Energy Use Investigation 1.1:

Recent History of Energy Use

“My grandfather used horses to plow his fields. The hay and oats that powered those horses were the source of energy. Now the same fields are plowed with tractors and we get our energy from gasoline.”
“People did not just hop on an airplane back then. If it was more than a day's drive or more than overnight on a train, we just didn’t go.”

The memories of living people can show how rapidly energy use has changed in recent years. Even people 10 years older than you can probably tell you about new developments in energy use that have happened in their lifetimes.

Find someone to interview. It could be an older relative such as a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle. It could be someone unrelated to you. Just be sure it is someone you can trust not to tell you a tall tale. “When I was a lad we used to walk 20 miles to school in blinding snowstorms. Air conditioners? Why in summer we fried eggs on the kitchen table tops.”

Topics to discuss during the interview that may help you find out about changing uses of energy are:

  • Cooking
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Heating
  • Entertainment
  • Business
  • Vacations