Flip it and you instantly become part of a chain that leads from the now glowing lightbulb to thousands of miles of copper wire to a power plant that generates electricity by burning coal, a fossil fuel created hundreds of thousands of years ago when ancient ferns became trapped under a layer of mud and were slowly transformed. Electricity is not an inexplicable miracle. It’s the result of a complex series of chemical reactions and mechanical processes that we have turned to the purpose of wringing energy from nature. It’s a brilliant achievement except for one issue: Our main sources of fuel destroy the planet when we use them, and they are running out anyway. The situation is dire but not irreparable. We know that there is enough energy from clean, renewable resources on our planet to easily give us all the power we need. We just have to harness it.
In this issue we celebrate the people taking on this great challenge of the 21st century. Energy means progress. And right now progress means finding new energy.