Social Studies 11 Resources Chapter 16- Patterns in Economic Development Chapter 17- Environment
Resources • Resources are those things that man uses and is prepared to pay for. They may be tangible, like water or wood; or they may be intangible, like human skills. • This presentation will deal with the first category.
Resources • Resources and cultures are closely linked. What a group of people value and use depends very much on their economic organization. Flint was one of early man’s most cherished materials, yet oil was considered worthless. Today the reverse is true.
Types of Resources Renewable & Non-Renewable • Resources may be replaceable or not. • If materials can be replaced within a life-time, we refer to them as renewable. These are organic – like wood or wheat. • Inorganic resources, like iron, or organic material produced over very long time spans, like coal or oil, cannot be replaced and are all regarded as non-renewable.
Renewable Resources • Renewable resources are continually available if - • The systems that produce them are not disrupted by natural change or man’s actions. • Stocks are not used up faster than than they can be produced.
Renewable ResourcesAir • Throughout much of human history air has been so plentiful that it has not been regarded as a resource at all. • As our numbers have grown our impact on the environment has become so great that the very air we breathe appears to be at risk.
Renewable ResourcesAir II • The World’s rainforests contribute substantially to the conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen. Huge forest areas are harvested for their fibre or are cleared for agriculture. • This is a concern for us all. The Fijian Island of Viti Levu. Sugar plantations have replaced natural forest.
Renewable ResourcesAir III • On a much smaller scale the air within our buildings is also a concern. The United Nations reports that “Every Year more than 3 million die from air pollution – more than 80% of them from indoor pollution”. • In the developed world we worry about air quality in our sealed skyscrapers as poor air quality is linked to viruses. • In the developing world, emissions from heating and cooking fires harm the lungs of young and old alike.
Renewable Resources Water
Renewable ResourcesWater • Like air, water was also once regarded as limitless and accorded little value. • We only come to value it when clean water is in short supply. Heavy pesticide use has poisoned the Jordan River in the Middle East.
Renewable ResourcesWater II Water Available (103m3 per year per capita) • 1.385 billion km3 of water is available on this planet. 96% of this is in the oceans, 1.7% is groundwater, 1.74% is locked in glaciers .022 is ice and .013 is found in lakes. • Supplies are not evenly distributed. Per capita water supplies are declining everywhere.
Renewable Resources Water III • The drawing down of aquifers in the Western United States is resulting in significant increases in the cost of water to homes, agriculture and industry and a search for alternate water sources. • The United Nations Human Development Report for 1998 indicates that global water availability had dropped from 17,000 cubic meters per capita in 1950 to around 7,000.
Renewable ResourcesWater IV • A Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health report notes that “By 2025…one in every three people will live in countries short of water.” A Village Well in Northern India
Renewable ResourcesWater V • Up to 80% of disease in developing countries is related to insufficient and unsanitary water supplies. The still waters of tropical rice paddies, like this one in Thailand, are ideal breeding grounds for parasites.
Renewable ResourcesWater VI • The Environmental News Network reported in 1998 that: • “Even within a country, competition for use can be fierce. The water in China’s Yellow River, for example, is under so much demand that the river has dried up before reaching the ocean. In 1996, when there was enough water, the government ordered farmers not to use it; a state-run oil field further downstream needed the water to operate.”
Renewable ResourcesWater VII • Water is crucial for consumption, agriculture and industry. • These uses must compete for available water supplies. • Furthermore, such uses may be harmful to existing systems. • Decision makers must balance these needs. Cleveland Dam, North Vancouver, BC
Renewable ResourcesWater VIII • Man has fought over resources throughout history. Perhaps water will fuel the conflicts of the 21st century. Neither deep nor wide, the Jordan River feeds Jordan, Syria and Israel. Guaranteed water flows are crucial for each of these parched countries and denial of this life-giving resource could drive any to war.
Renewable Resources Soil
“…the lesson of history is as clear as a sunny day on the Mediterranean, around whose shores the wreckage of so many civilizations lie.” Vernon Gill Carter & Tom Dale Topsoil and Civilization In their landmark 1955 work, Carter and Dale pointed out the huge impact that man has had on the landscape through poor agricultural practices since the beginning of History. They indicate that soil degradation played a leading role in the fall of many civilizations. Renewable ResourcesSoil
Renewable ResourcesSoil II • Plato noted how Ancient Greece had, by 300 BC, become “the skeleton of a sick man.” • The Roman writer Lucretius also noted the effect of soil degradation in Italy. Plato
Renewable ResourcesSoil III • More recently, John Perlin (A Forest Journey; The Role of Wood in the Development of Civilization) theorized that the Mayan Civilization may have perished as a result of topsoil loss through deforestation. • Forests were cut down to produce lime for the facing of monuments. The resulting soil erosion filled the swamps that were the source of peat used as agricultural fertilizer. Mayan Pyramid at Uxmal in Mexico
Renewable ResourcesSoil IV • North Africa was the granary of the ancient Roman world, but poor agricultural techniques combined with natural changes have resulted in desertification. The Sahara Desert in North Africa
Renewable ResourcesSoil V • In Canada in a Changing World; Geography, Stewart Dunlop notes that about 1/5 of the world’s land supports 90% of its population. The rest is too hot, too cold, too dry, too steep, or is otherwise unsuitable for agriculture. • Our rising numbers are pressuring the little land that is available for growing food.
Renewable ResourcesSoil VII • In British Columbia, only about 5% of our land is arable. • The richest agricultural land is the alluvial soil of the Fraser River Delta.
Renewable ResourcesSoil VIII • The Fraser River delta is under considerable urban pressure, with much land already under concrete. • Industrial, commercial and residential use generate much more revenue than farming. • Though an agricultural land freeze was introduced in the early 1970’s, the gradual alienation of farm land continues. • Farming and urban populations do not mix easily.
Renewable ResourcesSoil IX • If agricultural output is to keep pace with population increases, we must focus not only on crops, but on the preservation of the soil itself.
Renewable ResourcesSoil X • As Rachel Carson noted in her monumental 1962 work Silent Spring, we must be extremely careful about the chemicals that we apply to plants and soil because of their impact on the entire food chain. Published by Houghton-Mifflin
Renewable Resources Food
Renewable ResourcesFood • Our most important resources are food and water, which meet the most basic of human needs. • Tremendous increases in food production have occurred over the past century, with more people now better fed than at any other time in history.
Renewable Resources Food II • Through his actions, man has drastically changed natural systems throughout history.
Renewable Resources Food III • In the Nile, Huang Ho, Tigris-Euphrates, and Indus Rivers, early man replaced natural systems with agricultural production that has greatly simplified biological diversity. • This produced the food surpluses that made civilization possible.
Renewable ResourcesFood IV • Food production has increased enormously. • Increases in population also mean that there are also more hungry people than ever before. • As world populations rise, it is crucial that food production keeps pace.
Renewable Resources The Green Revolution
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution • Since the 1950’s huge increases in plant yields have been achieved by the development of hybrid plant varieties and the application of inorganic fertilizers and carefully controlled watering. • Between 1925 and 1930 Mexico produced 700 kg of wheat per hectare. • Between 1965 and 1969, as new high yield varieties were planted, it produced 2400 kg per hectare.
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution II • The Green Revolution, introduced into South Asia in the mid 1960’s, increased wheat yields 60%. Harvest in Punjab, India
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution III • Green Revolution technologies have had a major impact in the developing world as new varieties of fast-growing dwarf varieties of rice and wheat have been planted. • 70% of the wheat growing areas of developing countries outside of China are now planted with new wheat varieties. • From 1955-1985 world grain production rose from 273 to 343 kg per capita.
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution IV • Genetic manipulation has resulted in hardier species that can be adapted to wide ranging conditions. • Future varieties may produce high yields while offering more resistance to disease and insects, while requiring less fertilization. • Triticale, a cross between wheat and rye, proves that some of these traits can be bred into plants. • This grain grows in a variety of climates and in poor soils.
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution V • Progress with new rice varieties has been more difficult due to the problem of water control for a plant that spends much of its life cycle submerged. Rice Paddy Northern Malaysia
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution VI • However, seemingly miraculous increases in yield come at a price. • It takes 1.2 barrels of oil to produce a ton of grain in developed countries – fully 700% more than was the case in 1950. • 8% of the world’s oil production is now committed to “industrial agriculture”.
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution VII • In Central Asia, the diversion of water from the Syr Dar’ya and the Amu Dar’ya Rivers into irrigated fields is causing the Aral Sea to dry up. Aral Sea Caspian Sea Syr Dar’ya Amu Darya
Renewable ResourcesFood – The Green Revolution VIII • The costs of green revolution technology place it in the hands of the rich and agribusinesses. • The poor, who most need it, cannot afford it. • New varieties displace native crops and reduce genetic diversity. • Sometimes this involves growing export products instead of subsistence crops.
Renewable ResourcesFood – a 2nd Green Revolution • Despite its drawbacks, the Green Revolution has been instrumental in staving off famine. • We have learned from its failings and scientists now seek to move it into a second phase.
Renewable ResourcesFood – a 2nd Green Revolution II • Some scientists feel crops or animals might be bred with bioindicators or “marker genes.” • For instance, a plant might be bred that changes colour when it is not getting enough water. • A farmer can then fine tune irrigation to avoid wasting water.
Renewable ResourcesFood – a 2nd Green Revolution III • Other scientists want to produce apomicticplants, which reproduce asexually. • Farmers could then produce their own seed. • Another goal would be to replace annuals, like corn, wheat and rice with perennials.
Renewable ResourcesFood – a 2nd Green Revolution IV • Transgenic crops could resist pests, insects and disease. • One of the most exciting prospects for the future is the engineering of nitrogen-fixing crops and microorganisms. • Since nitrogen is essential and expensive to add to soil, if the characteristics of nitrogen fixers, like legumes, could be given to other plants it would help world food production enormously.
Renewable Resources The Blue Revolution
Renewable Resources Food – The Blue Revolution • Over-fishing of the Grand Banks, off the East Coast, has resulted in huge depletion of cod stocks. • Draconian measures have been taken to restrict fishing and, hopefully, to allow fish stocks to rebuild. • The United Nations, in its Human Development Report for 1998 states that about 25% of the world’s fish stocks are depleted and another 44% have been fished to their biological limit.