Saturday, July 30, 2016

Human Consumption of Earth's Natural Resources Has Tripled in 40 Years

Landscape deeply scarred by an open cut coal mine in Hunter Valley, Australia. (Credit: Max Phillips / Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Humans' appetite for gnawing away at the fabric of the Earth itself is growing prodigiously.  According to a new UN report, the amount of the planet's natural resources extracted for human use has tripled in 40 years.

A report produced by the International Resource Panel (IRP), part of the UN Environment Program, says rising consumption driven by a growing middle class has seen resources extraction increase from 22 billion tons in 1970 to 70 billion tons in 2010.

It refers to natural resources as primary materials and includes under this heading biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metallic minerals.

The increase in their use, the report warns, will ultimately deplete the availability of natural resources—causing serious shortages of critical materials and risking conflict.

Growing primary material consumption will affect climate change mainly because of the large amounts of energy involved in extraction, use, transport and disposal.

Irreversibly Depleted
"The alarming rate at which materials are now being extracted is already having a severe impact on human health and people's quality of life," said the IRP's co-chair, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra.

Read more at Human Consumption of Earth's Natural Resources Has Tripled in 40 Years

No comments:

Post a Comment