What communities in Ohio feel the most significant impact of new energy development? Rural communities with relatively low population density and little economic and social diversification experience the most significant effect according to research. Such communities are exposed to the long-term economic fluctuations experienced by natural resource dependent economies. They cannot easily absorb change and the development that has been associated with challenges related to social and family services, agriculture and land issues, and community infrastructure. How can we help? We can focus on increasing community capacity and enhancing education and training.
How is Extension part of Energy Education?
The decision-making phase of energy development can involve conflict and misinformation. Extension professionals in Ohio have provided research-based information to allow stakeholders and landowners to make informed decisions. Many times controversies centered on energy development are emotionally charged and often influenced as much by values, beliefs and social interaction as by dollars. By combining Extension’s wide expertise into one program, all types of stakeholders can be more effectively engaged.
How do Extension professionals work collaboratively?
OSU Extension has the ability to provide multi-disciplinary programming to inform landowners, stakeholders and interested community members about the social dimensions, economic issues and landowner issues associated with sudden energy development. The key to such efforts: working with stakeholders to design audience-specific programs. Multiple engagement methods are used as well as the formation of energy committees specific to certain topics to facilitate co-discovery efforts.
More information about Extension program areas working jointly on a common topic is available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Submitted by Cynthia Bond, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator – Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)