Fate of the World’s Natural Resources! – Part 2
Posted on: August 30, 2019.

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A leading UK-based newspaper had reported earlier this decade that owing to humans utilizing 30% more natural resources than can be replenished by the Earth each year—leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species—the earth is facing an ecological debt of up to US$ 4.5 trillion every year!

This is because the rate at which Nature can replace its resources has been surpassed, by a wide margin, by the rapid increase in human population and a proportionately enormous consumption. This estimate was made based on factors like “diminished rainfall for crops” or “polluted air for wildlife ecosystems”, applied by a UN report that calculated the economic value of ecosystems destroyed annually.

Mankind would need, predict researchers on the subject, two planets by 2030 to sustain life through that decade, if the current trend continues without change. The population should be educated, by the increased efforts of the environmental community, on preserving natural resources, close on the heels of this shocking prediction. Immense quantities of raw materials—plants, aquatic life, water, minerals—are required to produce the range of resources we use every day, more for our luxuries than for our needs.

For one planet to support a diversity of thriving species, including humans, it’s not difficult, but is definitely limited by the fundamentality of its nature. Beyond a certain threshold limit, we erode the health of the Earth’s living systems, putting them in serious danger of depletion. Human demand on this capacity exceeds what is available, ultimately threatening “human well-being” by loss of life support, the planet’s ecological limits having been surpassed.

At this juncture, it isn’t that surprising to learn that 50 countries already experience “moderate to severe water stress on a year-round basis”, according to the results of a meticulous survey on every country’s “water footprint”. 27 countries are importing more than half the water they consume, including the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands, the report further stated.

Declining indices were significant, since the 1970s, for drylands, grasslands, tropical forests, marine and freshwater species, and terrestrials. Humans also doubled their ecological footprints in the 1970s. However, ecological resources were more than sufficient—if not in surplus—in most  countries, even up until the 1960s, but today, 75% of the world’s population live in countries that use more than they restore!

With unprecedented growth of new methods for exploiting natural resources promoted by technological revolution, intensive farming, and an enormous increase in daily power needs, have put even greater strain on the planet’s natural resources since the 1950s. The natural and human-caused disasters facing the planet have been quantified by scientists and researchers, who have expressed great concern about the consequences it will have on ecosystems and the human population.

Sustainable environmental practices should have been learned, adapted, and executed yesterday, as it is far past that time now.

Creating Environmental Sustainability

Taking seriously, the rapid depletion of our natural resources, doing everything we can to sustain our environment, is crucial. Opting not to drive for walkable distances, switching off unwanted appliances to regulate power consumption, recycling used material, just to name a few, is how we can do our part to protect the environment.

The prime concern of humanity’s future is environmental protection and ecological preservation. It is about how a greener future could be provided by social/moral revolution and technological innovation. Vital to sustainability is biotechnology, especially, as recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While carbon emissions can be lowered by businesses, motivation to install renewable power sources in and around our homes can be incentivized by the governments.

A “post-fossil-fuel world” is steadily becoming the vision of government and businesses. Though the sustainable future is still a far-off vision, natural and cleaner fuel sources can be provided by new technologies and improvements in this direction. Awareness on the plight of the developing world is on the rise, promoted by sophisticated means of travel. The societal consciousness is increasingly aware of placing the needs of the poor and the most vulnerable over material gain.

New, cleaner technologies are required to help with our resource demands, and now is the time to develop and create them.

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