BY BILL FERRIS

America runs on electricity. And coal, and wind power, and hydroelectric, and Dunkin Donuts. Powering a Nation, a multimedia project from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication, looks at the cost of our current energy situation, the possible alternatives, as well as the consequences of making the sorts of wholesale changes that green energy would bring.

PAN does this through a series of video stories, interviewing the people directly affected by a particular energy topic. For example, take a piece on mountaintop removal, a controversial form of coal mining. PAN weighs the catastrophic environmental damage done by this type of mining against the economic collapse that would result if mountaintop removal were outlawed in states such as West Virginia. Powering a Nation also looks at America’s crumbling energy grid, the relationship between food and fossil fuels, and contrasts the energy profiles of several American families.  It’s all great food for thought for classroom discussions on energy, the environment, or social studies.

PAN includes additional sections, such as guest editorials from the likes of Sen. John Kerry and Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, as well as a variety of infographics that illustrate an energy topic in easy-to-understand terms. In October, PAN will launch Powering Down, a game that gives players ideas on how to conserve energy.

Whatever your opinion on America’s energy use, Powering a Nation reminds us there are consequences to whatever action we as a country take, including if we take no action.

Powering a Nation

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