The irrevocable physical properties of energy flow doing (positive) work on systems made of materials are summed up by the Laws of Thermodynamics. The associated action of friction doing negative work is common knowledge but not formally recognized by stated laws.
However, it is fascinating that there is no widespread recognition that two types of energy flow operate in civilization. They are the natural one and the synthetic one. They have the same operating characteristics described above but they differ in the consequences.
The natural energy (nenergy) flow has solar energy input, does such work as producing growth in trees (and humans) and ends up as being radiated out into space. This energy is often stored for a short period as chemical energy and it is generally not powerful. There are exceptions such as cyclones but they do not affect the principle. The natural systems on which they do work recycle or reproduce naturally so it it the sustainable process that has been going on for many years.This essentially energy income
The synthetic energy (senergy) flow uses past solar energy input stored for a long time as concentrated chemical energy in fossil fuels and does positive work in technological systems that age and do not reproduce naturally and generally do not recycle. This energy flow is generally very powerful in providing civilization with temporary goods, services and infrastructure. It is an unsustainable process because it is depleting the stock of stored energy. It is energy capital and its flow will gradually slow down in coming years as the stocks become beyond reach.