A guide to the energy of the Earth - Joshua M. Sneideman

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Energy is neither created nor destroyed — and yet the global demand for it continues to increase. But where does energy come from, and where does it go? Joshua M. Sneideman examines the many ways in which energy cycles through our planet, from the sun to our food chain to electricity and beyond.

Lesson by Joshua M. Sneideman, animation by Marc Christoforidis.

Views: 321458
Runtime: 4:44
Comments: 195

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Author Stephen Gravley ( ago)

Author Kenny Keating ( ago)
So is it possible to use the rotation of the Earth as a source of energy?

Author LukeOfficial14 ( ago)
Good video!

Author Bryan Smith ( ago)
The arrow in the bottom right between Decomposers and Producers should not be there (2:10 - 2:35). Decomposers DO NOT provide energy to Producers. +josh sneideman

Author Superwar 3795 ( ago)
The water turbines are genius.

Author Superwar 3795 ( ago)
If only the biosphere was replaced with the osphere. Then the ancient Greeks would be right. Sort of.

Author Alana Brunson ( ago)
(Not to be a hater or a no at all) but there is only one person that can create and destroy energy that's God! He made all..... you may not believe but I do not to say you should but you should believe or you will end up somewhere you don't wanna be,..,🔥🔥🔥 this is a difficult process to learn clause I don't really exactly expect the the fact that this stuff is some fake stuff ..... God is the one and only and his creations are real!

Author Itz SlothM8 ( ago)

Author GoGETTAMAN12 ( ago)

Author Vermithrax Pejorative ( ago)
Kinda noticed he didn't say anything about using nuclear power to generate electricity. Still liked the video, tho.

Author benox50 ( ago)
Or making less babies

Author Fabri Rojas ( ago)
hola a los de octavo

Author Austin Sonner ( ago)
what about the geosphere?

Author Adrián Lozano ( ago)
I would love dubbing this video to spanish. Is there a way to add other languages to sound here in YouTube? Would you be interested in releasing a spanish-spoken version of this video?

Author Maryam Miah ( ago)
Loved this video, and the animation!

Author I Tre Discoli Bernab ( ago)

Author Daniel Goodman ( ago)
The ring structure shown is D-Altrose (a stereoisomer of glucose). For the proper structure of glucose C2 hydroxyl should be down, C3 hydroxyl should be up, and C4 hydroxyl should be down.

Author Mythra13 ( ago)
Needs more Tesla.

Author Conrad Thomsen ( ago)
Just build a nuclear power plant already

Author Daniel Goodman ( ago)
The structure of the glucose molecule is wrong! :(

Author josh sneideman ( ago)
200,000 views WOW - amazing - thanks for watching y'all

Author Dinomode ( ago)
Great video thanks

Author Ca Ab ( ago)
Respiration is combustion.

Author Ian Prado ( ago)
What about #nuclear?

Author I. C. U. ( ago)
There are no "renewable" energy sources as most people understand them.  Solar cells aren't picked from a tree, the material must be extracted from the earth and those materials are certainly not in abundance nor easy to access.  And for all the "renewable" energy sources, the devices and structures must be manufactured, fabricated and transported and maintained.  It's not like you can put up a wind turbine and it not break down eventually.  All the "renewables" are developed within the context of a fossil fuel economic system and we have no replacement for oil, coal and natural gas.  Nuclear is a joke--we might as well shoot ourselves in the head with that risk...Chernobyl or Fukushima anyone?  

This is a nice video.  It explains things well.  And like all convention education it frames the picture.  It assumes life as we know it is the given and humans can continue to shape and mold nature to meet our myopic vision of the future and reality.  Unfortunately, nature does not really care what we think and it will continue to show us its limits, as if we haven't learned anything at all from the failures of past dead civilizations.  After ours is gone, I hope the next civilization will be less ignorant and learn from our failure because we aren't going to stop until we reached the point where we are forced to stop and that, my friends, is going to be a bad day for us.

Author Myoungkyu Lee ( ago)
역시 TED예요!

Author pablo castañeda (1810 years ago)

Author Ike Evans (1932 years ago)
There isn't a single reference to nuclear energy in the entire video.

The most wonderful open secret out there is that the greatest, most awesome form of "green" energy is that of nuclear energy.  Wind and solar energy surely tend to make the main-stream environmentalists happy, but only because they ignore the horrible engineering fallacies of these energy sources as they (sort of) contribute electricity to our grid.

Go green.  Go nuclear.

Author josh sneideman ( ago)
Awesome lesson for students: HOW MUCH ENERGY DO YOU CONSUME -   

Author Urs Bolt ( ago)
Great animated infotainment. But given the hugely increasing energy demand I miss today's biggest source of reliable and scalable clean energy. #Nuclear energy is a major source of clean power globally. Far ahead of solar and wind. It's energy density is unbeatable compared to coal and even more against diffuse renewables.

Author Jeevan Jacob John ( ago)
Hmm, no mention of nuclear power?

It's efficient, clean and perhaps the best source of energy available to us (Solar and Wind are great, but with the current technology, they can't match the production output of Fossil Fuels).

Author Juan Pablo Zm ( ago)
It's just an amazing animation and research work. Everything seems very clear and easy to understand, even for a young child. Excellent video.

Author NamretsO ( ago)
I really like this video, one of my favorite concepts to think of.

Author Watchmen-Nehemiah 4:20 ( ago)
There is a whole nother side to the equation. Cold energy. This is where the breakthroughs have continually happened and are continually being stamped out by the status quo. Plasma, cold electricity, lightning, brown's gas torches all available, but not allowed. SHALOM!

Author James O’Loughlin ( ago)
Why not mention wave and tidal power?

Author Earroten ( ago)
I designed the Hydrolyspheres which take in ocean water pressure. That pressure is first converted from potential energy into kinetic energy with generators. Those generators produce electrons which then go to splitting the water itself into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is then burned in generators to produce electricity and water. There you have it a way to produce endless amounts of clean green energy using the oceans. I did it all by myself with no college only a lap-top the internet and determination. I need help building a proof of concept prototype. Anyone?

Author phoenixkhost ( ago)
You forgot nuclear...which is both sustainable and relatively clean.  For wind energy to equal one nuclear power plant you would need to clear cut an area of Rhode Island.  The aversion to nuclear power is irrational.

Author Julio Rovi ( ago)
Thanks for the video. I wish to volunteer to either translate of help you dub it into Spanish. How do I go about that?

Author Gian Reyes ( ago)
So, what happens to the heat energy after our bodies eat and burn the energy from food?

Author Silva Hawk ( ago)
after watching this, I realized I really didn't understand what energy was all along until now

Author Steven Rosa ( ago)

Author roidroid ( ago)
No mention of Nuclear :(.

2:29 primary producers do not harvest "100%" of sunlight. It's more like 1%, photosynthesis is very inefficient.
Compare to man-made solar panels which get upwards of 30% efficiency, step up your game nature.

Author pokee9 ( ago)
Problems solved, we just have to build. it's that simple.

Author Akshay Saini (1766 years ago)
Awesome video

Author Pedro Fonseca ( ago)
In minute 2:29 is the answer for the Paleo Diet, eat producers is to eat lower on the food chain. 

Thanks for the video.

Author eric Sandersfield ( ago)
Mark Pataki its the energy that makes up the universe, now this may end up becoming a scientific breakthrough but I'm pretty sure the earth is a part of the universe. So the energy of the universe should be in the earth.

Author KING ISSAK ( ago)

Author ibarrettall ( ago)
this is a great video.

Author Lance Lot ( ago)
I plan on living to 100 years old.. It will be 2090... holy fuck shits going to change so much.

Author zcholan ( ago)
I'll hypothesis that every single animals on Earth at one point only ate vegetables and fruits, and according to biologists. Humans are animals, so this means we only ate plants and fruits, never meat of any animals. Btw humans aren't animals, they can call themselves whatever they want. I'll call myself man.

Author D MatLeo ( ago)
0:15 First mistake. Particles appear and disappear in the vacuum of space all the time.(watch a Stephen Hawking documentary)

Author Michael Sneideman ( ago)
nice work!!

Author 918388918388 ( ago)
Great animation, but one thing bothers me. In 3:07 there is cooling tower with a furnace inside and as far as I know that is not how the cooling towers operate?

Author Br!an Delta V ( ago)
Thorium, Thorium, Thorium.

Problem... SOLVED!!!

Author zac zjuerg ( ago)
Why no discussion on nuclear energy options?

Author Casey Tuesburg ( ago)
God is energy, and energy is our god. The human soul is nothing more than pure energy, and through it the gods speak to us all. Dimentional entity consisting of energy. If you think about it when you pray, all you're doing is projecting your thoughts, via the soul, to the gods. Though as energy they power your every movement, the idea behind it is your own free will. If this makes sense to anyone else we can talk about it.

Author Lawrence Ma ( ago)

Author Daniel Lopez ( ago)
To bad the gov won't support this because the make so much money from oil and stuff and america is all about the money

Author Ngan Nguyen ( ago)
Thats pretty much the summary of what i learned in my grade 9 science :)))

Author PF Gram ( ago)
The next major question is how do we use energy coming from renewable resources in a greater quantity. It will have be be an economic and political move back by those who believe independent producing America, environmentalists, and industries.

Author Mark Pataki ( ago)
How did the energy that makes up the universe get here in the first place?

Author Desert Loner ( ago)
i bet you want subscribers, if you tell me on the discussion what your channel is about i will subscribe to you (with a couple exceptions)

Author Uber Megustador ( ago)
0:55 isn't sound a vibration :/

Author reddir ( ago)
Can you say something about "Rotational Energy" being an internal energy source for the earth? Do you mean wind and tide....or something more?

Author US Energy Sciences ( ago)
Interesting and fun animation!

Author Michael Butor ( ago)
Reduce the population. Stop using technology advancements as a crutch. NOT genocid! But two child limit globally. The planet can only sustain about 2-3 billion people with industry, resource extraction for the supporting environment that is NEEDED for life to exist. The planet cannot sustain 7 billion nor the 9 billion that's projected by 2050. By the end of my life time the population issue on this planet are going to be at severely dangerous levels.

Author S_almenhali ( ago)
Wow nice vid ,
But where did all this energy , organization and systemization
Came from is it only the Big Bang and evolution or is it the highest probability the one creator just think of it

Author GaborBartal ( ago)
What an excellent animation/presentation!
It was a pleasure to watch

Author Wiavs9Luzomgo ( ago)

Author Kamizushi Akinari ( ago)
I'm surprised that this video hasn't received more down votes considered it touches the science behind the politically controversial topic of global warming. It also gives ammo to the ever so unpopular vegans thesis by stating that eating producers (e.g. plants) is more efficient than eating consumers (e.g. animals).

Author Charles Lighthipe ( ago)
Consider Thorium Energy.
Learn more at
Contact your representatives and tell them to learn more and to support
Bill: S. 2006 "The National Rare Earth Cooperative Act".

Author Arturo Fernandez ( ago)
what about tidal?

Author TED-Ed ( ago)
This is for Nathan Hadland.  He was asking bout solar energy:  Let us know what you think!

Author Iyuda ( ago)
Wow Ted, you sure are ramping up the audience interaction!

Author MuffinDemons ( ago)
That was lovely.

Author Jackie Oakley ( ago)

Author Jackie Oakley ( ago)
I don't think but I know that my mother and all my friends have different believes such as buddi god etc. I think that this topic is a question to everyone and we all could help

Basically anyone with a religion could help ,we all believe in a different god , but what they don't know is that we were all worshiping 1 god.

Author Daniel Shooshtari ( ago)
Sound is vibration???

Author Jackie Oakley ( ago)

Author Nathan Hadland ( ago)
So essentially if we harness the power of the sun in a more effective manner than solar panels or something similar, (as they are not efficient enough to power entire modern societies), then we could have an almost unlimited energy source. Another possibility is to create our own sustainable"star" if you will, such as what a fusion bomb does except find a way to keep the newly formed "star" stable enough so we can harness its energy. How practical are these ideas?

Author João Gouveia ( ago)
Very nice and neatly explained lesson. Thanks :) 

Author Jackie Oakley ( ago)

Author Jackie Oakley ( ago)
Dear ted ed ,
Can you do why we have different beliefes ? I would appreciate It ;)

Author thestrangejames ( ago)
So, I have a question:
We all know that most of our society's electricity is induced through the burning of various fossil fuels (unless you're Germany -- kudos to you). The most efficient energy production mechanisms however are not mechanical combustion engines, but instead are the biochemical reactions that drive life. We "spend" electricity in our society with just about everything modern, and sometimes we spend electricity so that we can exercise.
Why isn't this the other way around? People want to exercise, which is great, but why aren't fitness studios designed to introduce energy back into the system, rather than expend it? I've seen some ballpark estimates put this at about 100 W from a bicycle generator. I'm curious why this isn't "a thing" -- is there a practical reason this hasn't been done? I'm not an engineer/physicist so I don't know the practicality of these sorts of ideas.

Author MrYlad ( ago)

Author ThinkTG ( ago)

Author Nenkos ( ago)

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