America is at an energy crossroad. As a nation, we are dependent on fossil fuels at a time of growing demand and dwindling supply. Meanwhile, fossil fuel use continues to impose massive environmental and economic costs. Now our country must choose between paying to continue the status quo and investing in a new energy future.
America is the largest consumer of energy in the world. The majority of this energy is derived from dirty, polluting sources such as coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power. Our consumption of these fuels exacerbates global warming, keeps us dependent upon oil and other fossil fuels, and undermines our economy. 40 percent of America’s energy—ten percent of all the energy used in the world—goes towards powering our buildings.
For nearly two decades Maryland jurisdictions – counties, cities and towns – have worked together to balance growth and preservation through one unifying benchmark: the locally-devised comprehensive plan. The state’s nationally renowned planning regulations since 1992 have required such plans to adhere to eight visions that, at their core, call for developing “suitable areas” while protecting sensitive sites. Each area’s plan may be vastly different based on geography and demographics, but they all must follow the general tenets of preserving the state’s rural character by steering new development to existing population centers and areas earmarked to accommodate growth.
America’s reliance on fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – is fueling global warming and causing a host of other environmental, economic, and security problems. And while the impacts vary from region to region, global warming threatens all sectors of our economy, and agriculture is no exception.