Environmental Protection: America Is Doing More With A Lot Less (Energy, That Is)
July 5, 2018

Up until very recently there was a single, ironclad law when it came to the economy. If it was doing well, then that meant you were consuming more energy. And it makes sense, when you think about it. After all, if you have more businesses creating more products, then they’re going to use more energy to do it. However, as of 2008, America has actually kept its economy growing while bringing down its energy consumption. Not only that, but the energy America is using is trending toward cleaner, which means that as a nation CO2 emissions are going down a little at a time every year.

How Is This Happening?

You know how every article about dealing with our greenhouse gases, energy dependency, and other environmental issues stresses that there is no silver bullet that will fix the issue? Well, our current gains have come precisely because of all the different changes we’ve made, according to the Miami Herald. Those changes range all over, from the sharp downturn in coal usage (replacing it with much cleaning natural gas), to energy star appliances and LED light bulb usage, to the increase in wind and solar power. Everything is responsible, creating a patchwork quilt of success and efficiency that is cutting into our emissions, and making sure that we are trying to lower the damage we do to the environment.

It’s also important to note that these changes can have a cascade effect. As we use less coal, for instance, there is more emphasis on getting at difficult to reach natural gas. Rather than fracking, which has proven to have damaging effects, scientists have found ways to inject carbon dioxide into the earth to push out the gas. This stops the CO2 from reaching the atmosphere, while still giving us cleaner-burning natural gas. The more solar and wind energy we invest in, also, the cheaper it will be overall (especially as storage systems like Tesla’s powerwalls grow more common, as they are in South Australia and other countries trying to make the switch over).

So the next time you ask if recycling that water bottle or screwing in an LED bulb is having an effect, just remember, your efforts are part of the greater whole that is steadily changing the direction of energy consumption, efficiency, and how we treat the planet.

July 5, 2018
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