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Activity: The Appetite for Energy

Purpose

Gaining a sense of how much and what types of energy we use today helps us understand how much things have really changed over the last 500 years. It also helps us think about how our energy consumption impacts the Earth, and what this might mean for the future.
"Oil platform P-51 (Brazil)" by Divulgação Petrobras / ABr - Agência Brasil [1]. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0-br via Wikimedia Commons

Process

How do we know that life is different today from what it was 500 or 1,000 years ago? One way to answer this question is to look at how humans’ lives have changed from then to now, specifically in one area where dramatic change has taken place: energy use.
List the top three energy-consuming activities that you have taken part in in the last 24 hours. Energy consumption might be in the form of electric energy, energy from food, or fuel for transportation, to name a few.

For Further Discussion

Once you’ve listed your top three energy-consuming activities, share them—in the Questions Area below. Then, look at someone else’s top three activities and comment on whether or not energy was used for those same things 100 years ago, and how this helps you think about rising energy consumption in the last 100 years.

Want to join the conversation?

  • blobby green style avatar for user Kylie Macnamara
    How do they build oil rigs
    (6 votes)
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    • starky sapling style avatar for user ForgottenUser
      Good question! BP (an oil company) has defined six steps.

      The first step is building a jacket for the rig - a mesh of steel beams on top of a float that acts as your framework. This is then transported by barge to wherever the oil is, and is secured using long metal piles. The third step involves building the topside structure, which is what you would see if you looked at pictures of a rig. The fourth step is connecting the topside, as well as making sure the wiring, piping, and other systems are all in place. Without them, the project would not work. The fifth and sixth steps involve transporting and floating the top to the bottom, usually by crane.

      Hope that helped!
      (13 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user ycordeiro73
    my cell phone, enectricity and my computer.
    (3 votes)
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  • marcimus pink style avatar for user Chom Arnold
    Using this computer, eating a super-burrito, listening to the television.
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Delphine DESCHANG
    using oven, imported food, using air con
    (3 votes)
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  • purple pi purple style avatar for user bestwickcheryl5
    Heating my home with gas central heating. Using electric to power all the appliances in the house. Having carpet delivered and fitted.
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Monique Dean
    My top 3 things I've used today is My car, my cell phone, and the forklift I drive at work.
    (2 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Char char
    Microwave oven ,tv &,generator
    (1 vote)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user alton west
      I would say 100 years ago there weren't any microwaves tvs or generators, I could be wrong but if i am right i would say that the invention of energy using tools have made for a dramatic increase in energy consumption over the years.
      (3 votes)
  • leaf yellow style avatar for user Lünee Vrümee #TYllwLf
    First one: Using electric lights (I'm always scared of animatronics, and other horror figures, so I sleep with the lights on.)
    2) My stereo; I also leave it on all night.
    3) My computer, because I leave that on all night to, so I can hook it up to my stereo.

    Please don't accuse me of being unaware of how bad my energy consumption could be for the environment.
    (2 votes)
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  • leafers seedling style avatar for user gitarisuto05
    my car, shopping for food trucked in from who knows where, electricity for tech devices; we used our own power and horse power over 100 years ago, food was more locally sourced (I'm working towards it), and electricity was more common at the city and wealthy mansion level
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user alton west
    I used my car so energy required for my car to move ie transportation, I used my computer for work and this homework, and I used the phone.
    (1 vote)
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