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Explain why resource exploitation in MEDCs creates such a threat to wilderness areas

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Explain why resource exploitation in MEDCs creates such a threat to wilderness areas. Wilderness areas are often areas of extreme geographic and climatic conditions - very wet or cold, extremely hot or dry. They are places where colonisers have not wished to settle, and which are so remote and inaccessible that governments simply have no authority. These areas have been left relatively untouched until recently, when improved technology and affluence in the industrialised world has made wilderness areas more accessible, so that they are increasingly sought after by resource developers. This has lead to conflicts between indigenous people, wilderness quality, and the resource developers. Unfortunately, these wilderness areas are often rich in valuable resources, that governments are eager to exploit at the expense of the environment. A resource can be defined as an available source of wealth; a new or reserve supply that can be drawn upon when needed. Within the context of this essay, I am going to look at resources as minerals, raw materials such as wood, and the wilderness ecosystem itself. Resource exploitation is when resources are knowingly used to such an extent, that their use begins to have a detrimental effect on the ecosystem. Oil is a fossil fuel that is used worldwide as a source of non-renewable energy. ...read more.


When the conversation turned to response to a major spill, Riki Ott, a fisherwoman and toxicologist from Cordova said, "It's not a matter of what if, but when." The Exxon Valdez disaster killed more wildlife than any other environmental disaster in the nation's history, including an estimated 3,500 to 5,500 sea otters, 300 harbour seals, and 14 to 22 killer whales. "The Exxon Valdez spill killed nearly ten times as many birds as any other U.S. or European oil spill," said seabird expert Dr. Michael Fry. As many as half a million birds died, including bald eagles, harlequin ducks, marbled murrelets and loons. Critical spawning and rearing habitats, including over 100 salmon streams, were besieged in oil. In 1993, there was an unprecedented crash of the sound's Pacific herring population. The spill also caused a noticeable decline in pink and churn salmon, cutthroat trout and rockfish. Three national parks, three national wildlife refuges, one national forest and designated wilderness areas were oiled. To the naked eye, Prince William Sound may appear "normal." But if you look just beneath the surface, oil continues to contaminate beaches, national parks, and designated wilderness. In fact, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated that beach cleanup and oil skimming only recovered 3-4% of the Exxon Valdez spill. ...read more.


Despite its "environmentally friendly" image, geothermal power contributes to ecological degradation on site as well as globally. When a large volume of fluid is removed from an underground reservoir and is not replaced, the weight of the overburden may be reflected in the subsidence of the land surface above it. Carbon Dioxide and Hydrogen Sulphide are the most prevalent emissions from geothermal wells. Of the non-condensable gases, carbon dioxide always forms by far the largest component - from 63% to 97% by weight - with hydrogen sulphide usually as the next largest ingredient - from 1% to 21%. Other environmentally harmful elements, like mercury, boron, ammonia, arsenic compounds, and radioactive elements, comprise a small but significant part of the geothermal emissions. The noise associated with geothermal mining and running machinery can also be a nuisance, and the dumping of waste water brine into seas and waterways can be attributed with changing the ecology of aquatic life. As well as being of important cultural value, these wilderness areas are also of significant ecological value, and must be conserved. We must recognize that biological diversity is by no means evenly distributed over the surface of our planet, and that much of it is concentrated in a relatively few biologically rich regions that are often under severe threat. Clear priorities for conservation action in these regions must therefore be set. To be successful, strong partnerships must be established within the conservation community, the indigenous communities and the private sector. ...read more.

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