Resource Stress


Resource Stress – Written by Solji Kim


The middle class population of the world in the year 2010 was 690,000. This number will increase to 830,000. by the year 2030. Resource is decreasing worldwide whereas demand is increasing and in case of water supply, it is 40% short when compared to the overall demand. Due to food shortages, the price of food will double between the year 2010 and 2030 and people’s lives are being threatened due to energy, underground, and metal resource deprivation. Especially in urban areas where the population of middle class is concentrated, lack of energy resources has already become a serious problem.(KPMG, 2015)

Accordingly, this resource deprivation phenomenon is a clear megratrend. The combined pressures of population growth, economic growth and climate change will place increased stress on essential natural resources including water, food, arable land and energy. These issues have called for sustainable resource management and a change in alternative energy industry and have become a flow in the world economy.

On the supply side, however, arable land, potable water, energy and minerals are finite, scarce and rapidly depleting. Take land — the earth contains approximately 13 billion hectares (32 billion acres) of land, or an area about 16 times the size of the United States. Of that, just 11% (1.4 billion hectares, or 3.5 billion acres) is arable and thus suitable to grow crops. The other 89% — including mountains and deserts — is prohibitively harder to exploit and farm. With the world’s population exploding, many more people will be looking to live and grow food on smaller patches of land.

Then there is water. Although the earth is 70% water, less than 1% is easily accessible fresh water that can be used for the sustenance of life, such as for drinking and sanitation. Meanwhile, by consuming about 85 million barrels of oil a day, we are living off oil discoveries that date as far back as the 1950s. As a typical example, an interest in  water saving products or recyclable water in our daily lives has gone up dramatically. The products that are considered as water-saving are the things that are easily found at homes such as toilet, shower head, and faucet. As interest in saving water heightened, water saving products which started from small ideas in our daily lives have obtained patents worldwide and are getting a lot of love from consumers.(KISTEP.2015)

Moreover, environmental concerns about fracking and shale gas could limit their promise so that such alternatives do not offer a real reprieve to global energy woes.

Finally, the global supply of minerals like copper is undermined by a decline in quality, a shrinking number of discoveries and increased vulnerability to political interventions. Increasingly, companies have to go much farther afield, into more difficult terrain and riskier geopolitical environments, in order to secure these minerals. (time,2015)

With this forecast, governments around the world and global companies are focusing on securing the remaining resources and developing new items that can replace non-renewable resources. This shows that we are on a rising curve of the life cycle and countries that have a lot of resources will have increased diplomatic power and countries that do not have resources will fall back fast and furious as cost for securing resources increases rapidly.

We see “resource war without gunshots” already taking place around the world. Many countries are concentrating on developing solar energy, wind power, and biotechnology as oil depletion became evident and alternative energy have risen as a key element to determine the fate of a country. This resource deprivation phenomenon which is directly related to national security, is a big megatrend in our societies as it expands the supply of sustainable energy, as well as the development of waste management technology such as restoring polluted lands which increases resource efficiency. This phenomenon will build the foundation for sustainable industry.

Do you think this resource deprivation phenomenon will have a positive effect on design industry? If yes(or no), give the reason why you think so.



Reference list:

건설 메가트렌드 (2016) 2030 지구환경 메가트렌드Retrieved 2016-08-10, from dailybizon

future (2016) Global Resources Stock Check Retrieved 2012-06-18, from bbc

Creative economy and water industry (2013) korea institute of science & technology evaluation and planning Retrieved 2012-07 from KISTEP fileIdx=2804&contentIdx=1354&tbIdx=BRD_BOARD


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