Human Energy Use

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Human uses of energy over 10,000 years are explained in Changing Environments (Morris et al, 2003a). Until 10,000 years ago humans lived as hunter gatherers in small groups, this changed in the current interglacial stage or Holocene with the introduction of agriculture.

Figure 2.19 page 82 of (Morris et al, 2003b) indicates that during the early agriculturalist period humans had begun to domesticate animals that could be used for carrying and pulling. Energy use increased from 0.24 W (calculations - Morris et al, 2003c, p 81-82) per day per capita in the previous period to 0.58 W per day as it was realised that extra somatic energy obtained from food could be assisted by the use of tools made from metals such as bronze and iron.

Energy use advanced by using tools, and as we moved to the advanced agriculturalists period energy consumption more than doubled to 1 W.

The industrial society brought major changes in the use of energy with agriculture, transport and mining. There were increases in the use of fossil fuels as workplaces and homes were heated and the steam engine was introduced. (Morris et al, 2003d p 83). We can see in Figure 2.19 page 82 of (Morris et al, 2003b), that during the period energy consumption rose to 4 W.

The greatest increase of energy is 11 W in the technological society this was 10 W more than the early agriculturalists. This period sees energy increases in home, commerce, industry, agriculture and transportation. It is also during this time that we begin to see the use of fossil fuels to create electricity, gas and oil and also the introduction of nuclear fuel. There is a large increase in oil use during this period due to the increased use of transportation. (Morris et al, 2003d p 83).
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