/ Leveraging the power of multimedia to engage, inform, explain and empower
Reporting that seeks to empower
Developing vaccines to tackle a global epidemic or delivering last-mile healthcare. Feeding the world’s growing population as land and water resources become more strained. Lifting people and societies out of extreme poverty or rebuilding countries destroyed by war. Slowing the pace of global climate change or providing rapid response to associated natural disasters.
One common element underpins the world’s capacity to address many of the challenges that dominate recent headlines: ensuring universal access to adequate, reliable, affordable and clean energy. Increasingly, activists and academics are demanding that policy makers and energy sector players address systemic failures that make energy ‘more costly’ for the most vulnerable people in societies, linking energy justice to the right to a dignified life.
The ENERGY ACTION Project (EnAct) also believes it’s time for everyone to ‘get’ energy.
We all rely on some form of energy every minute of every day. Yet most people have low understanding of how it is produced, distributed and consumed or how emissions are released across that chain of supply and demand. They know even less about how government policies aim to trigger innovation, ensure appliances and equipment are efficient, and define how energy markets function. For valid reasons, they distrust energy companies.
In turn, many do not recognise that human demand for energy – whether for personal use or for industrial, commercial or public activities – drives everything production to pricing to pollution levels. As the global population rises from 8 to 9 billion and economic activity (measured as gross domestic product [GDP] per capita) doubles,1 energy demand is projected to grow by almost 50% by 2050.2
Critically, many people do not yet grasp the massive dual challenge a just, clean energy transition represents.
Currently, 13% of people – 940 mln globally – have no access to electricity; 40% (3 bln) lack clean fuels for cooking and heating.3 Per person, energy consumption varies wildly in relation to demographics and income. The average US citizen consumes more than 10 times the amount of the average Indian. That gap becomes a gulf when one considers very low-income nations in Africa and Asia, where people consume less than 100 kilowatt hours per year.4
In 2020, fossil fuels accounted for 80% of global energy consumption. Despite remarkable progress on renewable technologies, by 2050 the US Energy Information Administration estimates they will still supply 70% of a much larger market. In turn, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are set to increase by 25-30%.5
As climate change advances, those with least access to clean energy sources and adequate energy services are likely to suffer the worst impacts. Extreme heat or cold will be devastating for those with inadequate shelter. Wildfires, floods and typhoons can destroy entire settlements in minutes. And the simple act of continuing to cook and heat with wood, charcoal and dung will continue to be fatal; already, it causes 3.2 mln death annually, of which 237 000 are children under the age of five.6
‘Empowering people through energy reporting’, is the end-goal for EnAct.
Our approach particularly the multimedia format, reflects the reality that the first, biggest challenge is to engage people in the energy story. For public audiences, this means making it relevant to their daily lives. For decision makers, it means personalising the lived experience behind data and statistics that shape policy and practice. A second consideration – the level of knowledge or know-how different audiences need – determines the degree to which we inform and/or explain to support better decisions and more sustainable behaviours.
Finally, our tagline reflects our determination to be responsive to audiences through the practice of social journalism. EnAct aims to embed energy reporters in communities facing energy challenges to understand what they need to know, to ‘seek’ such information on their behalf and to deliver it in formats that empower. Recognising that empowerment might come in the form of improved technologies, access to financing, better social policies, fairer pricing schemes and many other factors, EnAct aims to report in ways that ‘connects the dots’ across diverse areas. In turn, ‘communities’ may be groups of citizens, clusters of energy innovators, entrepreneurs in need of energy solutions or policy makers looking for proven approaches.
EnAct is looking for EnAblers: if you share our belief that everyone should get energy, please consider the various ways to engage.
4 For comparison, one kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity is enough to: Watch television for 10 hours; vacuum for one hour; wash 12 pounds of laundry; or work on computer for 5-10 hours. (www.napower.com/what-kilowatt-hourkwh)
Connect with EnAct on social media channels:
The ENERGY ACTION Project
EnAct is a project of ACT 4, a non-profit association registered in France (No. de Siret: 805 036 936 00013) that supports cultural initiatives that raise awareness of and engagement in social issues.
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