Population, natural resources
End of the World
Population and natural resources
One of the main characteristics of contemporary civilization, particularly in the developed countries, is violent, uncontrollable consumption of natural resources most of which are non-renewable. It is accompanied by a huge amount of industrial waste and waste which comes from households.
Scientists calculated that an average American uses directly or indirectly about 1600 tons of extracted resources. It exceeds 50 times the number of resources used by an inhabitant of India. So the pace of using natural resources by people is closely related to the level of life - the higher standard of living, the higher consumption of resources. Due to the increase in the number of population and the improvement of living conditions, demand for resources is going to rise. The Earth is like a storehouse with all goods that people need in order to live. Some scientists are afraid that with such a fast increase in the population of the Earth, the supply of natural resources will deplete in the foreseeable future.
One of the disastrous effects of the increase in the demand for energy is air pollution. Coal, widely used for the production of energy, is a non-renewable natural resource - numerous mines have already depleted their deposits. In many countries natural gas, often accompanying oil deposits and hard bituminous coal, has been replaced by generated gas obtained from coke in so-called gas generators.
Something becomes a resource if there is a demand for it and if it has a specific value. For instance, in Stone Age the most important resource was flint since it was necessary to make tools. Owing to the technological progress, the demand for flint decreased and copper, tin and iron became the main resources of Bronze Age and Iron Age. In the 18th and 19th centuries oil which was flowing into the rivers of Pennsylvania only disturbed people. However, when they learnt how to use oil to light houses and streets and make paraffin from oil, it became a valuable resource. Soon armies of geologists started to search for oil.
Resources which are valuable in one society may be worthless in another. Primitive Indian tribes living in the catchment area of the Amazon live close to nature and in order to satisfy their needs, they use plants and animals which live in local forests. Nevertheless, for many Brazilians, tropical rainforests are not the source of plants and animals but the place where they can find minerals, wood and land for breeding or cultivation. Native inhabitants of the forests have little influence on the environment in comparison with miners, woodcutters and farmers who change the forests permanently. It reflects the known truth that early societies had lower demand for natural resources.
The pace of exploitation of natural resources increased significantly due to the industrial revolution. According to some estimates, the use of mineral resources of our planet has risen 13 times since 1900.