The sun is the one energy source that sustains and links all life.
Ancient societies paid homage to the sun as a symbol of truth, justice and equality, as the fountainhead of wisdom, compassion and enlightenment, as the healer of physical and spiritual maladies, and, above all, as the source of fertility, growth, renewal and peace with nature.
Solar energy takes many different forms. The heat of the atmosphere, derived from absorbed solar energy, powers the winds and the cycle of evaporation and precipitation. Wind energy can be harnessed with turbines, just as running water from rain and melting snow is the energy source for hydroelectric power. The wind blowing across oceans and lakes transfers some of its energy to the water below to form waves which, like the tides, may generate power.
The energy in biomass is derived from plants and photosynthetic micro-organisms, which use the energy of sunlight to synthesize organic compounds whose chemical energy is released when they are burned. Even the energy in fossil fuels is actually solar energy that was first stored as chemical energy in biomass and then transformed into coal, oil or gas over millions of years.
Today renewable solar energy is recognized by many populations as being in harmony with their cultural traditions because of its peaceful and environmentally friendly associations. By reuniting science and culture, and by making effective use of what might be termed "the cultural tools of solar technology", sustainable solar energy seems poised to become the principal energy of the future. The efficient and economical use of solar energy derived from the biomass, from wind and ocean power, from small hydroelectric facilities, from thermal, geothermal sources, and from photovoltaic and non-nuclear hydrogen energy may well enable the world to satisfy most of its energy requirements.
Author Biography: Madanjeet Singh has been described by Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, as "cast in the mould of Renaissance Man." Not only is he a Master of Science (technical chemistry), he is also an art historian, writer, photographer and painter of international repute.
His first art book, Indian Sculpture in Bronze and Stone (1951), was published while he was a student at the Italian Institute for Middle and Far East, in Rome. It was followed by a volume in the UNESCO World Art Series, India, Paintings from Ajanta Caves (1954). Subsequent books include: Etruscan Cave Paintings (1955); Indian Miniatures (1960)' Ajanta, Paintings of the Sacred and the Secular (1964); and Himalayan Art (1968), which has since become a classic. Among his other well-known books are The White Horse (1976), and the widely reviewed book This My People(1989).
As with most of his books, The Timeless Energy of the Sun is published in several languages worldwide and it is a sequel to another internationally acclaimed book, The Sun in Myth and Art (1993).
A career diplomat, Madanjeet Singh has served as Ambassador of India in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe before joining the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. At present he is Special Adviser to the Director-General of UNESCO, Paris