Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources
Previously in Phase 1, I researched some background information on renewable energy sources, as well as created 10 main questions to solve during the microcampus trip. Now, in Phase 2 I will continue my researching by finding helpful resources that can support and answer my questions.
When I first began researching information about my project, I started by searching up key words such as 'China' and 'energy consumption rankings'. The results for these words then led me to read about what other "electricity-makers" China has begun using, in replace of the harmful fossil fuel created by burning China's abundant amount of coal. Furthermore, they also included the locations in which are beginning to use more eco-friendly sources. Since my topic is based on these energy sources, I continued on in finding more information on how these different generators worked. The key terms I searched up for this were: eco-friendly power generators, solar energy, wind turbines, and hydroelectricity. After reading about these, I wanted to do more research on the impact that these substitutional energy sources had on China's total energy consumption.
Most of the information that I learned and received was from a website that I have used in previous classes, and found to be very useful as well as trustable. Also, on the side of the website there is a biography as well as an interview on the main supplier of information that is being spread through this website. Another reason for why I trust this website was also due to its link, which ends with '.org', as in top level domain for non-profit organizations, instead of '.com' as in top level domain for commerce. At the bottom of the page there is an "about us" link that takes you to information about the students who published this portion of the website.
One of the experts that I chose to contact was Dr. Eric Martinot (firstname.lastname@example.org) due to his vast knowledge on past, present, and possible futures for China's renewable power. He is not only an internationally recognized writer and educator for the subject of renewable energy, but a speaker for it as well. Also, he lived in Beijing for three years, from 2005-2008, so he has experienced life in China.
Below is my example letter to him:
Hi Mr. Martinot,
My name is Nicole C. and I am currently an 8th grader attending Shanghai American School Puxi. In a few days I, along with 15 other students, will be traveling to a small town in the Yunnan province called Xizhou, for a period of one month. While I am there I will be researching the renewable energy sources that they use in the village. I happened to read a featured article, written by you, about the renewable power for China and thought you could possibly give me some information on your insights towards China's renewable and sustainable energy policies. It would mean a lot to me if you could take a look at my blog (http://sasmicrocampus.org/students/about/709) and provide me with feedback and other possible resources. As well as advice on the questions below that I will be trying to answer during my Microcampus trip.
1) When and why did the village decide to use a more eco-friendly approach to generate power?
2) Who gives the approval to build these generators?
3) Did getting energy consumers, such as wind turbines or solar panels, cost the village a lot of money? How much?
4) How long did it take to build the new electricity producers? All at once?
5) Where are these electricity generators located and why?
6) Is there still electricity being generated by burning coal? How much has the usage of coal decreased?
7) How has this change affected and impacted the surrounding environment? people?
8) Has there been an increase (or decrease) of electricity that is provided to the public?
9) What do these generators give and send out electricity to?
10) How much electricity is generated during one days period? week? month? year?
Thank you for your consideration and I hope to hear back from you soon!
Three -to- Fives
So far all of my interviewees knew what 3-5's were, and had no problem talking and giving me advice on who I could contact to get more information. During my talk to Annaliese, she recommended and took me to go talk to one of the Linden Centre guards because they knew more about the local area than she did. During this talk, there was some translation needed, since the guard only spoke in Chinese. Furthermore, I chose her to be one of my 3-5's since she seemed to know a lot about the XiZhou village during our tour yesterday. In the process of this interview, I received information from both her, as well as from the guard. Whose information helped backup Annaliese's with more detailed facts.
The second person that I talked to for my 3-5's was Xiao Tang. The reason for why I chose her was because she seemed to be very interested and had deep inquiries yesterday, after we watched the documentary on eco-friendly activists. She recommended me to talk to the governor or someone who is in charge of supplying the solar panels and wind powered street lights to the local village. Also, she told me that one of the guards here at YZR, Mr. He, was a delivery guy for coal. His information could explain to me how much of a decrease there has been in terms of coal usage here in the village.
The third person that I talked to was Ms. Mai, who offered me a few options for people to talk to about my inquiry project. These included: Mr. Tuan, who is very proud of his investment on a solar heating system that was built on his house, as well as Mr. Linden who is in charge of the water heating at the Linden Centre Hotel.
As I looked through the books in the Linden Centre library, I was surprised to find many books related to environmental geology as well as finding ways to be more "green". These books probably have information related to finding simple ways to become more eco-friendly. They may not however, talk and focus mainly on power generators, but they do have the same concept and approach to them. Some of these books also include the opinions of others, and are not just based solely on facts.
In conclusion to this phase, I now have resources and expert recommendations that can help me to understand and find more information on my topic (located in Phase 3).