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The Thread of Energy

Martin J. Pasqualetti

Available: January 2027

ISBN: 9780197617694

Online Resource


Energy weaves the tapestry of our lives, and it does so in more ways than we usually recognize. While it is clear that it powers our homes, airplanes, and factories, its overwhelming influence often goes without notice in other areas, from the heartbreak of poverty to the motivation for war. While maintaining its availability has the potential to create jobs and contribute to competitive economies, nonrenewable energy sources are scarring our landscapes, polluting our air, and fouling our water. Understanding how we use energy and what we are willing to do to maintain our access to it can help us prepare for the complex and daunting challenges that linger as we look for alternatives.

In The Thread of Energy, Martin J. Pasqualetti homes in on this vital driver of human actions and decisions. He exposes the impact of energy according to multiple scales of measurement and assessment, from everyday applications to global entanglements. The book traces our increasing dependence on Earth's nonrenewable energy resources by comparing lifestyle changes throughout history.

Pasqualetti showcases the many ways energy infiltrates communication methods in all its forms (e.g., print, visuals, digital, etc.). The final chapters detail various approaches used by democratic societies looking to lessen their energy usage, including the critical importance of environmentally conscious policymakers.

The Thread of Energy treats energy as a social issue with a technical component, rather than the other way around.


  • Reveals the boundless ties between energy and society
  • Compares the influences of energy on living in the global North and the global South
  • Explains how the form and function of burgeoning cities drive an accelerated demand for energy
  • Demonstrates how sustainable energy can help curb global warming

About the Author(s)

Martin J. Pasqualetti is Professor of Geography at Arizona State University, where he has created and regularly teaches a course called "The Thread of Energy." In 2015, he received the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Gold Medal from the American Geographical Society for his contributions to energy studies. For similar contributions, he was named 2018 Alumnus of the Year by the University of California, Riverside and a Fellow of the American Association of Geographers in 2019. Pasqualetti currently serves as the ASU liaison to the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Land Art Generator. He has edited or co-edited seven books, most recently: The Routledge Research Companion to Energy Geographies (2020), Nuclear Decommissioning and Society (2019), and The Renewable Energy Landscape (2017).

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1: Discovery: Encountering the Thread of Energy
    Chapter 2: Transition: Evolving Uses of Energy
    Chapter 3: Life: Everyday Threads of Energy
    Chapter 4: Art: Reflections of Meaning
    Chapter 5: Environment: Natural Costs of Energy
    Chapter 6: Climate: Growing Threats of a Warming Planet
    Chapter 7: Policy: Guiding the Direction of Energy
    Chapter 8: Geopolitics: Spider Webs of Global Interdependency
    Chapter 9: Cities: Centers of Usage
    Chapter 10: Justice: Supply and Accountability
    Chapter 11: Lifestyles: Security and Demand
    Chapter 12: Dangers: Personal Risks and Hazards
    Chapter 13: Business: Jobs and the Workspace
    Chapter 14: Futures: Tapestries of Life


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