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Films ‘can help promote renewable energy’

Bahrain News
Sun, 17 Dec 2017
By Reem Al Daaysi

THE concept of renewable energy sources may become more readily acceptable if introduced through films, according to an expert.

“Well-written science-fiction movies make information about global change more available to a larger cross-section of the public,” said Applied Science University (ASU) civil and architectural engineering department head Dr Islam Abohela.

He was speaking to the GDN on the sidelines of the International Conference on Sustainable Futures (ICSF) 2017 held in Bahrain.

The two-day event was held under the patronage of Education Minister Dr Majid Al Nuaimi and organised by ASU in association with the UK-based London South Bank University (LSBU).

“A film is a very powerful medium in terms of conditioning the public’s perception and introducing new ideas as it has the power of suggestion through visualisation,” said Dr Abohela.

“In the history of films we know that movies have played a major role in introducing modern architecture to the public who have then accepted the concept. Therefore, it is hoped that the same strategy can be used to introduce the idea of renewable sources of energy.

“Changing the mind-set of people to move from conventional sources of energy to renewable sources of energy is not something easy to achieve.”

He also said that a lot of work needed to be done in order for people to accept being dependant on renewable sources of energy.

During his research, he found that people do not react to many current issues strongly due in part to the desensitisation resulting directly from overexposure to mass media.

“However, films along with computer-generated imagery have the ability of making real events seem less disturbing through a fictional depiction of horrific events.

“I understand why the public has rejected ideas such as wind turbines in buildings, as the solutions and answers to the concerns posed by such innovation were never really conveyed to the public.

“Bahrain took a leading role in making an idea like this a reality and I believe it is important to introduce these ideas to the public more and make them approachable through film.

“One of the main aspects of Bahrain’s 2030 vision is to shift focus on sustainable aspects in all fields such as construction.

“We know that the built environment is responsible for about 47 per cent of the harmful carbon gas emissions on earth, so focusing on sustainable development as a strategic goal is one of the main things which will help the country excel.”

Dr Abohela hoped that Bahrain would be more dependent on renewables and co-operate with other countries to transfer the experience gained from integrating renewables within buildings.”

His research, The Fictional Story of Renewables: A Proposition for a Sustainable Future, received the Chartered Institute of Building best paper on innovation award announced at the closing ceremony of the conference.