In the olden times, people did not have much knowledge about energy. The only energy they used was energy from their own bodies. Then, the need for more energy arose and people began to think up simple measures like energy from their animals, wind and water. They also found out the use of fire. They used fire extensively. As fire needs a fuel, they began to use up more and more wood. Earlier using wood freely was not a problem. But the continuous usage led to a tremendous decrease in its availability. Hence, people needed another source of energy. Chemical and kinetic energy was discovered. This led to a great change in people’s lifestyle. They had access to things like steam engines, machines etc. that made their lives simpler. This is more commonly known as “Industrial Revolution”
But people still needed wood for the steam engines. There wasn’t much availability of wood. This led to the discovery of coal. People began to use coal, as it was then a plentiful fuel. Unfortunately, very little coal is formed freshly. Once the existing coal gets used up, it will never get renewed. It is hard to get coal from the mines to the factories and hard to dig it up. Then people learned how to drill oil from oil wells. Since oil is a liquid, it is easier to get it from its rock than it is to get coal. Oil is also easier to transport and to burn. Then engines were developed that made use of petrol. Petrol came from oil. The overuse of this led to its depletion.
Oil is beginning to run short and people are using it more and more every year. In 30 to 50 years no oil may be left at all.
People can go back to using coal but coal is still hard to get out of the ground. Oil can be formed from coal and from certain rocks but it would be very expensive. Also, coal and oil pollute the air with their gases when they burn.
Then, people began to think about nuclear energy. The only nuclear energy found on earth was the radioactivity of certain substances. It was hard to put it to use on a large scale. People then found out that there were ways of making the uranium nucleus split in half. This was called nuclear fission. They realized that this released even more energy than radioactivity did.
People made use of energy of wind and water currents. They also used energy of the rising and falling tides, energy from the heat inside the earth, energy from the Sun etc.
Once scientists find out a way of building the right kind of power plants to make use of them, these resources cannot be depleted. They could last for millions of years. Some of these renewable sources of energy can also be used to generate electricity.
In this project, we highlight the importance of conserving the non-renewable resources such as coal, petroleum etc. We need to use simple measures, starting at home, to conserve them. We should also switch to renewable sources of energy.