Welcome to Energy Humanities

October 6, 2020

Mark Simpson, Imre Szeman, and Caleb Wellum

Welcome to the Energy Humanities Project, a hub for new ideas and insights about climate, energy, and culture. This site is a collective effort from the Transitions in Energy, Culture, and Society (TECS) project in Canada. It features biweekly commentary on current events from leading thinkers in the energy humanities and related fields. We also plan to feature video interviews with influential and emerging voices on energy and society, as well as relevant news and original essays.

Our hope for this site is to help readers see new connections between climate, energy, and culture.

Despite our scientific knowledge and technological sophistication, the world is nowhere near where it needs to be to achieve an energy transition. A big part of the problem is our inclination to trust in technocentric solutions. Too many of us tend to hope that life can go on as it has for the last half century, but with batteries instead of combustion engines. We look forward to hydrogen planes and AI powered by the sun to fuel mass consumption on a global scale.

These tendencies speak to the cultural and political nature of our problem.

Despite our scientific knowledge and technological sophistication, the world is nowhere near where it needs to be to achieve an energy transition.

The fact of the matter is, we will not achieve a just energy transition without a simultaneous social transition. The challenge before us is immense because our cultural assumptions and sensibilities are deeply shaped by the fossil fuels we depend on in our daily lives. So how do we understand the relationship between culture and energy in ways that help us move forward?

The Humanities –literature, philosophy, history, and more – are generating new and exciting insights into the social nature of our environmental crises. They are helping us to see ourselves anew, and to untangle ourselves from fossil fuels. As a gathering place for these ideas that applies them to what’s going on in the world right now, The Energy Humanities Project aims to use our humanistic tools and insights to foster a new world.

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Further Reading

May 12, 2021
Making climate information accessible to rural farmers in Kenya
Enock Mac’Ouma

Rural communities are often hit hard by climate change but face significant barriers in mitigating its effects. Enock Mac'Ouma describes a project of the UNESCO Chair on Community Radio for Agricultural Education at Rongo University, Kenya, which uses community radio to accelerate rural education and technology transfer in a particularly vulnerable region.

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December 3, 2020
Ships moved more than 11 billion tonnes of our stuff around the globe last year, and it’s killing the climate.
Christiaan De Beukelaer

The shipping of goods around the world keeps economies going. But it comes at an enormous environmental cost – producing more CO₂ than the aviation industry. This problem should be getting urgent international attention and action, but, as Christiaan De Beukelaer explains, it’s not.

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