforming transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity. Daniel Yergin takes on the modern energy era in The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (Penguin, 2011), while New Yorker writer Steve Coll goes straight to the heart of the fossil-fuel beast with Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (Penguin, 2012).

app, emonitor, iphoneIt's at the hands-on level that clean energy and the Internet mingle best. The iPhone app eMonitor and Facebook-based and help you monitor your home energy usage. shows how you can atone for your driving, flying, and other high-energy use by funding low-energy, labor-intensive projects. Another iPhone app, Walk Score, will tell you how pedestrian-friendly that neighborhood you're eyeing is. For broader knowledge, reveals how companies are incorporating green tenets, and the totally inspiring blasts of research news from are antidotes to somber climate-change headlines.

Photos from top: Courtesy of ENESSERE; Lori Eanes (2); courtesy of Powerhouse Dynamics

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