Energy Literacy – How Much Do Canadians Really Know?

More Canadians likely know what ISIS means than know what SAGD means. Whereas the former (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) may be a real existential threat, the later (Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage) is a critical component of the energy extraction process in Canada’s oil sands and, as such, directly affects the lives of all Canadians. For the record, less than ¼ of Canadians know what SAGD means according to a major study on Energy Literacy Leger conducted on behalf of Alberta Oil magazine.

“If there’s one thing that’s been made clear over the last few years of anti-pipeline protests and petitions, it’s that there’s a disconnect between how passionate the average person is about energy issues and how much they actually know” Alberta Oil, February 2015

Energy issues have become the hot button debate in Canada recently. Disagreements about oil sands expansion, new pipelines and green energy development have become front page news across the country. As a result, the discussion has become extremely polarized, pitting the energy companies bent on pillaging Canada’s natural resources against the environmental crusaders defending the land, air and water. While it is easier to couch the debate in these black and white terms, the reality is quite different. Everyone would agree that for a discussion to be truly productive, rather than merely argumentative, a degree of literacy about the topic is required from all sides.

In Canada, energy production, distribution and use remains a critical driver of the economy and simultaneously a significant contributor to climate change. But true understanding about energy in Canada is surprisingly low. For example, according to the Leger study on Energy Literacy, only 31% of Canadians feel they are well informed about issues relating to energy production and consumption but all will have an opinion about how Canada’s energy resources should or should not be developed. While the debate will continue, the only way to move the discussion forward will be through a common understanding of both sides of the argument.

How Energy Literate Are You?

Test your knowledge and compare yourself against how much other Canadians know about energy production in Canada. Take our interactive Energy Literacy quiz and see how well you do!