U of C team creates energy education website for the average Joe
Aim to bring facts to climate change debate
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Conversations about energy and climate are often fueled by passion, rather than fact.
Professor Jason Donev from the University of Calgary and his Energy Education team aim to change that by bringing fact based conversation to the forefront when it comes to discussions around energy.
“People who’re talking about climate often don’t know a whole lot about energy,” said Donev. “And, the people who are talking about energy often don’t know a whole lot about energy.”
Donev said energy is a thorny subject, clouded with misconceptions and opinions, but fact based conversations can happen if appropriate resources are made available, which is why he began Energy Education.
“This subject becomes a whole lot more complicated the more you look into it, so we wanted to provide as factually driven, complete picture as possible,” he said.
The website, energyeducation.ca was started in 2013 by Donev and a few students, and now boasts over 800 pages of information, info graphics and more.
“As people know more about the intricacies of this they want to have a more in depth conversation,” said Donev.
His team now consists of three current students who help Donev write pages, create info graphics and other multi-media components for the site.
Third year physics major Kailyn Stenhouse said the website can help generate fact-driven discussions about all kinds of energy.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about energy and when you talk to people one way or the other they are very opinionated,” she said. “To just clarify things for people and present it in a simple way that is understandable is very important.”
Jacqueline Williams, a third year astrophysics major said the the website is also written and presented in a way that anyone can understand.
“You don’t need to have an energy science degree to understand what’s being said,” she said. “Usually if there is a topic on the page where you don’t know some words there is often a link on that word that takes you to an explanation, so you can really understand better what you’re reading.”
The website is currently being used as a textbook in Donev’s Energy for Everyone class, as well as at the University of British Columbia and at York University. Anyone can access the materials free of charge.
Jordan Hanania, third year-physics student, said he thinks the site can help curb some heated conversations.
“It’s not that people don’t know anything about energy, but if they access a resource like this, their information would be a lot more well rounded.”
Check out a few of the easy to read pages by Energy Education: