Visualizing Energy communicates trustworthy information on the link between sustainable energy and human well-being to decision-makers, media, companies, advocates, educators, and the public.
Who we are
Visualizing Energy is an independent and neutral university-based research and communication organization. We are a project of the Boston University Institute for Global Sustainability (IGS).
What we do
We knit data analysis, visualizations, and the written word into stories that reveal how our energy system can be transformed to reduce inequity, steer humanity from climate disaster, improve health and other social outcomes, and lead to healthier natural systems. We address the energy system itself (sources, conversion, end use), economics (prices, investment, market failures), social outcomes (well-being, energy poverty, and climate justice), and environmental change (climate, pollution, and land and water use).
How are we different
The internet is awash in information about energy, climate change, and health impacts of pollution. But society is deficient in a shared understanding of how our energy system must change. One reason for that is that information is siloed by technology, policy, and disciplines. We use the unique role of energy in human affairs and natural systems as the unifying principle behind compelling, data-driven stories that point to solutions that are feasible, affordable, and equitable. We are interdisciplinary and collaborative, working with diverse teams and perspectives that span the broad energy landscape.
Visualizing Energy aims to accelerate a sustainable energy transition by deploying a more equitable system of knowledge. To that end, all the data, visualizations, and original text are freely available to all users. We license all our content under the Creative Commons BY license. Users have permission to use, distribute, and reproduce the data, visualizations, and articles provided the source and authors are credited.
We heavily rely on data that someone else produced. All the data in Visualizing Energy is attributed to its original source so that the user can independently judge its accuracy and reliability. We describe all major modifications that we make to data.
The data and knowledge generated by the scientific investigation are the cornerstones of our work. This includes the social, data, and health sciences, and their related professions. We recognize that the humanities bring an indispensable perspective to the energy and climate challenge.
We are neutral regarding technology and policy. The outcome of rigorous and impartial investigation guides the questions we ask, the content we present, and the conclusions that we draw.
Independence is a foundation of reliability. We are vigilant in maintaining a firewall between our work and external special interests, whatever their orientation.
We prioritize making knowledge accessible, clear, and actionable to a broad audience.
We are committed to an equitable energy system in which every person has access to clean, affordable energy services regardless of race, ethnicity, age, income, language, or class.
We work with people, data, and methods that span academic disciplines and multiple ways of knowing.
Our energy system is a taproot of inequity. Infrastructure such as pipelines, refineries, and power plants are frequently located near vulnerable and historically disadvantaged communities. Those communities endure greater exposure to the pollution and environmental degradation caused by the extraction, processing, and use of energy. Fossil fuels are the root of climate change whose impacts exacerbate every form of inequity. At the same time, vulnerable populations are cut off from the benefits of society’s use of energy, such as meaningful and well paid work, access to clean air and water, and access to clean, affordable energy services.
In high income nations, socially vulnerable populations struggle to pay utility bills, keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they often lack access to energy-efficient housing and transportation. In low income nations, reliance on traditional sources of energy places a disproportionate burden on women and is a major source of indoor air pollution. In all countries, socially vulnerable populations lack access to the decision making process that determines the source, composition, distribution, and cost of energy services.
Visualizing Energy is committed to an equitable energy system in which every person has access to clean, affordable energy services regardless of race, ethnicity, age, income, language, or class. We commit to the examination and reporting of the inequities associated with our current energy system and how the ongoing energy transition can reverse inequity through intentional thought and action. We pledge to build the capacity to share our work with affected populations in ways that bring about meaningful change.