From: Mike Brandolino, Sierra Club Green Home, More from this Affiliate
Published January 25, 2012 08:56 AM

Energy Conservation in Our Artificial Habitats

Energy conservation is on the rise nationwide, according to a new report by The Institute for Electricity Efficiency. Why is energy conservation so essential now? Perhaps it's our impositions on nature coming full circle.

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Some of the origins of today's environmental movement can be found in the people who called themselves "naturalists." These people were conscious of their surroundings and understood that nature, even in the most wild and untamed frontiers, is fragile. The natural world can be a harsh and unforgiving place. Humans are able to be one with nature, and also able to transform nature into places more suitable for habitation and settlements.

Many people see the natural world as something to be conquered and "developed" into living, working, and gathering places. Throughout the world, some of the harshest environments, such as deserts and jungles, have been transformed into humanized spaces. The natural world is continually under the conquest of humans for natural resource extraction and settlement expansion. The United States has many harsh natural environments that have been transformed into major metropolitan areas. Las Vegas was once a barren desert, but is now teeming with people, lights, and imported water. A lot of energy is required to develop and maintain a comfortable living environment in these naturally harsh conditions, making energy conservation all the more essential.

Currently, fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), hydroelectricity, and nuclear energy are needed to sustain our modern way of life. Renewable and alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, are in use, but not in sufficient quantities to serve all our needs. Energy conservation will need to be a part of any sustainability plan.

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