Humans have a dramatic impact on the landscapes we inhabit. Communities can moderate their impact by using fewer resources, conserving water and electricity, and reducing trash.
The FHI tracks resource use as the amount of energy used per person in each watershed. Communities that are reducing their per person energy use are more likely to be reducing other sources of consumption as well. Per capita energy is also influence by business and industry energy use, and changes in local businesses can alter local community energy footprints.
Near average: Resource use has been near average for this watershed over the past five years. Population in this area has remained stable, or changes in energy-use on individual level have offset any changes in the size of the community.
Electricity use is one of the largest sources of fossil fuel emissions, the primary driver of climate change. If global carbon emissions are not reduced, continued warming will have impacts for all Colorado's ecosystems, including its forests. Colorado is aggressively building renewable energy capacity to mitigate these emissions, but increases in energy efficiency and individual energy conservation are also necessary to minimize future climate change.
Over the past 40 years, per capita energy use in the United States has decreased. As appliances and electronics continue to become more efficient energy use will likely continue dropping. However, to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change, industry and individual energy conservation will be necessary in addition to continued gains in efficiency. Additionally, a conservation ethic and mindset are reflected in other aspects of an individuals lifestyle. This can lead to less water being removed from rivers and streams, fewer landfills, and a lighter impact on recreation resources.