The WATT? An Energy 101 Primer. An interactive e-book to complement and enhance our user's guide to energy in the 21st Century. Help combat energy illiteracy.
Energy is one of the world's largest industries, and it's intimately intertwined with the global economy and environment. Solving our great global energy challenges should also mean solving our biggest environmental, social, health and economic challenges. Yet for all the wide-eyed, hopeful talk about building out the clean, renewable energy economy of the 21st century, there's a serious lack of understanding about what energy actually is, how it powers our lives, what problems it causes, what problems it solves, and -- perhaps most importantly -- the enormous scale of our energy challenges.
In short: we need, as a society, to become more energy literate.
# OUR SOLUTION
Consider it a user's manual or primer or resource guide. Or maybe it's a 21st Century textbook. We're creating a complete and comprehensive Energy 101 education, in language and charts and graphics that we all can understand.
This campaign is to fund the interactive e-book version, which is really the logical evolution for any 21st Century education.
There will be the basics of energy science -- all the stuff you've forgotten from high school. There will be economics and geography and technology lessons.
There will be interactive infographics and timelines and glossaries and "guest speakers."
# WHO WE ARE
Focus the Nation (the publisher) is the country’s leading clean energy youth empowerment organization. Since 2008, we have helped more than 300,000 young people embrace the challenges, excitement and realities of moving their communities toward clean energy solutions.
Ben Jervey (the writer/producer) writes about climate, energy, and sustainability for numerous publications. He works for OnEarth.org, DeSmogBlog, and is the former Environment Editor at GOOD. He’s the author of “The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City.”
This Energy 101 project is being guided by an incredible editorial advisory board that includes:
- Rachel Barge: Social Entrepreneur and Associate — Greenstart: A startup accelerator focused on the expansion of renewable energy.
- Charles Baron: Former Manager — Google's Climate and Energy Program; Current MBA Candidate — Harvard Business School
- Shelley Deadmond: 2011 ReCharge! Delegate, student at University of Oregon
- Denis Hayes: President — Bullitt Foundation; Former Director — National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Founder of Earth Day Network
- Jesse Jenkins: Director of Energy and Climate Policy — Breakthrough Institute
- Sarah Rich: Writer, Editor, New Media Entrepreneur — Longshot! Magazine
- Ben Wessel: 2011 ReCharge! Delegate, 2012 graduate of Middlebury College
# WHERE YOUR MONEY WILL GO
We will be creating a basic, updated PDF version of The Watt: An Energy 101 Primer regardless of funding. This campaign is to fund the interactive e-version, as described above.
In rough terms, your money will go to:
- The licensing fees and/or design fees for the e-book publishing platform that we choose to work with. (We are in discussions with two great potential partners, and have reasonable cost estimates from both.)
- A graphic designer to make it handsome and create infographics and timelines and charts and other pretty things.
- Research, writing, and production time.
- A copy editor.
Trust us when we say that the vast majority of the money raised will go to “hard” costs of licensing and sub-contracted expert labor. Ben will work on this for free if he has to.
Our goal is the bare minimum we need to make this happen, but -- we’ll be honest -- we’re really hoping to raise more. If we exceed our goal, we’ll use the extra money on:
- Editorial costs for guest contributors.
- Even more infographics!
- Extra time, research, and extra chapters/sections.
# PROJECT HISTORY
A couple years ago, while working for GOOD Magazine, Ben Jervey pitched (using most of the arguments above) an “Energy Issue” as a substitute to the tired old “Green Issue.” His editors liked the idea, and a few months later it shipped.
Meanwhile, the folks at Focus the Nation were planning their annual Forums-to-Action (F2A) student training program, which develops new student leaders to drive solution-oriented clean energy collaborations between the campuses and their communities. In other words: training young clean energy advocates.
The folks at Focus the Nation got GOOD’s Energy Issue, liked it, wanted to use it in their trainings, reached out to Ben, and a partnership was born.
Originally, the primer was envisioned to be a beefed-up version of that Energy Issue. It has since grown into a much more ambitious undertaking.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, the primer was developed as an eight-week Energy 101 curriculum, a backbone of energy literacy for the students. The final product was a 211-page PDF, and everyone who saw it raved about how useful it was and suggested that it should be made more widely available.
And, so, for this year’s edition, the team decided to create a valuable resource for anyone with even a passing interest in energy. We also decided that it should absolutely be developed into an interactive e-publication. And here we are.