U.S. energy has long been dominated by fossil fuels; since the Industrial Revolution the country has become increasingly more reliant on imported fossil fuels. However, the emergence of climate-change science, coupled with political unrest in oil-producing countries, has begun to change the way individuals think about energy. Younger generations are more aware of the long-term impacts of fossil fuel dependence, and are recognizing the need for more sustainable practices.

A shift in power is also taking place; industry no longer has total control of the media. More young people are turning to social media to get their news, instead of the traditional media sources which have long been controlled by industry. Individuals have access to more information than ever, giving them insights into the multi-scale effects of news topics.

The debate around unconventional shale gas drilling has been heavily impacted by the shifts. Despite industry claims that fracking is a safe and sustainable practice, many individuals are hesitant to support it. This is largely due to the availability of information through the internet and social media sources, as well as a general awareness of the need to consider long term impacts of energy policy decisions.