The story of energy begins with water. Today water and energy are interconnected — for better or worse. Running out of water in one place can cause an energy shortage in another, but the reverse is also true. Saving water saves energy and vice versa. How can we make energy “less thirsty” and water less energy-intensive? WATER traces a centuries-long journey across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the United States to show the history of energy and water.
The miracles of energy enable a stable supply in our global food system. But when food goes from farm to table to landfill, that embedded energy is wasted. How do we harness energy to feed our growing population without the downsides of industrialization? FOOD traces a centuries-long journey across Europe, Asia, and the United States to show us the energy it takes to bring us our food.
Innovations in energy have revolutionized transportation over time from literal horsepower for horse drawn carriages to modern combustion engines, electric vehicles, and rockets. Transportation changes societies and our sense of place changes along with it. Machines help us travel over land and across the sky, but they require an enormous amount of energy. TRANSPORTATION traces a centuries-long journey across the world to show us the energy that brings us modern transportation.
Before modern energy, wealth was tied to land ownership. Today, wealth is tied to energy and who controls it. Energy changes the way wealth is concentrated, creating a cascade of social and economic effects. WEALTH traces a centuries-long journey across the world to show us the energy that gives us wealth.
Energy is all around us, hidden in every aspect of our lives. The future of cities and the future of energy are closely connected. Cities shape our relationship with the natural and built environment and consume 40% of U.S. energy. CITIES traces a centuries-long journey across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and North America to show us the energy that gave us modern cities.
Energy can be both the cause and the instrument of modern war. Advances in energy have historically arisen during the urgency of wartime. Energy done the right way can lead to peace, energy done the wrong way leads to instability and conflict. WAR traces a centuries-long journey across the world to show us how energy changed the way we fight wars.