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Black and white Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime parody

Energy Slaves reflections: essays

I used the launch of my Energy Slaves comic as an opportunity to publish essays about my on energy. This post lists the 7 essays accompanying this comic.

Young couple wasting energy in household, sitting on couch using notebook computers.

All part of the problem: our collective wastes of energy

It is easy to single out certain people for wasting energy. This essay discusses how we are all part of the problem. We all waste energy on a large scale. Essay 7 / 7.

Drawing of young tourist taking selfie with selfie stick.

Living within limits: low-energy lifestyles

Our lifestyles require vast amounts of energy. Will we be able to transition to low-energy alternatives that provide similar levels of happiness and satisfaction? Essay 6 / 7.

View over shoulder of man looking towards city on horizon

Powered by energy: the many layers of civilisation

Our civilisation has many layers, including industry, education, and healthcare. These layers are only possible because of fossil fuel energy surpluses. Essay 5 / 7.

Cartoon cross-section comparison of shallow oil well, versus deep oil rig in ocean.

Diminishing returns: understanding ‘net energy’ and ‘EROEI’

At the heart of my Energy Slaves comic is the concept 'EROEI' (energy returned on energy invested) a.k.a. 'net energy'. I explain this concept using the analogy of an apple orchard. Essay 4 / 7.

Rear shot of a jumbo jet flying through the sky, with energy slaves pushing the jet through the air.

Building up steam: our civilisation’s history of collecting energy slaves

Energy has allowed people to magnify their impact on the natural world. This essay charts human civilisation's history of gathering energy from fossil fuels. Essay 3 / 7.

Buckminster Fuller on a rowing machine, rear view from diagonally behind him.

The mind, but not the muscle: understanding Energy Slaves

Did you know that an entire year of typical human exercise only equals the equivalent of 14 litres of gasoline (petrol). Energy powers our human lifestyles. Essay 2 / 7.

Buckminster Fuller looking at 'horsepower' horses cartoon

Hidden in plain sight: our invisible slaves

Imaginary ‘energy slaves’ perform work on behalf of human beings. They are ‘hidden in plain sight’, because they make our lifestyles so effortless. Essay 1 / 7.

Cross section of transparent car, being pushed along the road by energy slave workers.

Energy Slaves reference list

With this post, I list the references that I used for by Energy Slaves comic. I also show the working that I used to calculate some of the figures of the comic.