About the Exhibition

Human practices of energy consumption both transform—and are transformed by—social structures. This essay introduces the concept of “energy transitions,” structural shifts in energy use and their pathways, obstacles, and consequences, challenging the view of “transitions” as the simple replacement of one energy resource by another. Moreover, it also showcases, in three galleries, open-access multimedia resources on “histories of transitions,” “contrasting transitions,” and “imagining transitions.”

About the Author

Nuno Luís Madureira

Nuno Luís Madureira is professor at the History Department of the Lisbon University Institute, former visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and Harvard University, and referee of the European Science Foundation. With several publications in the fields of contemporary global history, history of technology and energy and environmental policy, his last book is entitled Key Concepts in Energy (Heidelberg and New York: Springer, 2014).  His most recent research embraces the analysis of historical methods and nuclear technologies, particularly the plutonium fuel cycle.









How to cite

Madureira, Nuno Luís. “Energy Transitions.” Environment & Society Portal, Virtual Exhibition 2016, no. 2. Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society. https://doi.org/10.5282/rcc/7780.

ISSN 2198-7696
Environment & Society Portal, Virtual Exhibitions

Creative Commons License 2016 Nuno Luís Madureira
This refers only to the text and does not include any image rights.
Please click on an image to view its individual rights status.


“The shovel is digging into the bedrock.”
Coal mining affects the ground water, vegetation, and the environment as a whole.

Anthropocene Milestones


Inaugural train ride at the dedication of the Antoinette Tubman railroad bridge



Exhibition poster, 1932