Nature's Past episode 50: "Canadian Energy History"

Kheraj, Sean | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Nature's Past (podcasts)

Kheraj, Sean. “Episode 50: Canadian Energy History.” Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast, November 24, 2015. MP3, 54:06

According to a study by Richard Unger and John Thistle, Canadians consumed 430 petajoules of energy in 1867. Combining energy from animal labour, food, firewood, wind, water, coal, crude oil, natural gas and electricity, by 2004 Canadians reached a historic peak of energy consumption at 11,526 petajoules. For reference, a petajoule is a unit of energy measurement roughly equivalent to 31.6 million cubic metres of natural gas or 277.78 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Since Confederation, Canadians have been high per capita energy consumers and our appetites for energy have grown substantially over the past 148 years. The way we consume energy has changed quite a bit over that time period too. In 1867, Canadians drew energy primarily from organic sources: animal labour, wood, and agricultural produce. Since the mid-twentieth century, we have drawn increasingly from mineral sources of energy: coal, crude oil, and natural gas.

This shift in energy consumption since Confederation has arguably been one of the most consequential changes in Canadian history. It changed our relationships with one another as much as it changed our relationships with nature. The energy history of Canada is as much a concern for environmental history as it is for social history, political history, and cultural history. (From Nature’s Past)

natures-past50.mp3, by eisenberg

Music credits: “Counting Faces in the Clouds” by Martijn de Boer, “Musical Instrumental” by Stefan Kartenberg, “All of the World” by Jeris feat. Snowflake

Nature’s Past podcasts are posted on a monthly basis on the website of the Network in Canadian History & Environment / Nouvelle initiative Canadienne en histoire de l’environnement (NiCHE). The podcasts contain discussion about the environmental history community and research in Canada. They are hosted by Sean Kheraj, an assistant professor in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Creative Commons License This podcast is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.