Over my week at the United Nations Negotiations on Climate Change (or COP21), I kept seeing bikes all over the conference center and throughout Paris. As a major city, normally I wouldn’t be surprised to see so many bikes. However, these weren’t just normal bikes to get around. Instead, they were all stationary. Various organizations and the United Nations itself challenged attendees to use their own pedaling to generate power. Here are some of the most creative and interesting examples from COP21:
1 - Cell Phone Chargers
Directly within the entrance, these group styled stations allowed attendees to hook up their cell phone and pedal to a full battery.
2 - Lights
Unlike the other bikes, these were located on the Champs-Elysees (one of the major streets in Paris). Sponsored by IKEA, anyone walking down the street could hop on one of the bikes and help generate the electricity for some of the lights on the street.
3 - Music
At central area within the COP, bikes were used to generate electricity for a radio station normally run by solar power. People had to keep biking for music to be played across the venue.
4 - Juice
Probably the most ambitious (and difficult!) station at the COP was used to generate juice. Power from pedaling was used to work a juicer, which is much more difficult than it sounds. To make matters even more interesting, you had to race another person to see who could make it quicker!
More than anything, these exhibits allowed me and other conference goers to truly see how much energy is needed for basic tasks and to appreciate the power that is needed. Next time you turn on the radio or even have a glass of juice, think of how much energy went into making it.
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