Friendship & French Fries

A podcast & blog about life and the creative pursuit of happiness

The 1%

While in class, I still felt lost with my topic. Luckily, we were given some time to workshop it and push it forward. I went to work and basically put all the research I’ve been doing lately on the wall.
I used the handy mind maps and used the key words and text bits that had jumped out at me. It’s a big jumble on the wall, I know, but I need big and broad strokes before narrowing down my ideas.


From there, Stefani helped me narrow down my chaos by having me pick 3 things out of everything that was on there. I ended up choosing:

  1. 1%
    • this relates to the fact that if even 1% of the methane currently captured by the permafrost escapes, we’re basically setting the world on fire and we all die
  2. warm, cold, hot
    • the play with the temperature changes going from temperate (warm), to cold for frozen methane, to hot which is the world on fire
  3. ticking time bomb
    • needs no explanation
  4. wild card (3 and 4 relate)
    • We don’t know the consequences that releasing so much methane would have on us and our planet, and how fast everything would happen


Now it was time to sit down and think. And mulled it over for a while, and then on Saturday sat down and re-created my mind map on my white board at home, and worked through it.



After a lot of time and ideas being thrown around, I found one that I feel I’m pretty happy with!

The idea is the following:
A giant frozen ice ball will be put up in a room, representing the earth. In it, a number of marbles will be trapped inside. On top of it a heat lamp will be placed so that the light hits the ice ball. In between the light and the ice ball will be a separator (this of a camera shutter) that will slowly open and gradually let more light in.

In front of it there will be a long table with bowls of marbles and little note cards in front of each. As users come up to them and read them, if they have done what the note card describes (all ways in which humans contribute to methane emissions) they will drop a marble down a funnel that will lead to a plate sitting underneath the frozen earth globe. As people do this, each marble will trigger the shutter to open up by a certain amount. As more marbles get thrown into the mix, the shutter will open more and more until eventually it opens up entirely and the light is hitting the globe directly – speeding up its melting process.


The point of this is 1) to illustrate the effects of something people can’t really see or touch and 2) show people that their actions actually have consequences. The marbles serve two purposes which are to underline individual actions actually have an effect, and to highlight things people can do differently to reduce their methane emissions.

Now, on to prototyping!


One thought on “The 1%

  1. Such great work Paula . I loved reading the trajectory of this project – and you are a very entertaining writer – I hope you can migrate some of that sense of humor into your project.

    I think this idea has so much potential – the tactile and participatory quality is exactly what you need to illuminate the data in a way that makes it feel more real.

    Something you might like:

    One question – what happens to the water as the globe melts? I feel like there could be another layer to that in terms of what happens to it, where it goes, what color it becomes…

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