How Energy Is Used, Energy Consumption Trends, and How Catawba and RMI Are Helping

By Serena Musselwhite

The amount of energy, the amount and type of each energy, and what the energies are used  for vary widely worldwide (Smith, p.180). For example, even though highly industrialized countries use most of the world's energy while less industrialized countries use much less, countries with the same level of development vary in the amount of energy they use and how they use those energies. There are three types of energy use, residential and commercial, industrial, and transportation energy use. Industrialized nations use the three energies fairly equally while less developed nations focus more on residential energy. Developing nations use much of their energy to develop their industrial base. Energy consumption and industrialization are strongly interrelated (Smith, p.180).

According to Enger Smith, "From a historical point of view, it is possible to plot changes in energy consumption. Economics, politics, public attitudes, and many other factors must be incorporated into an analysis of energy use trends" (181). One example of a factor that can affect energy consumption in a nation is increased energy resource prices, which may force individuals and businesses to be more conservative when using energy (Smith, p.182).

Catawba's Center for the Environment and Rocky Mountain Institute are working together at the National Environmental Summit to preserve the environment while educating others about the present and future of the environment, the essential idea of environmentalism. RMI's goal is to help the United States transition off of coal, oil, and nuclear energy by 2050. Both Catawba and the Rocky Mountain Institute believe that this transition can be done profitably. Part of RMI's plan to transition the United States off of these energies is to rethink how transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity are done.

How can we help? Well, we can take to activism. Rocky Mountain Institute has listed five types of useful activism that can help with environmentalism: Lifestyle, Political, Educational, Grassroots, and Economic Activism. The most important part of changing minds is listening to the individual's interest.

Smith, Enger. Environmental Science: A Study of Interrelationships. Ninth ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Print.


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