Depletion and Destruction of Natural Resources (I)

depletion and destruction of natural resources

We now face a serious problem of depletion of essential resources, despite the fact that most humans have little access to them. Depletion of resources has played a role in the collapse of past civilizations and now threatens to lead to the collapse of global society as a whole. It is possible, however, adopt measures leading to sustainable use of resources. Not all are simple measures, of course, but it is urgent to begin to implement, as claimed by the Worldwatch Institute, with “a mobilization and in times of war.”

The depletion of many resources vital to our species-a result of dilapidation or destruction, the result of predatory behavior consciously or unconsciously guided by the pursuit of private benefits in the short term is one of the most troubling problems of the current situation planetary emergencies (Brown, 1998; Folch, 1998).

It should start reflecting on the meaning of “resource” as defined in dictionaries as “good” or “means of subsistence”, so as natural resource can be considered a mineable ore body or a bag of oil, like a forest, or breathable air … (Vilches and Gil Perez, 2003).

In fact, what we consider action has been changing over time. Oil, for example, was known for thousands of years, always had the same characteristics and properties, but its emergence as an energy resource is very recent, when the company has been able to exploit technically. And the same could be said of many mineral resources of the seabed, waterfalls or solar energy, which obviously always been there.

Moreover, the idea has associated resource limitation, that of something that is valuable to meet needs but is not available to everyone. Therefore, depletion of resources is one of the most worrying social problems, as evidenced by the first Earth Summit organized by the UN in Rio in 1992.

It then explained that the consumption of certain key resources exceeded by 25% the chances of recovery of the Earth. And five years later, in the so-called Rio + 5 Forum, warned of accelerating the process, so that consumption at the global level already exceeded by 33% to the chances of recovery. As stated in that forum the experts: “if possible extend to all human beings the level of consumption in developed countries would need three planets to meet global demand.”

In other words, we face a serious problem of depletion of essential resources, although most human beings have little access to them. Depletion of resources has played a role, although not exclusive to the collapse of past civilizations and now threatens to drive “the collapse of global society as a whole” (Diamond, 2006). And what are the key resources whose depletion is posing problems?

It must, of course, referring to the exhaustion of fossil energy resources, which appears as one of the clearest examples. However, social behaviors in our developed countries show no real understanding of the problem: we continue to build vehicles that burn brightly increasing amounts of oil, regardless or their projected depletion, nor the problems caused by combustion ( see a borderless pollution) or the fact that is the raw material, sometimes exclusively, many synthetic materials (fibers, plastics, rubber, drugs …). Burning oil we are depriving future generations of a valuable commodity.

Source: www.oei.es/decada/accion.php?accion=23
image source: www.creativereview.co.uk/images/uploads/2008/10/forest_depletion_371.jpg

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