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Resource Crisis – introduction

We are running out of natural resources. Limited resources for more people means trouble. What are we running out of exactly, how do these relate and what does it mean?

Zizek, with Ed Ayres, sees four spikes of environmental threat: population growth, consumption of resources, carbon gas emissions, mass extinction of species.[1]

Bloomberg recently turned things around; it’s not that humanity is threatening the earth, but the earth treats humanity. That is, they distinguished nine boundaries that will threat human living conditions. From their perspective (see image), it’s first and foremost declining biodiversity that will render the planet uninhabitable.

Main conclusion is that systems that support human life are being depleted now rapidly, with unpredictable effects but with food being the ultimate resource. Some of these we are experiencing already quite forcefully; high oil prices, rising food prices, atmospheric instability.

The most important dimensions of resource depletion will be described in this part.

  1. [1]Zizek 2011: 327, quoting Ed Ayres (2001), quoted in Rolston, “Four Spikes, Last Chance”, Conservation Biology 14:2, pp. 584-5.