The fact that America is the largest consumer in energy is astounding. I knew that as a population we used a lot of energy but I had no idea it was that much. It is so easy to think that everyone else in the world uses cell phones, computers, and televisions like we do on an everyday basis. However, we often forget that most countries do not have these luxuries provided to them. Ever since colonial times it seems that all Americans compete with each other in building bigger and better homes and advancements in technology. Rarely does anyone see these new advancements without the use of energy. Energy is something which Americans are dependent on and would have a difficult time living without. It is weird to think that only 300 years ago the only form of energy was human muscle. At this point in time I believe that we have reached our peak in energy as a country. Other greatly industrialized countries are just as well off and not using nearly as much energy as us. Instead of focusing on new technologies that continue to use energy, I think we need to focus on new ways that we cannot use energy in order to pro-long our future. Jenna
When reading this i was not surprised that America is the leading country in energy consumption. We as Americans do not think energy is anything out of the ordinary. We live our daily lives leaving lights on, keeping chargers in sockets and not opening windows instead of putting the air conditioning on. Yes some countries have a more populated areas, but they do not live with the same luxuries as we do. Some largely populated countries have large undeveloped areas. I thought the fact that Nye brought up about how 300 years ago, the most used energy form was human muscle. We as a nation need to focus on new renewable energies and find new ways to support our country with different types of energy. - Megan
I knew America would be one of the top consumers of energy, but I did not think it would be number one. There are many other countries that are innovative and progressive in electronics that I thought there is no way that America would be number one. Then thinking about it, Americans use computers, phones, i pods, i pads, and other electronics mindlessly through out entire days. America consumers do not even realize how much energy they use in a day. Compared to colonial times, energy has become completely ordinary. Nye talks about how during the Colonial times energy was cherished and not taken for granted. Energy was an "ideal personal attribute" where as today energy is not viewed as an attribute at all it is viewed as the norm. It is amazing the advancements America, and the entire world has made in the energy industry. We have gone from human muscle to horses to water to electricity and tons of other power sources in between. I like Nye, believe that America is in their peak use of electricity. -sydney
It came as no surprise that America consumes the most energy. America has become very lazy in general, and that applies directly to the nation's extremely high energy consumption. The electric bill, at least in my house, is higher than most others. We are constantly reminded that we need to take shorter showers, shut off the lights, turn the water off when we brush our teeth, and not leave the doors open for long when the heat or air conditioning is on. But honestly I think that Americans are going to continue to do whatever is convenient for themselves until they are forced to make a change. Hundreds of years ago, the work was done by humans and the most common use of energy was generated from human muscle. That has changed drastically. Yes, some people do work hard to conserve, but across the board America needs to do some major improving. America needs to go back to the basics and figure out what we actually need, because the rate at which we are using energy cannot be sustained. -Alex
It really wasn't a surprise to find out that America consumes the most energy in the world. Our world is surrounded with technology... we have iphones, ipads, ipods, computers. All of these things that require energy to keep them charged, yet that never crosses our mind because we are too focused to go onto Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, or maybe to do our homework. I am guilty of this... I currently have my Mac on, I have my Ipad playing music in the background and I have my phone sitting right next to me, all of which are plugged into the wall using energy to keep them charged. Not only is it our technology that uses a lot of energy but we take long showers, leave the lights on in a room we aren't even it, or have the air running when there could be a nice breeze coming through the windows. Americans use energy each and everyday without thinking about where it came. Years ago we used to have to create the energy by human man. Today it instantly happens for us without us having to do some sort of work for it. We Americans have very comfortable lives and I think we truly take that for granted. I know I do at times. -Sarah
It is a pretty well known fact that America is the leading consumer in energy. American’s are known for their love of “stuff” and today most “stuff” runs on electricity, which is energy. Energy is now so deeply embedded in our society it has become less of a commodity and more of a necessity. For us this necessity is so readily available we take it for granted and waste it just as we do with other natural resources such as food and packaging materials. It is hard to find something that consumers buy that doesn’t require some form of energy either in the use or in the production. It is hard to imagine adding on any more energy use then today which is why I agree with Nye when he says he thinks we are at our peak use of energy. At this point the only advancements that make sense in the energy field are to find ways to make the energy more efficient, and also to cut down on usage. So for an already industrialized nation like the United States the only direction our energy consumption has to go is down. -Justin
There were not very many things from this reading by David Nye that surprised me. The way that Americans use energy is consistent with many of the other problems that we have. We have been given the luxury of having too many choices. Between where we want to live, what we want to eat, who we want to be associated with, and what we can believe in are all choices that we make every day. And with the American spirit we all shun other's ideas and morals while trying to push our own thoughts down other people's throats. We just make all the choices that best concern us and what we think will be best in moving forward. Energy in our country started at a very sustainable and eco-friendly way, to say the least. But that wasn't good enough for the futuristic thinkers. We have the constant need to go above and beyond what we already do. I think that it is very ironic that the measures of power that we tried to evolve from so quickly are now what we feel like we need to revert to. Man power is encouraged by telling people to walk and take the stairs. Sun power used to heat things and run the time that people lived by. Now we are using it to power anything that the sun's rays will touch. Hydro-power is also coming into play, just like we used to use it for mills. I am glad that we as a country are trying our best to improve what we are currently doing to save more energy and reduce waste. I think that it is essential for everyone to take a step back and think about how much of an influence they have every day and what they can do to truly appreciate what they have more.
The realization that America is the largest consumer in energy is a staggering fact. By population we are the third largest nation, however we contain about a fourth of the population of countries such as China and India. Consumption of energy is such a large problem in the United States because of how accustomed we have become to having anything and everything we could ever desire at no more of a distance than our fingertips. Considering that we can look up bounds of information about virtually anything in a matter of less than a second on the internet, why wouldn’t we take advantage of that? If we need anything all we have to do is hop on our portable computers or smartphones; without realizing (or caring as the case may be) as to how much of an energy consumption problem this is causing. It is simply too convenient for a number of Americans to abuse the energy that is available to us. I believe we may be past the point of no return as too many people have become used to the amount of energy they consume daily to reform their ways and pay more attention to energy conservation. Braden
As I read through David's writing, I was not entirely shocked by the information, specifically how America is the leading consumer of energy. Although I was interested in his statement around the middle of the reading when he said that "These were matters of choice, not technological givens", regarding progression of industrialization in the United States.
I always assumed that as quickly as we could pump out new technology it was used to its fullest and then discarded for whatever was next. I had not considered that it could have been any different (use man power longer instead of slaves, adopt the dutch windmill, use animal power differently). It was a interesting to also learn how our development compared to Europe's choices during the same time frame and what made us more energy consumption focused.
I thought the reading was very informational, Nye took a lot of quotes from other writings and it sometimes convoluted his point in my opinion, but I learn some things about the progression and opinions of Americans during the industrial era and before.
I definitely wasn’t surprised when it said that America consumed the most energy in the world. We as Americans are obsessed with the concept of not enough and constantly needing more. Satisfaction is never fully reached and we are never content with what we have. We need the newest of everything once the iPhone 5 came out we immediately turned to when will the iPhone be released? We hunger for more the bigger the better! We take advantage on all the wonderful things we have and focus on what we don’t have. And this concept introduced by Nye that this concept of all this energy and technology being used is only 300 years old. However, what I like most about this article is the concept of choices. We can choose what technology is necessary and what is not. One example that Nye uses in his article is the British decided to not adopt the sawmill and continued to utilize their hands. Some technology is more of a burden then an actual tool and we as humans can decide what technology is most important. This issue goes hand and hand with nature because the more we take in technology the more we are taking away from nature. We need to find a balance and being the leader of energy I think America should start the trend. -Liz
I was not surprised by the information in the article. The author made good arguments about the importance of energy efficiency and conserving energy. As Americans we don't realize how much energy we consume because of our lifestyles. It is hard to change society's way of thinking on energy consumption because we don't want to make sacrifices of all the luxuries that we have. America was built on cheap energy and it is difficult for people to realize that the rest of the world doesn't consume as much energy as we do. America was also built on inefficient transportation modes, which the article mentioned. Vehicles that only transport a few people are not near as efficient as the widely used mass transportation modes commonly used in Europe and other countries. But Americans have been slow to adopt mass transit because it is often less convenient than driving our own vehicles.
It did not surprise me when Nye stated that America was the largest consumer of energy in the world. The American lifestyle is very representative of this fact. Our culture and society works in a way that is different than most countries, and is relatively new to the world. We depend on energy for almost everything that we do in our life. Now that is not necessarily a bad thing, since we are taking advantage of what astounding technological advances that we have made. We just need to look at how we live from a different perspective. We need to look at how others are living around the world, and try to adjust our faults in regards to their successes. I don't think any radical way of living will change for us, unless something monumental happens as far as an awakening, but we can still make efforts. One solution to our energy usage could be a new mode of transportation that takes the place of cars, since we are one of the biggest consumers of vehicles in the world. Public transportation is just as efficient as individual transportation, we just need to view it as an option. Hopefully we will one day start to look around at different places and try to change how we do things, although I believe it will take either something monumental, or many many years in order for this to happen. Scottie
It was not a surprise at all to find out the America is the number one energy consuming country in the world. As Americans, we have been spoiled rotten to the point where energy is not looked upon as a gift, but as something that we are simply entitled to. Not a single day goes by that I do not use some form of energy. Cell phones, computers, lights, heating, etc. We take these blessings for granted without realizing the effect that our energy consumption is having on the environment around us. Nye points out that 300 years ago the only form of energy that humans had was muscle. To think about how far we have advanced our energy sources in 300 years is amazing, but it is something that needs to be cherished like it was in the colonial times. I hope Nye is correct when he states that we, in America, are in our peak use of energy. In order to sustain our planet, we need to cut down. - Kayla
This page contains a single entry by Capper Nichols published on November 12, 2012 1:17 PM.
"Introduction" [The Omnivore's Dilemma] - Michael Pollan; "Can We Feed the World & Sustain the Planet?" - Jonathan Foley was the previous entry in this blog.
"The Trials of Bidder 70" - Abe Streep; "With Carbon Dioxide Emissions at Record High, Worries on How to Slow Warming" - J Gillis and J Broder is the next entry in this blog.
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