Chapter Reflection Questions and Explorations

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Reflection Questions

  1. What are the laws of thermodynamics and how do they help us understand energy?

  2. What is the role of photosynthesis in the interaction between the sun's energy and life on Earth?

  3. How is energy lost in moving from a primary energy sources, such as coal, to the production of visible light in an incandescent lightbulb?

  4. Why is it important to understand the history of the industrial revolution when doing energy ethics?

  5. What bearing does the principle of the universal destination of goods have on energy ethics?

  6. Describe the way energy has been understood as a spiritual force in two world religions.

  7. What are the forms of renewable energy? What technologies are being developed today to expand these forms of energy for human use?

  8. What does Richard Rohlheiser mean by 'spirituality? What does his understanding of spirituality have to do with energy?


  1. Have you ever played the board game Monopoly? Here is an 'Energy Action' version of Monopoly where players purchase utilities, pay for electricity, buy modifications for their plants, and in the process learn what it takes for a community to develop a balanced energy mix.

  2. Do you think you could design a classroom that produces as much energy as it uses? Here is a Net-Zero classroom project that you can follow.

  3. Does the world need nuclear energy? Listen to this TED Talk debate and formulate your own viewpoint.

  4. Read these "Five Surprising Facts about Energy Poverty".  From this data, what do you think would be the best first step in providing electricity to the 1.2 billion people in the world who do not have it?

  5. Some people believe that the transition to clean, renewable energy will require that people make an enormous shift in their lifestyles from consumerism to stewardship. Read this article by Barry Lord and then write a two page response from your own perspective.