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Wanderlusting No. 3: Lego Power
Chris Turner, 24 Aug 09

Wanderlusting on the Sustainability Trail
Postcard No. 3: Lego Power

I don’t think you can overstate the power of myth. You can have statistics out the wazoo and an airtight logical argument in favor of bringing the age of oil to an end pronto, but if it doesn’t map well onto the existing storytelling frames of our culture (about which see George Lakoff for more info) and isn’t regularly reinforced by the standard thematic tropes of society at large, it’s a nasty upstream swim to actually see the thing spawn the kind of critical mass of progeny that produces big change.

Which is why the following tableau is so inspiring. Here’s the exhibit by which the forward-thinking Danes have chosen to mythologically reinforce the concept of energy for the prepubescent hordes who descend upon the nation’s top tourist attraction:

Click image to enlarge

This is the centerpiece of Legoland’s installation on energy. Alongside royal palaces and Japanese cityscapes and a modern airport, the iconography of everyday power includes both an oil-drilling platform and a couple of wind turbines. Both of which, kids, are practical, commonplace ways of producing more power. If more of the storybooks and symbol-strewn amusement parks of your childhood look like this, in other words, you’ll come to see these things – fossil fuels and renewable energy – as interchangeable.

Well played, Legoland.

Chris Turner is the author of The Geography of Hope, a Canadian bestseller and multiple award nominee detailing his 2005-06 travels in search of the state of the art in sustainable living. He has recently embarked upon a new global research tour for a forthcoming book on the structure of the sustainable twenty-first century economy. He is posting “postcard” blogs from his travels here on This is the first posting in the series.

Read previous "Wanderlusting" postcards:
Wanderlusting No. 1: The Welcome Mat in Copenhagen
Wanderlusting No. 2: Livability

Photo by author.

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