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Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Energy’

This past July, the US Department of Energy launched its Clean Energy in Our Community video series, which “features small communities throughout the country that are striving to become more sustainable, are investing in the green economy, and are bringing the benefits of clean energy to local residents and workers.”

All three institutions featured in the series so far (Luther College, University of Minnesota-Morris, and Allegheny College) are signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Two (Luther and Allegheny) are recipients of 2012 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards.

You can watch the inspiring videos below or by following the links above.

Nominations for the 2013 Second Nature Climate Leadership Awards, which recognize innovation and excellence in climate leadership at signatory institutions of the ACUPCC, are now being accepted.

Luther College:

University of Minnesota-Morris:

Allegheny College:

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By Matthew Inman, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy
(This article appears in the May, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

To better educate Americans, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is leading a collaborative effort, the Energy Literacy Initiative (ELI), to define and promote energy literacy. If more people had a basic understanding of energy, resources, generation and efficiency, families and businesses could make more informed decisions on ways to save money by saving energy. More broadly, people would better understand the energy landscape, allowing them to better understand local, national and international energy policy. Current national and global issues such as safeguarding the environment and our nation’s energy security highlight the need for energy education. The U.S. is behind in the global movement toward clean energy. We must become a leader in this movement to lead the 21st century global economy. The need for energy education has never been more pertinent.

DOE offices, programs, and national laboratories are working collaboratively on energy education efforts to support the Department’s core mission and to ensure an energy literate citizenry capable of tackling our nation’s energy challenges. DOE’s energy literacy efforts bring together stakeholders from federal agencies, universities, community colleges, professional societies, national labs, power utilities, museums, community organizations, business and industry, interested members of the public and more. The U.S. Global Change Research Program’s partner agencies are collaboratively drafting a guiding document on energy literacy titled, Energy Literacy: The Essential Principles of Energy Education. This document will follow a model established by previous literacy projects such as the one that produced the document, Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science. Through public meetings and online collaborative tools, the stakeholders listed above have already contributed a great deal, informing the document and demonstrating a passion for energy education. Stakeholder input is helping create a thoughtful, measured approach to energy literacy and a quality document.

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By Mark S. McCaffrey, Associate Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
(This article appears in the May, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

If tested on their knowledge about the basics of climate, energy or the relationship between them, most Americans would score a D or an F according to two recent national studies[1]. The reasons for this lack of literacy are numerous and complex. Both climate and energy tend to fall through disciplinary gaps in traditional elementary and secondary science education, with climate occasionally tagged at the end of a unit on weather and energy being taught, if at all, in physics, or indirectly in other disciplines.

Climate and energy are multifaceted topics, with the science involved often being non-intuitive and difficult to master. Both topics tend to be blurred by misconceptions, misrepresentations and/or misinformation. And both can become lightening rods for ideological, political and even generational passions. Both are issues that are creating a perfect storm of confusion that, to mix metaphors, leads to a climate of inertia, in part because as a society we have yet to really have an adult conversation about either.

Modified from the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences’ “Global Warming: Facts & Our Future” 2004

Modified from the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences’ “Global Warming: Facts & Our Future” 2004

The societal consequences of this illiteracy on current and future generations are enormous. Whether minimizing the impact of human activities on the Earth’s climate system through curtailment of the release of heat trapping gases, preparing for changes in climate and the environment that are well underway, or taking meaningful steps to transform our individual and collective lives to be more energy conservative and efficient, we currently lack the wherewithal and critical mass to be able to make truly informed choices for this generation and those to follow.

To reach the “tipping point” of climate and energy literacy that will address the current climate confusion, Higher Education must play an integral role in transforming society. As ACUPCC Program Director Toni Nelson has said, “If you can graduate climate-literate graduates in every area — people who are going to become leaders in business, government, non-profit organizations and legal system, etc. — if you can get a shift happening in their education and climate-literacy, then you shift the whole culture around climate.”

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