Editor’s note: Our own data journalist Jordan Wirfs-Brock gave this talk at “It’s About Time,” a TEDxMileHighWomen event in Denver in September 2016. Here’s why she decided to do it:
In my nearly three years as an energy journalist, I’ve learned why the power grid hums along at 60 Hz, what happens to oil and gas wells after they’re abandoned, and how key energy policy is supposed to work. And while the facts I’ve dug up while researching stories are interesting, they haven’t stuck with me nearly as much as the random conversations I’ve had with people on buses or at parties when the question inevitably comes up, What is it you do?
Being a journalist, of course, I turn the question back on them about their own personal relationship with energy. Some people are obsessed with energy. Some are beyond bored. Others are bursting with questions. And more often than not, people talk about energy as if it’s a friend they haven’t talked to in years and keep meaning to call…but never do.
Energy makes everything we do possible. (I’m not being hyperbolic: That’s a fact.) Yet it doesn’t hold the same prominence in our psyches as money or food or language or any of the other things that make our world go round. I’ve done a lot of thinking over the years about why that’s a problem. And I’ve distilled that thinking into this talk about how our relationship with energy is broken, and what we can do to fix it.