Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Human use of energy is one of the most basic aspects of our existence with the environment. As its point of origin, Earth’s energy patterns begin with the Sun that radiates from the center of our planet’s universe. From this beginning, changes in human living can be traced through methods of acquiring and mastering energy. More than any other portion of the human experience, our interaction with energy fits snuggly in the paradigm that distinguishes societies through time as “haves” or “have nots,” allowing social and economic advancement and development. Having energy, of course, is only the beginning. Societies have also needed to choose what to do with it or how much of a cost it warranted. And living with new regimes of energy has fueled societies to develop in dramatically different ways from each other as well as from those without. For being so essential to our lives, energy often fades into the background, largely taken for granted. In this essay, my effort is to make our relationship with energy less transparent so that we might better recognize the implications of our dependence. Remarkably, energy in the developed world does not simply happen; instead, it is harvested, compiled, distributed, and utilized through a complex infrastructure that simplifies our use of it to the point of allowing it to disappear from view and from notice. The goal of this essay is to clarify and unveil the landscapes that compose the system of energy that is all around us. From coal mines to gasoline stations, power lines to hydroelectric dams, and highways to nuclear reactors, energy flows through landscapes all around us.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to the American Landscape
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)2022038476, 9781000832921
ISBN (Print)2022038475, 9780367640156
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Social Sciences

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