Consuming Resources

A set of revision cards for the topic of Consuming Resources

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Resource Classification

1) Natural resources
2) Human resources - skills of a population
3) Material or Capital Resources - goods and equipment already in society

Non-renewable resources - extraction would bring further money to oil companies and could avoid the costs of switching to the other fuels such as hydrogen, however - extraction uses huge amounts of water, gives only a five year supply and deforestation is required to get to the oil.

Sustainable and renewable such as bio fuels - CO2 absorbed when they are grown, engines need little change to cope with Bio fuels, however - huge areas of land are needed to grow the crop, habitat variety is reduced to monoculture.

Sustainable but limited such as solar energy - unlimited and environmentally friendly, less carbon emissions, however - new ways of storing electricity are needed, current production is tiny and it is relatively expensive.

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Oil production and consumption

Current production is focused in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. However many of these countries have reached 'peak oil' and production levels are now falling.

Consumption is largely related to the wealth of a country and it's reliance on cars. 70% of the world's oil is used transporting goods and people within and between countries.

The USA has less than 5% of the World's population but uses 25% of the oil mainly due to:
Lack of public transport systems,
Low density urban settlements so the journey to work or school is long,
History of low petrol prices.

China and India have a combined population of 1,400 million and are still rapidly growing. As the population grows, so does the demand for cars in the hope of achieving the 'American Dream'. To achieve this, Tata Motors based in India has begun to produce a £1500 car, increasing the demand for oil and adding to CO2 emissions.

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Population Growth and Resource theories

Malthus Theory (1766-1834)
Population increases faster than the food supply so there will come a time when there is not enough food for the population. Population increases geometrically (1, 2, 4, 8, 16) whereas the food supply increases arithmetically (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Population will outgrow available food leading the famine, war and disease. Malthus believed that war and disease epidemics were a positive thing as they kept the population from reaching the boundary of overpopulation.

Boserup Theory (1965)
Population growth has a positive impact on people as it forces them to invent a way out of the problem when resources start to run out e.g. GM crops. Overpopulation leads to innovation and higher productivity in use of land and labour such as GM crops and the Green Revolution. 

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Reducing the demand for resources

Reducing the dependence on oil through:
Carrying refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones which are made from oil and then oil is used to transport them around the world,
Switch to hydrogen/alternatively fuelled cars.

Individual action:
Use public transport,
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs,
Recycling and conservation,
Reduce food miles by buying food from local shops.

Corporate Action:
Eliminating waste in all areas of the business and using renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power,
Hydrogen fuelled cars and bus shuttles to pick up employees to reduce their car usage.

Aim: To achieve sustainable development!

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