With the recent nuclear power plant catastrophe in Japan and last year’s BP oil spill in the gulf, the pressure for finding better, cleaner, and safer energy sources has never been higher. Although efforts for more efficient energy usage have been underway for quite some time, these events make it obvious that the process needs to be expedited.

So what exactly are companies and governments doing to combat this problem? Last week President Obama announced his new energy plans for the nation, highlighting a decrease in foreign oil dependency and an increase in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. The president also stressed the importance of cleaner energy sources, including nuclear power despite recent concerns. The corporate world agrees with Obama that actions must be taken now in order to secure our future energy needs. Recently, GE (a major worldwide energy leader already) has been on an acquisition tear, buying up global energy efficiency and technology firms in the past year, spending about $11 billion in total. The company hopes to increase its industrial revenues by capitalizing on the growing energy-efficiency market, which was valued at over $30 billion this past year and rising.

While it appears that our country’s political and economical leaders are striving to improve our energy situation, it’s just as important for individuals to pursue the same goal. Certainly we’ve gotten better as a society about conserving energy, but there’s always room for improvement. In addition to helping our current and future energy problems, you’re also saving yourself money on utilities and gas. So keep car pooling, recycling, and turning off electronics and lights when not in use (I’m talking to you roommates).