The best way to measure the economy of a community and even the country is through its energy consumption. When demand for electricity goes up, it means there are more households, more appliances, more buildings, and more factory activities. There is no better barometer than that.
The United States is an irony when it comes to energy. While it is the biggest producer of clean geothermal energy, it is also one of the biggest producers of nuclear power and coal technology. It is the promise land of clean technology for the future and a wasteland of old dirty power plants. The country continues to post the biggest increase in demand for energy to fuel its economy.
In the age of great concern for the environment presently being wreaked by climate change, global warming and extreme weather conditions, the struggle between paving the way for economic growth and protecting the environment is at its vital point than ever.
Economic development creates jobs. It gives people food, decent housing and a better life. However, industrialization also means more energy consumption and more, most often smoke-emitting power plants, smoke belching cars and garbage. Economic development needs power and fossil fuel to keep it going. If you live in a state like California you know how important clean enery can be. Thre are even Realtors that specialize in "clean energy" homes. One example that does this who I recently met is Yager Reality. They also are innovative with their commission rates and offer a flat fee mls listing service for California, and other states.
Although the green movement has identified and has been successful to some degree in the fight against dirty carbon and toxic-emitting power plants, these cheap, easy-to-build plants are a quick fix option in developing countries and even in some states in the United States. Power plants run by diesel and coal are the dirtiest as they blast into the atmosphere hazardous fumes like nitrogen oxides and sulfuric acids. They also emit carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to a great degree, destroying the ozone layer and contributing to global warming.
Geothermal power plants get its energy from steam building up under the earth. This, together with hydroelectric power plants like the Hoover Dam has the potential to produce large amounts of energy. They are very clean as they emit nothing and produce no by products. However, they are expensive and very site specific. You can only build a hydroelectric dam when there is an elevated lake, and you cannot build a geothermal power plant just anywhere.
Nuclear power plants are very popular in the United States. Although the technology is very expensive and very costly to build, they are very clean and can produce power so much more than any technology. Its hazards, however, to personnel, neighboring communities and in disposal of its waste materials prevent it from getting wholesale acceptance in many countries.
There are many more energy alternatives, solar powers, wind powers and tidal power. These are perhaps the future energy sources that will keep economies growing while addressing the ever-pressing concern about protecting the environment. Economic growth cannot be unstoppable anymore. It should and must be tempered with concern for the environment. For what is economic progress when our earth is uninhabitable.