The Energy Story

  Energy Is Born
  Energy Types
  Energy Changes
  Energy Generation

The Energy Problem

  Conservation of Energy
  Aging of Energy
  Finite Resources
  The Oil "Crisis"
  Energy Pollution
  Discussion Topics

The Energy Solution

  Conserving Electricity
  Appliance Efficiency
  Heating Conservation
  Renewable Energy

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Teacher Guide

About the Author

Secret Lives Title - The Energy Problem

Finite Resources

The second law of thermodynamics leads to the conclusion that energy cannot be used over and over indefinitely, that the available usable energy is a finite resource. While there are still large supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas, the demand is increasing as the amount of new supplies being found is decreasing.

Increased Energy Demand

Worldwide energy use has been increasing and is projected to keep on increasing as shown in the graph below, especially the demand for oil.

world energy consumption by type graph

Source: EIA (Energy Information Administratioin), official energy statistics from the US governmen
International Eenrgy Outlook 2000

One reason that the demand for energy has been increasing, is that our per captita energy use or the amount of energy that each person uses has been increasing. The diagram below illustrates how modern man uses much more energy than the humans from past epochs.

Courtesy of Uranium Information Center Ltd.
Energy for the World - Why Uranium?

Another reason for this increased demand is the exponential growth of the world's human population as shown in the diagram below. As more of the developing world becomes more industrialized, the more energy humans will need.


world population growth graph
Courtesy of World Resources Institute, 10 G Street, NE (Suite 800), Washington, DC 20002