Energy Management and the Environment:
Challenges and the Future
Dr. Frits Pannekoek
President, Athabasca University
Universities have an obligation not only to engage in research, but to engage students and the wider community in that research. Furthermore, and even more important, university scholars have an obligation to share that research. Energy Management and the Environment: Challenges and the Future most certainly does that. Anshuman Khare and Joel R. Nodelman bring together students, practitioners, and faculty from a number of universities, including Simon Fraser and the University of Alberta, to explore what has surely become the single most important issue of this and the next generation – energy sustainability. Many of the authors, for example, Darin Tucker, David P. Williams, Frank Lenarduzzi, Ken Jackson, and Lisa Dechaine, are outstanding graduates from Athabasca University’s Centre for Innovative Management, which is providing leadership in the study of sustainability issues facing the energy industry. As important, Khare and Nodelman have provided links between those involved in the not-for-profit environmental and in the for-profit energy sectors. Only through careful collaboration and sharing like this can universities perform their fullest obligations to challenge and enrich society. By so doing, Energy Management and the Environment: Challenges and the Future captures the richness of the energy management field in all its dimensions.
Another important aspect of this book is that it is open access. In the last decade, the incredible rise in the cost of information has made much university-based quality research unavailable to the globe’s citizens. This book is part of the new movement that believes that publicly funded research must be made available at no additional charge to the public. Energy Management and the Environment: Challenges and the Future has its copyright in the creative commons, and is available to anyone to download at no cost. I am firmly convinced that this must be the wave of the future, and Athabasca University has committed itself to the open source, and open access movement by creating Canada’s first open access press, Athabasca University Press.
Universities have a real obligation to provide research and insight to the problems facing their societies. In Alberta—and particularly in Northern Alberta, the home of Athabasca University—energy is the key economic driver and is causing impacts on its water resources, forests and wildlife that are not yet wholly understood. Sustainability and a more reasonable scale of oil sands exploitation are key to the province’s and nation’s survival.
The sustainability problem is evident in Athabasca’s backyard – and our faculty, students and alumni have made the most of their obligation to advance research that is relevant to the province and the region. Certainly their findings will help drive the newly founded Athabasca River Basin Research Institute at Athabasca University. Dr. Khare has more than helped push its mandate.
Not everyone will agree with everything that is said in the book, and that is as it should be. But if debate results in better solutions to achieving an environment of sustainability, then Energy Management and the Environment: Challenges and the Future will have been the success envisioned by its authors.