Energy and Science

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This Energy and Science section addresses the questions posed at the end of the case study:

  • What is energy and what are its main sources?
  • What bearing do the laws of thermodynamics have on our understanding of energy?
  • Which forms of energy are renewable and which are non-renewable?


The scientific definition of energy is the ability to do work. This definition gives the impression that energy is a straightforward concept that is easy to understand. However, energy takes many forms and it is required for all processes on Earth. These include biological processes such as photosynthesis, digestion, and reproduction, the processes involved in the movement of mass as with ocean waves, storms events, and the physical movements of animals, and for chemical transformations.

Closer Look

Learn more about categories of energy from the U.S. Energy Information Administration webpage.

Basically, energy is everywhere, and it is necessary for every activity. Therefore, we need to further investigate energy’s forms and processes so that we better understand how it can contribute to healing the Earth.

It may be helpful for you to watch this brief four minute TED-Ed video before reading this section. It provides a helpful overview of energy and its role in Earth’s functions.