I met a crazy bear at my Green House today. He’s so crazy – do you know what he did? He climbed up to the open rafters in the energy room – which, I can tell you, is not easy for a bear. He launched himself off the rafters and came whooshing down towards the concrete floor. I thought he was a goner for sure. No bear could survive a fall like that, even if he had wings – which he did not.
I was about to close my eyes so that I wouldn’t have to see the big squash, when he suddenly stopped just short of the fatal crash and went woosh up into the air again, almost as high as the rafters. And then he came down, and up again, and down, until he stopped all the whooshing, and there he just hung there halfway to the ground. Good grief! How did he do that? And then I saw he had thick elastic tied round his waist and also to the rafter and he was dangling from the elastic.
Hey, cat, come and help me down, he said. No word like please, or happy to meet you, or what’s your name! Just hey, cat. But curiosity got the better of me and I climbed on the table to look him in the eye. Well, bear, I said. What madness is this? Trying to kill yourself? Only cats can jump from dizzy heights and still land safely on their feet. Or are you perhaps trying to be a cat so you can also learn about the eco-thing?
Oh no, said the bear. I also live here at the Green House and I teach children about different kinds of energy. Really? Do you also know about the kinetic thing that I have? Oh yes, Stripes, I’ve been watching you and you certainly have a lot of kinetic energy when you dash around. But I also teach children about other forms of energy. You see, my name is Bungee Bear and I bungee jump.
Oh, is that what you were doing – bungee jumping? Yes, I tie a very strong elastic round me and also to the rafter and then climb up high on the rafters. When I’m so high I have potential energy, because the earth’s gravity will pull me down unless I hold on tight. So I’m up there ready to turn the potential energy of height above the ground into moving energy. So remember, Stripes, he said just like all my humans who like to preach, energy that’s ready to do work, is called potential energy. Moving things have kinetic energy – just like you.
Hold on, I said – that’s too much for a cat. I think I’ll take a nap and then you can tell me more when my head isn’t spinning. I really want to understand more about the energy thing. So I went to sleep and dreamed of bouncing bears …