It’s interesting to note that prior to the 1970’s oil embargo from OPEC, there wasn’t much concern for energy efficiency since there was a seamingly infinite amount of resources for human consumption (asside from Europe’s search for an energy resource to replace its vanishing forests in the 1800’s.) That means that the state of our environment has drastically been degraded in the past few decades, and even though we’ve made improvements on how energy is produced, it doesn’t mean we’re taking care of our environment better than we did a few decades ago.
But to try and answer your question, there have been ways that our industries, politics, and lifestyle choices have slowed down what would have otherwise been a mad resource dash. We’ve improved our construction methods in buildings, using better insulation, more efficient heating methods (like the invention of solar energy,)inventing more efficient light bulbs, and better attention to architectural design to naturally harness and keep the sun’s warmth. Our transportation industry has become better in terms of making more fuel efficient engines as opposed to 30 years ago, although the number of people who drive now-a-days far outwheighs those improvements. Our industrial practices, driven by profit obviously, have come up with ways of being more efficient in energy; Robots, computers, and other technological advances have made industries more energy efficient, as well as the invention of cogeneration (the process of taking steam or heat and creating electricity.) Recycling, although around for thousands of years, has been a relatively new concept for saving energy. Many of the improvements listed above are due to our government’s involvement in making America run more energy efficiently, so it could be said our policies as a nation have improved to better deal with energy issues. Finally, the consciousness of people all around the world has increasingly become more aware and concerned with energy, and that’s an improvement in itself.
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