Inuvik will host the first of three NWT energy literacy workshops in August, with a goal of creating awareness around energy consumption at the household level.
From Aug. 13 to 15, NWT residents are invited to the MacKenzie Hotel to explore the impacts of their household’s energy usage during the Shining Lights: Energy Literacy and Language in the NWT workshop.
By creating awareness and education around energy consumption, workshop facilitator Jessica Simpson hopes residents will make healthier choices for the environment.
“We want people to understand what their personal values are around energy,” said Simpson. “After they have a better understanding of energy, we want people to be able to make individual choices and their behaviours around energy at home, like being able to reduce their reliance on things like diesel energy.”
But rather than promoting green energy alternatives, she said the goal is to enable residents to make choices on their own behalf.
“People in the NWT could do with better energy literacy on the household level so that they feel empowered about being able to address energy consumption and conservation in their own way, rather than having someone tell them what to do,” she said. “This is about people in the communities being able to understand what’s going on and being able to take their own action.”
Discussion topics include cultural values around energy use, the history of energy in NWT communities, how energy is used around the home and more.
“We’re also going to be addressing the key terminology. It’s going to be different from a regular terminology workshop, but we’re also addressing key phrases in different languages so that people can be able to talk about those a little better when they go back to their communities,” said Simpson.
Fort Simpson and Yellowknife will host the other sessions in the fall.
Space is limited to 25 participants for each workshop, with priority given to women and youth between the ages of 18 and 35.
“But it could be for anybody, as long as they’re interested in energy literacy and bringing the information that they learned back to their communities, then that would be fine too,” said Simpson.
She also hopes the discussions inspire residents to make some changes on a personal level.
“Energy use and conservation, we talk about it a lot in terms of science. But it’s also a cultural value – how we use it is a cultural thing,” she said. “Being able to change our culture and bring that back to the community in their own home, then that’s a big deal.”
In the context of climate change, she said hosting such workshops are “more important than ever.”
“The thing about climate change – we can know all of the science about climate change and what is contributing to climate change – but really what it comes down to is our personal and cultural value that we have to address,” she said.