Manifestinfo
perspectives on

sustainable development

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Resources

Human use of resources has developed from simple hunting and gathering, for food, clothes, shelter and firemaking, to massive-scale mineral extraction and laboratory fabrications of new materials. The concept of renewable and non-renewable refers to the rate of use compared to the rate of replenishment. In effect, most substances mined from the earth are 'non-renewable' in the sense that it can takes new earth crust formations to provide new sources. Conversely, plants and wind can be seen as renewable as they continue growing or blowing. Aside from this dimension, concerns over resource use relate to pollution - the ways in which humans move substances about at rates higher than ecosystems can assimilate - for example, oxygen-starved rivers from industrial discharges, soil organic matter loss from continual cultivation, or depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer from bromine and nitrogen gases. The 'catch-all' phrase for these impacts of human activities is environmental degradation.

The mass of information on the internet ranges from business as usual, to pointing to the need for a rethink of the way we use the earth's resources::

Greenpeace - campaigns on deforestation, coal tar etc etc - www.greenpeaceinternational.org

Friends of the Earth - produce good reports on these issues, for example:

United Nations Environment Programme - May 2011 report on decoupling resource use from economic growth - http://www.unep.org/resourcepanel/Publications/Decoupling/tabid/56048/Default.aspx

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