Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology

Citizen Perspectives on Energy Issues in Canada:  A National Survey of Energy Literacy and Energy Citizenship 

By Louise Comeau, John R. Parkins, Richard Stedman, Thomas Beckley

This national survey explores public perspectives on energy issues in Canada with a focus on preferences for energy sources, perceived and actual knowledge of energy systems, trust in energy-related organizations and sources of knowledge about energy issues. The survey also explores willingness to engage in energy related issues and general values and beliefs about energy systems. Conducted in the Fall of 2014, 3,000 respondents were randomly selected from an internet-based panel with quotas for gender, age, region, education, income, language and urban/rural differences. Survey results show that support for renewable energy sources is strong and awareness of energy saving options is also high. Regarding energy citizenship, although awareness of opportunities to participate in energy-related discussions is moderate, levels of participation are very low. Canadians express strong values toward environmental protection compared to explicit utilitarian uses of the environment and they worry that human interference with nature can produce disastrous consequences. Finally, policy considerations are provided to advance literacy and civic engagement on energy issues.

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Energy Literacy