Feeding the Fire
Feeding the Fire
The Lost History and Uncertain Future of Mankind's Energy Addiction
Crown, Hardcover, 9780307237446, 304pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2007
From the first spark created by human hands thousands of years ago, mankind has grown dependent on nature’s vast stores of energy to build, explore, and experiment. Our expanding knowledge and technologies have come from the felling of forests to the harnessing of wind and water, from the burning of coal and oil to tapping the energy of the atom. Energy does more than heat our homes and fill our gas tanks; it fuels our imaginations. Our future is inextricably linked to energy, and in this groundbreaking book, Mark Eberhart examines our historic quest for power and tackles the brutal realization that there are limits to the energy Earth can provide.
In Western society, we treat energy as a given—the background noise of modern life. But as worldwide energy demand grows, supplies are, at best, holding steady—and at worst, shrinking. The implications of our dependence are enormous. And while there is evidence that great cultures of the past—the Maya, Anasazi, Easter Islanders—collapsed when their energy resources were exhausted, Eberhart argues that we have the responsibility and the ability to develop renewable energy sources now.
Eberhart leads us on a tour through the history of energy, how it was formed and how it evolved, and reveals how we became energy-dependent creatures. With an unblinking eye, he takes a close look at the consequences of our energy appetite, and, most important, imagines a secure energy future that we can all play a part in achieving.
Enlightening, bold, and practical, Feeding the Fire weaves together history, science, and current affairs to create an important and compelling thesis about humanity’s energy needs—and draws a hard line on the imperative need to avert the catastrophe that looms if we continue on our present course.
Mark E. Eberhart received his doctorate in materials science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently a professor of chemistry and geochemistry at the Colorado School of Mines. He is the author of Why Things Break: Understanding the World by the Way It Comes Apart.