Global Population Explosion in a Resource Depleted World
by zjabbar on September 25, 2015 - 6:10pm
In the article “ Resource depletion: Opportunity or looming catastrophe? ”, Richard Anderson, a news reporter at BBC, argues that an accelerated global population growth cannot be sustained with the present models of production in a world with finite resources. The current world population is around 6 billion and is predicted to increase up to 9 billion by 2050. Anderson based himself on McKinsey Global Institute to explain that the vast majority of the new population will be part of the middle class consumers, thus the demands in food and products will be very high. It takes a lot of energy and new resources to meet the demands, therefore there is not enough resources. The reporter believes that the prices of resources will significantly increase since it will be very difficult and expensive to find new resources. For example, oil companies will have to dig deeper and have better equipment just to obtain little amounts of oil. It is an alarming issue since there is not enough time to prepare for the lack of resources and the current ways of production could destroy the Earth by pollution. Moreover, Anderson underlines the fact that water demand will increase by a half over the next 30 years while the amount of groundwater will decrease. “Drought, large-scale irrigation, pollution, dams and even war”(Anderson, 2012, par.14) are causes of water shortage. In the article, the critical list of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is used to emphasize the depletion of necessary minerals such as lithium and cobalt that are found in batteries. In fact, there is no awareness about the exhaustion of these key minerals because geologists believe that they will find new minerals to replace these, which Anderson highlights as being an issue since there is not enough preventative methods being used. Besides a depletion of energy sources, there will be a blow to the world economy seeing that it will be extremely expensive to find new resources. Richard Anderson proposed several solutions to sustain life on Earth. First of all, productivity improvement would help meet 30% of the resource demand by 2030 and allow companies to save money. Also, new technologies, substitute materials and increased investments will be necessary to support the increase in population. Second of all, more radical solutions such as the creation of policies that will regulate the prices of resources because many resources such as water are very cheap. Indeed, the regulation of prices will considerably affect the economy of companies, but there could be the use of a circular economy where the wastes of a company become the materials of another. Finally, energy efficiency, renewable energies and recycling will also be important in decreasing the impact of resource depletion.
As for me, the depletion of resources is a very important problem since I can already see that in developing countries there is a lack of basic resources such as water (electricity). As Anderson mentions in his article, awareness is the key to avoid resource exhaustion. I believe that the government of each country has a duty to fulfil by regulating the usage of resources. There should be a quota that indicates the amount of resources designated to each country not only based on the population but also on the population age distribution. Also, I believe that the main stakeholders in this issue are the companies that provide the resources. These companies should be international such that all the Earth’s resources should be not separated or given ownership to specific countries because this creates political and economical conflicts. In his article, Anderson underlines the effects of population growth in a limited world on the world economy. He gives many solutions such as productivity improvement, which would help meet 30% of the demand by 2030 (Anderson, 2012, par.29). Therefore, I believe that the solution should be involving the majority of the population so that the transition to a limit of resources is done smoothly. For example, recycling should be mandatory in all countries where all citizens have an obligation towards world conservation. Also, every family could decrease their resource usage and making them aware of the current situation of pollution and resource depletion can do this. A solution to a global problem involves a large-scale change. The question I ask myself is if the companies will be able to put aside their economical profit to prevent resource waste. The main roadblocks in achieving a better productivity and usage of resources would be political and economical interests where no one is ready to sacrifice either. Well in the end, the population will have to make sacrifices in order to survive.
Anderson, R. (2012, June 12). Resource depletion: Opportunity or looming catastrophe. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com