Energy is the greatest source of human innovation and is essential to all kinds of activity. The demand for energy multiplied 13 times during the last century. The two oil crises in 1973 and 1979 made the developed countries aware of their dependence on energy.
At a time when these countries are reviewing their energy policies to include renewable energies, other countries are dreaming of having nuclear power stations. Globally, there are enormous inequalities: two million human beings do not have access to electricity, and a person in the United States consumes 30 times more energy than someone in India.
Problems and challenges
Fossil fuels, which represent 80% of total energy consumption, contribute to air, soil, sea and river pollution. Road transport is the main source of toxic gas emissions, resulting in local pollution and contributing on a global level to the greenhouse effect.
The main global challenge is how to manage energy. Industrialised countries have used energy resources without counting the cost but we are now becoming aware of the importance of managing energy better. One alternative is to use advanced technology to reduce our energy consumption.
Great hopes also rest on the development of non-polluting, renewable energy (solar, wind, hydraulic and biofuels). As a complement to these technological developments, encouraging people to be more economical with their daily energy consumption is a key factor in the success of an energy management action plan.
- Carry out a landscape study of the local district or town in order to locate the objects and places that show how important energy is to the town
- Carry out a survey on energy use in the home over one day showing the regular energy requirements, the type of energy used (fuel, gas, wood etc.), electrical appliance consumption and the efforts to manage energy made within the family
- Produce an inventory of different energy sources. Emphasise the high use of fossil fuels, look at the problem of renewing these resources and consider possible long-term solutions
- Visit a renewable energy production site in order to become familiar with these little-known energy principles