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The earth is the foundation of all life, so taking care of the earth and its resources should be a responsibility shared by all .

We are now in the middle of a long process of transition in the nature of the image which man has of himself and his environment.

Primitive men, and to a large extent also men of the early civilizations, imagined themselves to be living on a virtually illimitable plane. There was almost always somewhere beyond the known limits of human habitation, and over a very large part of the time that man has been on earth, there has been something like a frontier. That is, there was always some place else to go when things got too difficult, either by reason of the deterioration of the natural environment or a deterioration of the social structure in places where people happened to live.

The image of the frontier is probably one of the oldest images of mankind, and it is not surprising that we find it hard to get rid of.

All resources are interconnected, so a deficiency in one area puts pressure on all others.

People are putting increasing demands on the earth’s resources in many ways – the need for more food puts pressure on the land and fishing resources, power, fuel and building resources are over-used, our technology demands all sorts of new raw materials, even space for living can be in short supply.

With 7 billion people on the planet – theoretically from today – there will be an inevitable increase in the demand on the world’s natural resources.

Here are six already under severe pressure from current rates of consumption:

The six natural resources most drained by our 7 billion people

1. Water

Freshwater only makes 2.5% of the total volume of the world’s water, which is about 35 million km3. But considering 70% of that freshwater is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover and that we only have access to 200,000km3 of freshwater overall, it isn’t surprising that demand for water could soon exceed supply. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is predicting that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity.

2. Oil

The fear of reaching peak oil continues to haunt the oil industry. The BP Statistical Review of World Energy in June measured total global oil at 188.8 million tonnes, from proved oil resources at the end of 2010. This is only enough to oil for the next 46.2 years, should global production remain at the current rate.

3. Natural gas

A similar picture to oil exists for natural gas, with enough gas in proven reserves to meet 58.6 years of global production at the end of 2010.

4. Phosphorus

Without this element, plants cannot grow. Essential for fertilizer, phosphate rock is only found in a handful of countries, including the US, China and Morocco. With the need to feed 7 billion people, scientists from the Global Phosphorus Research Initiative predict we could run out of phosphorus in 50 to 100 years unless new reserves of the element are found.

5. Coal

This has the largest reserves left of all the fossil fuels, but as China and other developing countries continue to increase their appetite for coal, demand could finally outstrip supply. As it is, we have enough coal to meet 188 years of global production.

6. Rare earth elements

Scandium and terbium are just two of the 17 rare earth minerals that are used in everything from the powerful magnets in wind turbines to the electronic circuits in smartphones. The elements are not as rare as their name suggests but currently 97% of the world’s supply comes from China and they can restrict supplies at will. Exact reserves are not known.


Our ever-rising ability to do more things faster, and impose more order of our own choosing anywhere we like is bad for the rest of the planet.

It will not have escaped your notice that doomsday-est are never listens to.

At the risk of being called a doomsday spoil sport there is only one solution and that is to tap into mans greed. ( See previous posts)