Build a baseline understanding of energy.
Transform the energy conversation, from polarized to practical.
Promote efficiency and conservation.
In 2009, documentary filmmaker Harry Lynch and geologist Dr. Scott Tinker set out to make a film on our energy transition. The goal was not to advocate for one technology over another, not to suggest how the transition should happen — but to try to determine how it actually would happen, based on scientifically-sound investigation and the practical realities of the world of energy as we discovered them. The result, is Switch.
During the 3 years of filming and post-production, the film expanded into the Switch Energy Project, a multi-platform program, with its home being here, on the web. While the finished film is 98 minutes long, this website holds more than 5 hours of edited video, with much more content to come.
The education components, created with two of our nonprofit partners, are also extremely important, helping to instill in new generations a fascination for and understanding of energy, so that they can make smart decisions for our future.
Energy has become a highly politicized subject, but we were determined this project would not be. We pushed ourselves to look beyond assumptions and remain as objective as possible.
Interviewees were selected for their deep knowledge and respected positions, not for their support of any issue or agenda, and are a broad mix of industry, government, academic and NGO leaders, from differing political backgrounds. The information in this project includes the opinions of these diverse experts along with years of research and learning from the field.
The end product has been embraced by energy companies and environmental groups, government agencies and leading universities, general audiences and most reviewers. However, because it does not overtly advocate for or condemn any resource, it has also angered some who do, including anti-nuclear protesters, renewable-only promoters, fossil fuel lobbyists, and some movie critics. We hope these widely divergent opinions indicate we’ve struck the right balance.
Harry Lynch is an award-winning documentary director, writer, producer and sometime cinematographer, specializing in complicated, long-timeframe projects. His work has been seen by millions of viewers, in IMAX and commercial theaters, on cable, international satellite and broadcast, online and on video. This is his 6th film and 2nd web project in the past 17 years. He is the co-founder of Trinity Films and the founder of Arcos Films.
For 12 years, Dr. Scott Tinker has been the Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, where he leads 200 scientists and staff. He is also a Professor at UT’s Jackson School of Geology, the State Geologist of Texas, and a renowned energy expert, having given more than 500 lectures internationally to government, industry and academia. While at the Bureau, he founded the Advanced Energy Consortium and helped initiate the Gulf Coast Carbon Center and Center for Energy Economics. Dr. Tinker serves on several private, public, academic, and government energy boards and advisory councils. Before the Bureau, he was a research geologist for Marathon Oil. He received his PhD from the University of Colorado.
The Bureau of Economic Geology is a joint University of Texas / State of Texas organization, whose mission is to provide research and advice related to energy and environmental issues and to perform State Geological Survey functions as requested by the Texas State Legislature. The Bureau conducts basic and applied research related to energy resources including oil, natural gas, and coal; mineral resources; coastal processes; earth and environmental systems; hydrogeology; carbon sequestration; nanotechnology; energy economics; and geologic mapping. The Bureau disseminates knowledge in scientific journals and reports, in workshops and professional meetings, by training undergrad, graduate and postdoc students, and promoting K-12 and public outreach.
Read more about the project’s funding and content responsibility here.