Thursday, July 23, 2009

Natural Resources by Shelley Park

Care for our Resources
Environmental Studies
PHS 100 – Cohort AAOD 2-01
July 16, 2009
In an ideal world, there would be a perfect balance between ambition, consumption, and environmental resources. The truth is that we have tendency toward blind ambition and lack of respect for the natural resources that surround us. We are only now beginning to understand the consequences of our aspirations. We have taken for granted our sources of energy, food, water, and materials. These natural resources are what sustain us and we need to care for them.With personal, communal, and global responsibility we can take action to identify and conserve resources. Our awareness is now heightened. We are given a plethora of information based on scientific studies and anecdotal observations. There is a need to assess the status of our natural resources. Data is constantly being gathered, monitoring and measuring the changes in the environment. But information is only useful if acted upon. Based on current consumption, we can make predictions of sustainability at these levels but future decisions should be made with the consideration for the external costs of lifestyle choices and economic transactions.Each person needs to consider a transformation in thinking, behavior, and values. Worldwide, constant consumerism is hyped. Pursuit of the newest, best, and innovative is the norm. Thrift and economy are now being practiced, especially as economic downturn has made it essential. If we would care for what we have, and practice thrift and contentment, we would waste less and produce less pollution. It is up to the individual to make choices based on personal values, weighing the effect on natural resources.For greater impact, public policy can provide leadership and incentives. Governing bodies have to make preservation of natural resources a paramount concern when addressing the ongoing needs of society. Seeking out balance between economy and ecology is becoming the trend. There was a recent meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) Environment Ministers. The G8 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as representatives from 13 other countries. Begun in 1975, the Group of eight was originally a group of 6 nations of the northern hemisphere which focused on economic and political issues. It now discusses health, law enforcement, labor, energy, terrorism, trade, foreign affairs, and environmental interests. The current move is a global mitigation effort – recovering and cleaning up the affects of careless development (Chair's Summary: Siracusa Environment Ministerial Meeting, April 22-23, 2009). The resulting dialog increased confidence and mutual understanding in designing strategies and implementing measures for sustainability and mitigation.Efforts such as those made by the G8 bring governments together to seek out globally advantageous solutions to protect natural resources and mitigate environmental disasters. The intentions are there but there needs to be a continual quest for answers to today’s environmental dilemmas. Without these efforts, even the best of intentions get bogged down in diplomacy, bureaucracy, and judicial wrangling. This is the case of the Bajagua Project, mentioned in our textbook. The technical, financial and regulatory controversies have halted progress in dealing with cross-border pollution problems, allowing ongoing degradation of pacific beaches and ocean water (Davis, 2008). The only agreement is that something needs to be done.Governments can provide a framework that is specific, measureable, timely, and science based. By regulating resources and reducing pollution through policies of command-and control, taxes, and incentives public attitudes and values may be further shaped. Care for our natural resources today sets an example for generations to come.

References: Chair's Summary: Siracusa Environment Ministerial Meeting. (April 22-23, 2009). G8 Information Centre. Siracusa: University of Toronto. Retrieved 7/15/2009 from, R. (2008, April 24). Project's plusses should be clear to GAO. Union-Tribune . Retrieved 7/15/2009 from

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