‘Switch On’ is Energizing Audiences

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the theatrical run planned for “Switch On,” a new energy documentary produced by Bureau of Economic Geology Director Scott Tinker, the film’s team was undeterred. By April 2020, “Switch On” became available to stream for free on the website SwitchOn.org and soon after reached thousands of viewers.

“So far, ‘Switch On’ has been viewed over 4,000 times from audiences around the world,” said Sophie Byard, the manager of the film’s distribution efforts. “The audience has ranged from environmental science classes to major corporations and everything in between.”

“Switch On” is the second film released by Switch Energy Alliance, a nonprofit organization created by Tinker. The first film, “Switch,” explored energy sources across the world. “Switch On” focuses on areas of the world suffering from energy scarcity in an effort to continue its energy education mission.

The Switch Energy Alliance’s digital plan allows group streaming so that companies, classes and organizations can host virtual “Switch On” watch parties to stay connected. During this pandemic, some viewers especially appreciated the film’s message of hope and community.

“My students loved ‘Switch On,’” said Karen Eckert, a professor of sustainability at Principia College. “The focus on what can be and is being done — often with few resources and in underserved populations — is really inspiring.”

David Curtiss, the executive director at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, agreed.

“[Switch On] reminded me why I chose and continue to be involved in this industry: Energy poverty is a big global problem, and I want to work to address problems like that,” he said.