07/02/12

Rio+20: Let’s Teach Children About Sustainable Energy

Article written by Alliance communications assistant John Buarotti.

The average student today will likely know that 2+2=4. And who built the Great Pyramids? Egypt, of course. But ask how their electronics are powered or where the energy comes from to turn on their water – well, you may get more blank stares.

Sustainable energy and energy efficiency issues are significantly underrepresented in environmental educational programs around the world and now is the time to discuss improvements.

kids and bulb

Discussing Energy Issues at Rio+20

With one in five people still lacking access to modern electricity, the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative is drawing attention to critical global issues.

Now that the Rio+20 Conference has come to an end, we find the SEA initiative shined brightly as one of the U.N.’s key successes. There are over $50 billion dollars, hundreds of actions and over 50 governments engaged and committed to achieving the following sustainable energy goals by 2030:

  • Provide universal access to modern energy services;
  • Double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency;
  • And double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

But with a populous uneducated in sustainability issues, a new goal should be added:

  • Work to create a citizenry that is sustainable-energy literate.

Global Energy Efficiency Awareness

Young people play a huge role in tackling climate and energy-demand issues. And these issues have the potential to reduce poverty and provide skilled “green” jobs in the global economy.

There are three steps that countries can take to increase energy efficiency awareness:

  • Looking to local corporate and utility sponsors for help to implement sustainable energy programs for young people,
  • Creating a multinational organization to seek out and create energy education resources and;
  • Working with environmental groups to emphasize energy efficiency and sustainable energy in their own messages.

Let’s use the successes achieved so far by Sustainable Energy for All to discuss how to educate the world’s youth and make energy efficiency awareness a cultural norm.