Show how the way people manage resources has impacts for environmental and social sustainability.
Current Day Resource Management
In modern society, the way countries manage resources has a huge impact on how they function. Countries can manage resources well, maintaining environmental or social sustainability, or they can manage them improperly and harm the environment as well as people. The increasing switch to renewable energy sources in some countries is an example of sustainable resource management, while the farming and diamond mining industries, in Madagascar and Sierra Leone respectively, are examples of resource management that destroys sustainability.
Many countries are increasingly switching to using larger amounts of renewable energy to provide power to their citizens. They are doing this because non-renewable sources of energy, which currently form the large majority of the planet’s energy, damage the environment and are finite, so are not sustainable. By contrast, renewable energy sources, such solar, wind and tidal energy, are environmentally friendly and will never run out. Denmark is an example of a country that is leading the way towards reliance on renewable energy; currently, wind energy meets 39% of the nation’s electricity demand, with plans to make this 100% by 2050. Germany and Norway are other European countries setting similar goals to manage the energy they use in order to preserve the environment and prevent pollution, creating environmental sustainability.
Madagascan farming is an example of a large industry managing their resources in a short-sighted way that damages both environmental and social sustainability. Many Madagascans are destroying rainforest to use as farming land. This damages environmental sustainability because the habitat of the endemic animals living in these rainforests is destroyed. Rice crops are planted on the cleared land, but only grow for several years because they are not suited to Madagascar’s humid climate. The replacement of large trees and plants with small crops means the land is less stable, resulting in flooding and the eventual destruction of the land originally cleared for farming. This flooding destroys the homes of Madagascans, severely compromising their living style. This cycle repeats itself; when their homes are destroyed, the farmers move into new, untouched rainforest and repeat the previously outlined process. This is an example of short-sighted resource management that damages both environmental and social sustainability; the Madagascans are destroying native rainforest, and, as a consequence, their homes are being destroyed due to flooding, meaning their social sustainability is badly affected.
The conflict diamond industry in Sierra Leone and other West African nations is another example of how improper resource management damages environmental and social sustainability. Civilians who wish to challenge authority often create a military body and force others to mine for diamonds to fund their war efforts. The way these diamonds are mined is extremely damaging on the environment; the ground at a mining site is washed away to expose the diamonds underneath it, and is left barren and unusable when it is finished with and the miners move to a new site. This damages environmental sustainability in Sierra Leone – the useable land is diminishing at a rapid rate. Finally, social sustainability is also being damaged through the diamond mining industry, because the miners contract diseases in the mines, and usually do not receive any money for their efforts, meaning their living style is severely compromised.
Resource management is vital in modern society because well managed resources lead to the development of environmentally and socially sound countries that have minimal issues related to problems such as poverty and pollution. The increasing use of sustainable energy in European countries is an example of sustainable resource management, while the farming industry in Madagascar and the conflict diamond industry in Sierra Leone are both examples of resource management that damages both social and environmental sustainability. Short-sightedness in resource management creates undesirable societies where citizens living styles suffer, and means the environment may be destroyed, removing organisms vital to the global ecosystem. Currently, it is important to be proactive and think about the future when considering resource management.