Pictures: A World Without Energy

National Geographic's photo community created haunting images for this Great Energy Challenge assignment.

Energy is nearly as important as the air we breathe and the water we drink—yet not everyone has ready, reliable access to it.

Recently, members of National Geographic's Your Shot community were challenged to think about what a world without energy might look like, and then capture that idea with photography.

The assignment resulted in more than 8,000 images filled with both bleakness and hope, sunshine and fire. It also sparked a robust discussion among the participants, including debates over the use of fossil fuels, how to meet energy demand in a world where more than a billion people live without reliable power, and how those of us who do have energy use it in our daily lives.

Your Shot Director Monica Corcoran curated this gallery from many stunning images. "What struck me the most as I looked at the photos was how many of you already live in a world without energy," she says in a note to the participants. "That this was not a world that would need to be created or conceived of, but that for some people, it already existed."

These photos were submitted to Your Shot. Check out the website, where you can share photos, take part in assignments, lend your voice to stories, and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

The story is part of a special series that explores energy issues. For more, visit The Great Energy Challenge.