With car culture and wasteful packaging all over the United States it is hard to think of our country in its entirety as a “Green” nation. Although we are making active steps to catch up with Global environmental leaders, we are far behind. Huffington Post recently released a list of the “Top 10 Greenest Countries in the World.” And to no one’s surprise the United States did not make the cut. Instead, energy and conservation leaders such as Germany, Norway, and Costa Rica comprise the list. The United States uses a ton of energy in comparison to our population and of course we consume massive amounts of oil to feed our industry and car addiction. But is there a future in the Green Economy for the United States?
A new report has been published showing that the US is currently leading in installed wind power production. In 2009, the United States added 9.9 gigawatts of wind power bringing the US total to 35.2 gigawatts. This pulled the US ahead of Germany, at least for now. As Obama mentioned in his State of the Union, China is really pushing ahead with renewable energy and in 2009 they doubled their wind power capacity and added 13 gigawatts. China is now in the 3rd place position for installed wind power, following Germany and the United States.
All this talk of racing with China, feels a tad reminiscent of the Space Race of the Cold War. I get it, the USA wants to be number 1 at everything and if that is the motivation behind greening the US of A, I’ll stand behind it. But really, even if our nation may have invented some of these technologies we should be learning from our friends all over the world. I mean just one quick glance at the 10 Most Green Countries, you can see why we didn’t make the list. Other countries have invested mass amounts of money into solar panels and pollution control methods.
So what is the US doing wrong here? For the past few decades we have ignored the energy crisis and figured out ways or wars of getting more oil in our hands. Even if we have fallen behind in a new green economy, now is the time to reconsider our energy use. Articles about the US increasing wind production are incredibly encouraging, but there needs to be more change or we really will far even farther behind much of the world. And at this point, beyond competition for being a world leader, we can not afford it. So what can you do about it? Contact your local officials (State officials are easier and perhaps more efficient than Federal) and use your money ethically. Support companies that make an extra effort to produce by environmentally friendly means! Things aren’t going to change on their own, it is time we started pushing our government and country into the Green Zone.