Are we using up more than what is available?

I can give you a straigt answer to the question asked in the title above: yes.

Our current global population is 7.2 billion and still growing, while earth’s total resources are only good for 2 billion people at the current demand. (TheWorldCounts) You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that if we continue to live the way we do now, there will come a day that we simply have nothing left. If you look on the website www.theworldcounts.com you’ll find alarming facts about the state of our earth. They place several statistics that increase at high speed while you look at them. For example, at the moment that I’m writing this article, the number of planets earth we’ll need to provide recourses and absorb our waste stands at 1.6531035585 and the tons or resources extracted from earth globally this year stands at 40,590,901,672.

These statistics show that we are dealing with a huge worldwide issue that is already causing problems for us now, and will do even more in the near future. Because what will we for instance going to drink if we run out of water? At this moment, only 2.5% of the worlds total water volume is fresh water. And of that 2.5%, 70% is frozen. From the fresh water that remains 70% is being used for agriculture, 20% in industry and only 10% is being used for human comsumption. These statistics are caused by increased irrigation and agriculture, and the consequences are that we will end up whit a drinking water and food shortage (TheWorldCounts). The depletion of our water is only one example of many natural resources but it is the one that is most serious because there are for instance substitutes for oil, but nothing can replace our drinking water.

The depletion of our natural resources is a mega trend that has been a very serious problem for a long time, but it is definitely getting more attention nowadays then in the last century. Trends that emerged from this mega trend are the trends that encourage a sustainable lifestyle and a lot of micro trends that involve technological inventions such as solar panels. It is very certain when you look at the forecasts that researchers made that this mega trend is still in it’s growing phase and will continue to grow at high speed. That is making governments ask questions like, how much longer will earths’s natural resources really last, and what are we going to do when we actually run out? Sadly the first people who are being effected by this problem are the poor, who don’t have the money to use expensive substitutes for natural resources.

Luckily a lot of countries are taking measures such as placing windmills and sonar panals and a lot of foundations and companies are doing their best to create awareness among people about what kind of things you can do to help. The truth is that it will be hard to predict when we will completely run out of natural resources because there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account. Things like natural disasters, the economy and the further grow of our world population. It’s a fact that we’ll run out eventually, knowbody knows exactly when so our future remains uncertain, but all kinds of small choices you make, such as how long you decide to shower, have their effect on this huge problem. So choose wisely.

 

Monique Wols
References list:

 

Futurism, (2014). How Long Do We Have Until We Exhaust All Of Our Resources? Retrieved 25-09-16, from: http://futurism.com/how-long-do-we-have-until-we-exhaust-all-of-our-resources/

 

Ruz, C. (2015). The six natural resources most drained by our 7 billion people. Retrieved 25-09-16, from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2011/oct/31/six-natural-resources-population

 

The World Counts, (2014). Concequences of depletion of natural resources.

Retrieved 25-09-16, from:  http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/consequences_of_depletion_of_natural_resources

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2 thoughts on “Are we using up more than what is available?

  1. Hi Monique,

    When I read your article I really felt ashamed and afraid. What will happen if the earth runs out of natural resources? Nowadays you read a lot about the environment in the media and how the overpopulation of the earth leaves its traces, traces that are irreversible.

    Fortunately, plans are being made by the Dutch government to decrease the pollution to 0% in 2050. This means that before 2050 all the resources you use nowadays will be replaced by green alternatives (NOS, 2015). The three most prominent solutions are:

    1. Cars that drive on green energy within 20 years
    2. More windmills to replace all coal and gas resources
    3. From 2050 all houses should be free of natural gas.

    Even though plans are made, there still are a lot of problems. Who is going to pay for all these new green resources. The solutions sure look great but will cost a lot of money. With the government investing a lot of money in other big social problems such as the shelter of Syrian refugees it remains to be seen if the plans for 2050 will be a success.

    NOS. (2015, December 7). Alles groen in 2050? ‘Dat kan veel sneller’. Retrieved 8 January, 2017, from
    http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2147091-alles-groen-in-2050-dat-kan-veel-sneller.html

    Like

  2. (I’m a resitter so therefore the late response)

    I think this is one of the most relevant topics at this point since it affects every human on earth if it goes wrong, so great topic! I was amazed to read that so much water is still being used on agriculture, I did not expect that since agriculture is a dying sector. Obviously, fossil fuels will be replaced soon, the Netherlands for example will only sell electric cars starting in 2035 (we hope). Most machines driven by fossil fuels will run on electricity and electricity has many ways to be green.

    Even Donald Trump wants to cover the wall along the Mexican border with solar panels (BBC, 2017).
    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/embed/p056lt2m/40363390

    I have my doubts about this guy but the intention is nice.

    Anyway, we don’t have to worry about energy and fuel, drinking water is more of a concern. It was a surprise that such little water is drinking water. I came across an article stating that, very recently, they have found a way to filter seawater in order for it to become drinking water (BBC, 2017). It does however not look like a real solution yet since it will probably take forever until it can be used globally and it looks super expensive. California has already made drastic changes to their society since the drought hit them in 2012. But what about the water cycle that NASA describes (NASA, 2010). They say that water evaporates from the surface of the earth (so rain, sweat, urine, ponds, etc) and rises into the atmosphere, condenses and rains down on the earth reading to be drank again. I have even heard that the water you drink today has probably been drank at least three times before! With this knowledge, can’t we say that water is a sustaining resource?

    Timo van Vliet 1645312

    Bart Oostvogels (2016) “Vanaf 2035 alleen nog maar elektrische auto’s verkopen”, retrieved from:
    https://autorai.nl/2035-elektrische-autos-verkopen/

    BBC news (2017) Donald Trump talks up solar panel plan for Mexico wall, retrieved from:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-40363390

    Paul Rincon (2017) Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water, retrieved from:
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39482342

    Steve Graham, Claire Parkinson and Mous Chahine (2010) The Water Cycle, retrieved from:
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Water/

    Like

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