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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Life + Arts

Around the world, right at home

The people behind the Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet exhibition believe there are many ways to make a difference, but it all starts with education.

The national, soon-to-be international, exhibition had its debut in 2007 in Chicago with more than 120 artistic globes.

Since then, the exhibition has traveled to several major cities, including Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and now Houston, the last stop in the U.S.

After Dec. 31, the exhibition will continue on to cities in Europe.

Initially, Cool Globes was not going to come to Houston. But Susan Bono, environmentalist and special projects chair at the Houston mayor’s office, always keeps her ears open for interesting events and ideas involved with the movement toward going green.

Bono heard about the Cool Globes project from its founder and creator, Wendy Abrams. Bono knew a Houston stop was meant to be when she discovered that one of Abrams’ children had attended the same summer camp as her own daughter.

Since Oct. 9, 50 globes have been on display at Discovery Green Park downtown. They will remain there until the end of the year.

There is no admission fee to Discovery Green, and parking in most places is metered. However, as with most of downtown, metered parking after 6 p.m., as well as all day Sundays, is free.

‘I thought our Discovery Green would be the perfect place,’ Bono said, ‘(because Houston is) the energy capital of the world. (It) would be a perfect place to have an exhibit that talked about energy efficiency. So, I brought it to Houston.’

As the project has made its way around the country, 45 globes have been at the heart of the exhibition and have been displayed in each city. But each stop on the tour has inspired a handful of new globes created by local artists.

The Bayou City is no exception. Houston artists Liz Conces, Suzanne Sellers, Sharon Kopriva, KPRC’s Jerome Gray and students from the High School for Performing and Visual Arts created five new globes.

These artists were teamed with energy companies that have shown support for the green movement. Each artist, or group of artists, created a globe about five feet in diameter that touched on different themes about how to save the environment.

Reliant Energy, the presenting sponsor of Cool Globes and one of Houston’s largest energy providers, teamed with Sellers to produce a globe intended to educate Houstonians about energy efficiency at home.

‘These globes are informative, whimsical, colorful and artistically pleasing,’ Sellers said.

Silver Eagle Distributors teamed with Conces to produce a globe focusing on clean diesel in fleet trucking. The company was the first Texas fleet to convert to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel years before enforcement of the federal mandate.

Cool Globes is a fun and casual way to inform people about climate change and the power we have, individually and collectively, to help our planet,’ Conces said.

Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas teamed with Kopriva to produce a globe about wind energy, which features miniature wind turbines as well as the different patterns of the wind in different colors.

HSPVA focused on a globe themed ‘precious and finite,’ which was sponsored by Mayor Bill White and his wife, Andrea, in honor of Nancy G. Kinder.

‘This was a very fun and (educational) experience for the students,’ Bono said.

Gray and other KPRC anchormen created a globe titled ‘Tune Two the Future Today,’ which focused on educating people about what they can do today to prevent what may happen to the world if people continue their present way of life.

Mayor Bill White’s administration has shown a dedication to going green through the Environmental Project.

‘Houston has made a huge effort in energy efficiency initiatives,’ said Bono, who added that the city has been a large purchaser of wind energy and maintains a number of solar projects.

Bono suggested that two great ways to help, especially for University students and staff, are to use public transportation and take the time to unplug for a little while and get outside.

‘The more we destroy our planet for short-term gain,’ Conces said, ‘the less she will be able to support us.’

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