Exploitation of natural resources
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Main article: Overexploitation
The exploitation of natural resources started to emerge in the 19th century as natural resource extraction developed. During the 20th century, energy consumption rapidly increased. Today, about 80% of the world’s energy consumption is sustained by the extraction of fossil fuels, which consists of oil, coal and gas. Another non-renewable resource that is exploited by humans are Subsoil minerals such as precious metals that are mainly used in the production of industrial commodities. Intensive agriculture is an example of a mode of production that hinders many aspects of the natural environment, for example the degradation of forests in a terrestrial ecosystem and water pollution in an aquatic ecosystem. As the world population rises and economic growth occurs, the depletion of natural resources influenced by the unsustainable extraction of raw materials becomes an increasing concern.
Why resources are under pressure
- Increase in the sophistication of technology enabling natural resources to be extracted quickly and efficiently. E.g., in the past, it could take long hours just to cut down one tree only using saws. Due to increased technology, rates of deforestation have greatly increased
- A rapid increase in population. This leads to greater demand for natural resources.
- Cultures of consumerism. Materialistic views lead to the mining of gold and diamonds to produce jewelry, unnecessary commodities for human life or advancement.
- Excessive demand often leads to conflicts due to intense competition. Organizations such as Global Witness and the United Nations have documented the connection.
- Non-equitable distribution of resources.
Problems arising from the exploitation of natural resources
- Extinction of species
- Forced migration
- Soil erosion
- Oil depletion
- Ozone depletion
- Greenhouse gas increase
- Extreme energy
- Water pollution
- Natural hazard/Natural disaster
- List of environmental issues
- Environmental disaster
- Easter Island