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Energy time travel

Humans have always depended on energy to survive.

Early people relied on the sun's heat energy for warmth and to grow plants for food and fuel. They relied on their own muscle power and that of their animals to travel and move objects. Their use of animals, water, wind and wood had only a slight impact on the environment because the world's population was so small, and the energy resources they used were renewable.

Today, we rely on other forms of energy (see next page) and the world has 7 billion people and counting. Can you imagine how much energy 7 billion people use and the impact it has on the environment?

Do some research about the history of humans' energy use, starting with the discovery of fire in 100,000 BC. Choose three widely spaced time periods between then and now (at least 50 years apart) and for each one, answer two or more of these questions:

  • How did people cook their food?
  • How did they keep warm?
  • How did they travel?
  • How did they entertain themselves?
  • How did their energy use affect the environment?

Energy timeline