ATREEM by Nitipak Samsen

Royal College of Art graduate Nitipak Samsen has designed a credit card-operated carbon-offsetting meter that attaches to trees.

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ATREEM (Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine) is designed to make carbon emissions, and carbon trading, easier to understand.

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By swiping their credit cards in the meters, people can offset their CO2 emissions against those absorbed by the tree.

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The unit calculates the CO2 absorbed by a tree by measuring its girth. Samsen has also designed a tape measure for children that converts the tree's girth into carbon-emitting activities (above).

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See other Dezeen stories about 2009 Royal College of Art graduates:

Tantalus Dinner by Ioli Sifakaki
Ultra Lead by Georges Moanack
Christmas Tree Furniture by Fabien Cappello
Folding Plug by Min-Kyu Choi
The Drop Series by Olivia Decaris
The Toaster Project by Thomas Thwaites

Here's some info from Samsen:

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Carbon trading brings the ‘convenience’ back to the ‘inconvenient truth’. Global warming has been driven by capitalism, now we are trying to solve global warming through capitalism. Is this possible? Should we save the planet for the planet’s sake or for money?

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This project aims to criticise the carbon trading system as well as raise awareness of how good we are at destroying the planet.

A.T.R.E.E.M. (Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine) is a renting meter for the tree to offset clients footprints. This tree has been grown by carbon trading company in nursery then bring it to urban space to become new carbon sink for the customers.

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The design of A.T.R.E.E.M. is a signpost-like object attached to the tree with a tape measuring the girth of the tree in order to calculate the growth and CO2 absorbed in the tree. In the process of developing the measuring tape, I designed a tree measuring tape for children. This tape translates how much CO2 absorbed in the tree into the amount of activities rather than grams of CO2, e.g. 1 hour on a flight or 2 days of breathing.

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The user interface of A.T.R.E.E.M. shows the intangible CO2 in term of gram, how long does the tree take to offset that CO2 and how much for the service. i.e. 10 minutes on tube journey emits about 350 grams of CO2, the tree takes 2 days 10 hours to offset that amount and it will cost £0.02.  The price that the machine offers is apparently very cheap compare to the amount of time that the tree needs to work. However this is reality, when we receive a service like this on-line, we see only the price of the service. We don’t really understand what is going on in the real world. i.e. you can buy a whole forest (in 100 years) very easy on internet and there is no guarantee that the forest will last to 100 years to offset the amount that the trader promised.  This real-time offsetting offers a new way to understand the global warming issue.

Could this system make we think more about capitalism and the planet?