Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

October 8, 2010

Multiplication in Fourth Grade — A Great Mystery

Category: Climate Change,Observations,Policy – Tom Harrison – 1:01 pm

One of the 9's Tricks (photo: Christy Green)

I have a 4th grader learning multiplication and division. She asks “Why do I need to know this?” For her, multiplication is a deep, abstract mystery.

My 8th grade son understands because he’s doing algebra and uses multiplication every day. But when he was in 4th grade, he asked the same question my daughter asks now.

He tried to explain why she needs to know. I tried to explain also.

I have learned that there’s no amount of explanation that will convince a 4th grader why it’s important to learn multiplication. They do it because they have to. They have teachers, and grades, and someone says they have to.

What Will Motivate People To Think About Energy?

Recently, I have been thinking about what will motivate people to do energy monitoring. I am in touch with most of the people who are making energy monitoring products, as part of my job. I think we’re all a little mystified why people don’t seem as interested as we think they should be.

At first I thought: to save the planet. But it’s not immediately obvious that there’s a connection.

Then I thought: to save money. But it’s not immediately obvious that it will save money.

Then I thought: what if it were fun, or competitive? But even the most motivated people seem uninterested. I was unsuccessful at several attempts to get a small group of my town’s green group to find even a few people who were interested enough to respond to email, much less follow through.

The are No Teachers When You’re a Grown Up

My daughter will learn multiplication, as will her classmates. She has homework, tests, and so on. She does it because she has to.

The rest of us don’t have such motivation. So I guess we’re just like we were when learning multiplication in 4th grade, just without the incentives.


Photo Credit: Christy Tvarok Green, from Flickr, Under Creative Commons Licence

1 Comment

  1. Discontentment is the first step towards change. For me, it’s inefficiency. Wasting 75%+ of electricity on incandescent lighting drives me up the wall. I really admire bikes, for the same reason, but even then, I still don’t bike to work like I should.

    Comment by Terry31415 — October 11, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

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