Teaching About Affordable and Clean Energy

Introduction

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 is ensuring affordable and clean energy worldwide. Energy produces large amounts of greenhouse gases which largely contribute to climate change and air pollution while also having harmful impacts on people’s health and well-being. Therefore, by transitioning to clean energy, electricity will be produced with fewer negative health and environmental impacts. Today, poorer countries are getting more access to electricity, which is important because without electricity, countries are unable to fuel their economies. By teaching students about affordable and clean energy, they will understand the importance of conserving energy and why this SDG really matters. Students will learn about how moving to clean energy will combat climate change and understand how hundreds of millions of people worldwide still do not have access to electricity. 

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching about affordable and clean energy. Educators who want to integrate more information about climate change into their lessons to help students further understand the effects of a lack of investment in clean and renewable energy should check out United 4 Social Change’s topic resource Teaching About Climate Change.

Lesson Plans

  1. SDG Resources for Educators – Affordable and Clean Energy: UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, provides Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) resources for educators on affordable and clean energy. Specifically, pedagogical resources, ideas for classroom activities, and multimedia educational resources are given for educators in early childhood and education, primary education, and secondary education.
  2. Three Resources for Teaching Clean and Renewable Energy: Participate Learning has published a blog post that recommends three resources for teaching about clean and renewable energy, which include a free mini course, printable pinwheel activity and a 30-day clean energy challenge. In addition, there are a few bonus resources that will help educators integrate more Sustainable Development Goals into their classrooms. For educators who want their students to learn about clean and affordable energy in a hands-on manner should take a look at these resources!
  3. Clean Energy Education: The National Education Association (nea) offers many resources for educators on clean energy education. The focus of the lesson plans, activities, and videos include how electricity is generated, energy sources and use, energy efficiency, and more.
  4. Research Projects in Renewable Energy for High School Students: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory Education Programs has put together a booklet providing high school students with projects that will help them better understand renewable energy. For educators who are interested in teaching their students about clean and affordable energy by engaging in a project on biofuel, wind energy, or solar energy, this resource will be very useful!

Articles

  1. 5 Facts Related to Affordable and Clean Energy: Michigan State University offers five facts related to affordable and clean energy. These facts include that one in five people lack access to modern electricity and energy is the main contributor to climate change. The article also resources and opportunities to help youth learn more about global energy. Educators who want a resource to introduce the topic of affordable and clean energy to their students before they participate in a lesson in the classroom should take a look at this article! 
  2. Bridging the Clean Energy Divide – Affordable Clean Energy Solutions for Today and Tomorrow: The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) provides a 2015 report on clean energy that will help students better understand its importance. The report covers the coal industry, health impacts of our power supply, benefits of energy efficiency, and benefits of renewable energy. Though this report is a few years old, taking a look at a few pages will still prove beneficial for students.
  3. Global Electricity Access Grows—But We’re Not on Track For 2030 Sustainable Energy Goals: Environmental Health News has published an article discussing how global electricity access grows, but we are not on track for 2030 sustainable development energy goals. The article explains the results of the 2019 Energy Progress Report, specifically the facts and figures, renewable growth and room for improvement, and dirty cooking fuels.
  4. Governments Are Adopting Different Strategies for Reducing Their Carbon Footprint: CNBC offers a video on who is leading in renewable energy accompanied by a brief article that explains renewable energy and how more countries pledge to reduce their carbon footprint.

Informational Sites

  1. Sustainable Development – Ensure Access to Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable and Modern Energy: The United Nations offers information on Sustainable Development Goal 7, which is ensuring access to affordable and clean energy. Resources provided on affordable and clean energy include a quick guide on why it matters, an infographic, facts and figures, and related news and videos.
  2. Renewable Energy, Explained: National Geographic published an informational article explaining renewable energy. This article discusses clean and renewable energy, types of renewable energy sources (hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, geothermal), and ways to boost renewable energy.
  3. Affordable and Clean Energy: The United Nations provides a comprehensive guide including a summary, current status, promising innovations and best practices, priorities for action, and targets regarding Sustainable Development Goal 7. From this guide, students will learn the progress that has been made and the areas that require more attention in the UN’s efforts to give everyone access to affordable and clean energy.
  4. Department of Energy – Clean Energy: The U.S. Department of Energy has put together a collection of energy resources on solar, wind, water, geothermal, bioenergy, nuclear, and hydrogen & fuel cells.
  5. Renewable Energy – The Clean Facts: The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) provides a guide on renewable energy. This guide includes facts on renewable energy, types of renewable energy sources, other alternative energy sources, and renewable energy in the home.

Conclusion

Teaching about affordable and clean energy is very important, especially as combating climate change is one of the greatest issues that we are facing today. To help students connect with the topic, discussing how a lack of affordable and clean energy is affecting people in real time is key, whether this is in the form of talking about climate change or the lifestyle of people in poorer countries who have no access to electricity.

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