Post Content

Would you adopt clean energy and act for climate change if you knew better what it is all about? At DOER, we’re exploring the links between literacy and action with the goal of developing a new program for schools and communities. Passionate about science education  and/or how energy use affects climate change? Read on . . .

From now until April 4th, 2014 we are soliciting information about school programs, community campaigns, any form of media or activities that promote literacy in clean energy and climate science. Massachusetts has done well nationally in energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and developing our clean energy industry. But we can do better.

“It is our generational responsibility to provide opportunity to future generations and educate the citizens of tomorrow,” said DOER commissioner Mark Sylvia at a meeting on March 18th to experts in education and communications. They gathered at DOER headquarters with us to brainstorm about what we could do with this idea and what has already been done.

school wall touting energy savings

A wall in the Stone Street Pavillion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was dedicated to entries from students age 6 to 18 for Energy Awareness Month’s poster contest in 2011. Image from Wikimedia.org courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps

Not sure what you can contribute? Here are a few ideas from our meeting:

  • Let kids run the show. Debbie Fitton from Cape Light Compact shared the idea of getting kids to teach other kids about renewable energy and efficiency, and then getting them to make a presentation at town meetings as a way to engage them and get them excited about what they’re learning. Parental engagement and action can be a positive side-effect, but would that necessarily happen?
  • Remember MassCEC’s Solarize Mass? It’s still going on, and in fact, it is something that we continue to be interested in. Did that program work for you in your community? Let us know.solar PV display
  • Ever see a display in the lobby of a solar-powered building stating the amount of power generated today and the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions avoided since the solar panels were installed? We think that there should be more of such displays showcasing the many, many improvements to buildings across Massachusetts. But do these displays do much for you? How could they be better?
  • Solar and wind are great examples for education because the panels and turbines are so visual. How can we teach other about important clean energy measures such as efficiency and home improvements that go largely unseen?
  • Teachers: Joyce Bowen from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reflected that resources about clean energy and climate science for teachers to use in class would be valuable. We are also weighing the importance of two main issues: should the focus in schools be on integrating energy and climate change-related topics into the curriculum frameworks, or implementing programs aimed at developing behavioral change in students and other citizens, for example through community campaigns?
  • We would also like to target the other side of the coin as David Rabkin from the Museum of Science mentioned: barriers to action. Why isn’t somebody [fill in the blank]? For example, perhaps some of us don’t fill up our tires to achieve better miles-per-gallon because we simply don’t have a pressure gauge or don’t know how to use one. What are some barriers for you and how could we address them?

We are also trying to answer some major questions: What should this program(s) look like? What should our goals be? Would programs driven at increasing literacy suffice, or would we need to implement incentives to motivate at the same time?

What do YOU think? Send us your thoughts by email to energy.education@state.ma.us before April 4th. More information on this program can be found here. Then, based on your feedback, our team will ask qualified organizations to propose ways they can work with us to make Massachusetts citizens more literate about clean energy and climate science. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Written By:


Intern

XiaoZhi Lim prefers to be addressed as X, if you are intimidated by her Singaporean Chinese first name. She is an intern this winter and spring with DOER's Marketing & Stakeholder Engagement group. A former chemist, XiaoZhi is a recent graduate of the Boston University Science Journalism Graduate Program. She enjoys producing multimedia content and stories about energy, environment and electrons.

Tags: , , ,

Recent Posts

Leading By Example Earns EPA Award posted on Jun 16

Leading By Example Earns EPA Award

This spring, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Office chose this historic hall to recognize bold action and innovation of a different kind. It recognized Massachusetts state government’s Leading by Example (LBE) program during a 2015 Earth Day event at Faneuil Hall, awarding LBE a 2015 Environmental Merit Award in the governmental category.

“L-E-D”ing by Example – Illuminating Energy Efficiency on Earth Day posted on May 4

“L-E-D”ing by Example – Illuminating Energy Efficiency on Earth Day

On what was a beautifully sunny Earth Day, a crowd gathered at Lynn Heritage State Park to watch local electrical contractor, Coviello Electric, install a shoebox LED lighting fixture, the last of 30 at the site to make the transition to LEDs. The conversion took just five minutes and, once complete, the crowd cheered as the new LED light was switched on for the first time – a symbolic act that highlighted the two phased Department of Conservation and Recreation project to retrofit approximately 4,500 outdoor lighting fixtures.

HVAC Challenges? How Arlington Gets Answers posted on Apr 22

HVAC Challenges? How Arlington Gets Answers

I wanted to understand, day or night, on site or off, if my heating and cooling systems were operating efficiently. While not at the same scale as software giant, Microsoft, Arlington is utilizing the same fault detection and diagnostics software program, to analyze operations and upgrade HVAC efficiency.