Duke Energy has sponsored the Keystone Center Key Issues Institute for several years to encourage environmental education. The Keystone Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization designed to help thought leaders, teachers, students and decision makers use scientific knowledge and state-of-the-art consensus building to make sound decisions in the areas of environmental, health and energy policy.
The Key Issues Institute began in 1992 with the goal of bringing complex environmental issues into the classroom and training educators to investigate with their students. Each year, about 60 teachers from across the nation are invited to attend seminars in Keystone, Colorado. The Key Issues Institute is facilitated by a team of professional educators from around the U.S. who have participated in the Key Issues Institute and are actively incorporating the framework into their classrooms. In the last 19 years, Duke Energy has sponsored over 100 teachers to attend Key Issues, and in turn those teachers have reached over 13,000 students. In 2016, 15 teachers from Florida and Ohio attended the session through the Duke Energy sponsorship.
The Key Issues framework is designed to promote a collaborative approach to scientific investigation and problem solving. For example, in a lesson called Triangle Triage, teachers guide their students through a decision using a sustainability grid that compares the economic, environmental and social impacts of the choice before them. The lesson is designed to explore the concept of sustainability from all sides of a topic, from bottled vs. tap water to organic vs. conventional farming. Triangle Triage shows students first-hand that in dealing with real-world issues, there is often no “right” answer, but there may be a solution that does the most good for the most people.
We believe that bright futures begin in the classroom, and every child deserves a fair chance at academic success. An investment in our teachers is an investment in building a diverse workforce for the future.