The price of energy?
Researcher Ingrid intends to share some exciting news at the energy conference. Will a gang of crooks spoil her plans?
– That man took my bag!
People first turn to look at the young woman, and then the crowded pedestrian walkway. The thief has already slipped away.
- He took it all. Now what am I going to wear for the evening ball? the woman sighs. – I have to find the right boutique...
Ingrid is part of an international research group. She has come to the city to share some exciting news at the energy conference, and to attend the evening ball after it. However, the theft fails to dampen her spirits for long. It’s a fascinating experience for her, getting to know the Baltic City, famous for finding solutions to many of the challenges of a sustainable way of life.
”There are few cars – almost everyone is commuting,” Ingrid writes in her travel diary. “The blades of the windmills dance at the tip of the peninsula, and delicious scents waft into the air from cafes and food stalls. It’s like watching a nostalgic old photograph and a sci-fi movie at the same time.”
She finds a friendly
place to eat – and a stirring shop window. Kersti Diar’s shop... elegance and quality – holistically. She has heard
of her, the fashion designer who has taken the concept of recycled clothing to
a whole new level.
– Evening dresses. Like woven dreams, Ingrid muses in front of the shop window, before slipping inside. Fortunately, she didn’t lose her wallet with her bag, not to mention the memory stick.
The funding body has insisted that Ingrid’s team openly publish their results, to benefit all of humanity. But many people would like exclusive access, and the advantages that go with it, to the applications of the energy breakthrough.
Eikka, the thief who stole Ingrid’s bag, knows the alleys of the city like his own palm. A few evasive manoeuvres, and the coast is clear.
– Thanks a bunch, Miss Energy! The contents of your bag will net me a tidy sum... he chuckles as he strides towards Riverstreet.
When his boss opens Ingrid’s bag in his office on the top floor of Riverstreet six, Eikka is in for a drubbing.
– A crime novel and a packed lunch? A fancy dress?!
– Cut into the lining of the bag, Eikka says.
But his boss throws the bag onto the floor in disgust.
– Moron! What is this, the middle ages? No one carries top secret information in their bag. I told you to hang around Miss Energy and snoop on her without being spotted...
– Artificial photosynthesis makes it possible to mass-produce renewable energy! Ingrid concludes her lecture and detaches the memory stick. The Baltic Sea conference hall echoes with enthusiastic clapping. It feels like a partial compensation for the gruelling toil of research, the sleepless nights, and the moments of despair.
– I’m very impressed, states a UN energy expert, taking part through video link. – Thanks to open publication, the fruits of high technology will now be available more equitably on every continent!
At the evening ball Ingrid gets to know Hope Greene. This pioneer of green city planning describes the city’s energy system to Ingrid.
– The wind, the waves, the sun; the heat of the earth, sea, and wastewaters; biogas, wood pellets... Ingrid repeats. – I’m impressed with the diversity and sustainability of your energy sources. The Oil Age must really be over, just like you said.
– We decided to drastically reduce our use of oil and nuclear power once and for all, Hope says with a charming smile.
While Ingrid is sampling local seasonal delicacies, Hope strikes up a new conversation.
– I have nothing but respect for your work with researching artificial photosynthesis. But if energy suddenly becomes cheap all around the world, how will we avoid another, even more destructive age of reckless materialism?
– Of course, even the equipment for producing renewable energy presents a drain on natural resources, Ingrid drily notes.
– Even cheap energy will not stop habitat loss or the extinction of species...
The lively conversation continues well into the night. The wind picks up, and a full moon slides over the sea and the city.
– Blast these, the
eternal mysteries of mankind, Ingrid thinks drowsily, as she withdraws into the
peace and quiet of the guest home. – Though I guess it keeps researchers like
Story by Marjo Soulanto
Illustrations by Mari von Boehm
Translation by Arttu Ahava
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