The Last Drop, 5 Thornton Street, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 2AD
As millions of school children, adults, workers and trade unionists across the globe commence a week of action for climate justice, the Active Energy project will be celebrating how older and younger people have come together to work for environmental change in their community. Active Energy is an award winning arts and environment project in East London led by artist and Senior Lecturer Dr Loraine Leeson with seniors’ group The Geezers. Their collaboration commenced in response to a question about why the life experience of older people was failing to inform new developments in technology, and twelve years later they are still countering this assumption.
Their first exhibition and conference looked at how tidal turbines could utilise the Thames Barrier as a barrage, then after teaming up with engineer Toby Borland, they created a small-scale wind turbine with local school children for the roof of an AgeUK centre, which spelled out ‘Geezer Power’ in lights as it spun. This was followed by a low-cost turbine for testing in the Thames, an innovative design suitable for slow-moving tidal rivers. In 2017 their first floating water wheel was developed for the Three Mills tidal basin, with another now installed in the Waterworks River in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
These have utilised tidal flow to drive aerators that can help keep fish alive when pollution levels rise. Through its work the group has made input to three university research projects, conducted many talks and presentations, and held a further exhibition in the US in collaboration with a seniors’ group in Pittsburgh. To accompany the new water wheel, workshops have been held in nearby Bow School, where pupils have constructed their own working models while learning about environmental issues affecting the planet. Join them for an event to hear about the project and to think about what can be done by each of us to counter the effects of climate change.