Society, Environment and Sustainability
Module 1: Population and Resources
.. Are we Running Out?
Are we Running Out of Resources? – Can We Sustainably Provide for Ourselves? – An Age-
• Do We have Too Many People ?
– The Importance of Population
population to stabilize
around 9-10billion in about the year 2060. This is the obverse of are we running out of
• What are “Resources
”? – as far as the sufficiency of resources to sustain human
consumption is concerned, even the medium term status of renewable and non-renewable
resources, is subject of much debate and controversy. It is a matter of much debate because
it hinges on the question of what we conceive of as a resource. How do we estimate its
abundance? How we estimate abundance. Whether and how we use the resources changes
with increasing scarcity of the resources.
• Resource Types and Characteristics
• Perspectives on “Are we Running Out?” …. Example = peak oil
• The Status of some resources
– this depends on how we conceive of resources and
estimate their abundance and whether and how we use the resources changes as the
resources become scarcer.
What are Resources?
Definitions of “Resources”
– UNESCO = materials that occur in nature and are essential or useful to humans,
such as water, air , land, forests, fish and wildlife, top soils and minerals
– USEPA = land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, groundwater, drinking water
supplies, and other such resources (including the resources of the exclusive economic
zone), belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise
controlled by, the USA, any state or local gov’t or Indian tribe, or any foreign gov’t
– Parks Canada = any part of the environment that species depend on for their
-Talkabout Trees = things we use that come from the earth