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Natural Resource Use: Related Economic, Political, Environmental and Social Issues

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Natural Resource Use: Related Economic, Political, Environmental and Social Issues There is a range of issues related to use of natural resources. These issues include political, environmental, social and economic. Issues that arise from the use of natural resources can have negative or positive consequences depending on the methods of production and/or consumption. Political Issues: Whilst not always the most obvious issue related to the production and/ or consumption of natural resources, political consequences can be large when issues of responsibility or ownership or differing views held by political parties or groups are risen. As seen in the Kyoto Protocol, which was created to encourage countries to reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions. The world has witnessed much debate over the ownership and responsibility of these emissions. Greenhouse emissions are created as a result of the burning or combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil used in the production of electrical energy. In March 2001, President George Bush of the United States of America (contributor of one quarter of the world's greenhouse gases) declared that he was "opposed to the Kyoto Protocol" because "it exempts 80 per cent of the world, including major population centres such as China and India, from compliance, and would cause serious harm to the US economy." However the "population centres" that are referred to contribute insignificantly to total greenhouse emissions. ...read more.


Conversely the Mirrar people of the Kakadu region in the Northern Territory of Australia have managed to surmount uranium mining at the Jabiluka site. They believe the mine is a direct threat to their cultural beliefs. Energy Resources Australia LTD (ERA) sees the uranium deposit at Jabiluka as an opportunity to increase production of uranium and take advantage of world demand. The company has estimated the mine will be worth $6.2 billion to the Australian economy. Yvonne Margarula, Mirrar Senior Traditional owner has headed protests into mining at Jabiluka and has recently defeated ERA and the Australia government by stoping mining at the site. As of April 2003 a "peaceful blockade" of the mine has been placed with backfilling of the Jabiluka decline commencing in August that year. Environmental Issues: The most obvious issue that arrises from the use of natural resources is the environmental one. Clearly any resource extraction and/or use will in some way effect the environment, generally in a negative way. As demonstrated in the case of the illegal logging of equatorial rainforests in Indonesian Borneo, the island, once known as the lungs of Asia, has been brought to the brink of an ecological disaster. Not only has 95 percent of the forest legally set aside for logging been cleared but also nearly 60 percent of protected national parkland has been illegally logged as of September 2004. ...read more.


South Korea centred its efforts on the growth of its nuclear program and as a result rebounded remarkably quickly from the recession. Although there has been much pressure for South Korea to become more environmentally friendly, South Korea has future plans to emphasize the development of more nuclear power with the addition of a dozen more nuclear plants by 2015. With these trends proposed to continue through the next decade it is clear that South Korea has become economically dependant upon nuclear power. While South Korea plans to further develop its nuclear program, some European countries such as Italy and Sweden have chosen to decrease their uses of nuclear power for environmental reasons. In 1997, 46% of Sweden's power was provided by nuclear energy, down from 52% the previous year. While Italy has ceased producing nuclear power in 1987 with the decision costing them over US$6.8 billion in cost for the decommissioning of old reactors. Conclusion: The production and/or consumption of natural resources can have varies effects. In some instances they can be beneficial to the local inhabitants or a countries population while in others the environments or indigenous community can suffer greatly. As demonstrated there are issues across the globe that have been raised as a result of the use of natural resources; political, economic, environmental and social. Thus any decision related to the use of a natural resource should be made equally and fairly based on these issues. ...read more.

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