Achieving Energy and Ecological Literacies for All: Opportunities for Science Education and Outreach at the Interface
Tuesday, August 12, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Camellia, Sheraton Hotel
Kenneth M. Klemow
Kenneth M. Klemow
This symposium addresses public literacy at the interface between energy and ecology from scientific, sociological, policy, and environmental-justice perspectives.
Energy is essential to modern societies, powering transportation, agriculture, and industry. The development of large-scale energy generation and transmission capabilities to satisfy worldwide demand has had profound ecological impacts on all earth’s ecosystem types. While numerous studies of these impacts have contributed to policy decisions at all levels, educational programs and other communications on the ecological implications of energy development have not yet achieved an informed public. Decisions on energy often engender great public debates such as over nuclear power facilities, mountaintop mining, hydrofracking, windfarms, and high-voltage transmission lines. Debates often fail in comprehensiveness or inclusion of key principles in choice-making – such as supply and demand, sustainability, and risks and benefits of each energy source. Thus, many question public “energy literacy,” especially in the USA and worldwide. Programs from local to federal levels are being established to improve energy literacy.
To assess “ecology literacy” and educational needs, we investigate: Do these efforts appropriately incorporate modern ecological principles and results of good scientific research? How well do they address important emergent dimensions of ecological economics, environmental justice, environmental health, and advances in restoration ecology? How completely are these efforts received and assimilated by the diverse spectrum of general public audiences?
Based on their extensive, diverse experiences, the speakers will discuss challenges and offer solutions to best articulate scientific research into public understanding, and then into sound policy. Their approaches span pre-college and post-college formal education, informal education, and outreach to diverse audiences throughout the US and worldwide.
This Symposium, companion Organized Oral highlighting educational programs, and planned interactive workshop are developed and supported by members of the Education, and Environmental Justice sections and ESA Committee on Diversity in Ecology.