A few years ago, the National Environmental Education Foundation conducted a survey [PDF] of 1,503 American adults about energy. Although 75 percent of those surveyed said they knew “a fair amount” or “a lot” about energy, only 12 percent could correctly answer seven or more questions on a 10-question energy quiz.
That means there’s a big need for Americans to become more educated 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. That’s where The Watt? comes in.
The book, which will be published with help from Focus The Nation and, hopefully, a lot of regular people like you through Kickstarter, is intended to be, as the subtitle proclaims, an “Energy 101 Primer.” As an interactive e-book it’s aiming to use simple language, colorful charts and exciting infographics that anyone can understand.
“Having covered climate and energy issues for nearly a decade now, it’s pretty consistently frustrating to see how uninformed public discourse,” said Ben Jervey, the project’s producer and a contributor to OnEarth magazine and DeSmogBlog. ”The general public still believes that the president can impact gasoline prices, for instance.”
“Basically, I believe that we simply need to have a more informed discussion,” Jervey continued. “I believe the solutions are there — that we can transition to a clear, safe, and almost exclusively renewable energy system within a reasonably short amount of time (decades, not years…but not centuries either). But we don’t stand a chance unless we really know what we’re trying to accomplish.”