Five hopeful signs global energy is getting cleaner

Earth's population is only growing. Can we rein in energy usage and greenhouse emissions while supporting more and more people?

3. More with less

Elaine Thompson/AP
Energy efficient LED lights illuminate the field as Los Angeles Angels play the Seattle Mariners at dusk in a baseball game in Seattle. Safeco Field is the first Major League stadium to light its playing field with LED lights.

A huge amount of energy produced worldwide is wasted through inefficiencies, and over the last decade countries in the developed world and beyond have made great strides toward using energy more wisely.

Eighteen developed countries – including the US, UK, and France – saved more energy through efficiency measures from 2001 and 2011 than China used in 2011, according to a 2014 IEA report and an analysis by Carbon Brief.

“Energy efficiency is the invisible powerhouse in IEA countries and beyond, working behind the scenes to improve our energy security, lower our energy bills and move us closer to reaching our climate goals,” IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in 2014 when she unveiled the report.

Efficiency gains can come anywhere – from better household appliances, to lower speed limits on the highway.

3 of 5

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.