Module 1: Why Energy Matters


Module 1: Why Energy Matters


We will get to the facts and figures soon enough, but in Module 1 we will start with stories of our ancestors showing the immense value, but real difficulties of energy use.

When drought strikes, people who can drill wells, pump water and trade for food are much better off than people without diesel pumps and trucks. Drought ended the civilization of the Ancestral Puebloan people of what is now the southwestern United States but was much less damaging to the people of Oklahoma more recently. However, before diesel, gasoline, and other fossil fuels, we often burned whales and trees much faster than they grew back, causing real problems.

Within this module, the focus is to get you thinking about the value of energy, and how difficult getting that energy can be—both historically and currently.

Note that we do not expect you to become experts on ancestral Puebloans or Oklahomans—they serve as examples. We could have told similar stories from China, or Europe, or Guatemala, or many other places with many other people. This is really about all of us.