Obstacle to Sustainability in the Use of Resources
These obstacles are seen in the following ways;
Inability to replace ecological functions – While it is possible that we can find ways to replace some natural resources, it is much more unlikely that they will ever be able to replace eco-system services, such as the protection provided by the ozone layer, or the climate stabilizing function of the Amazonian forest.
Natural resources multifunction – A further obstacle to sustainability lies also in the multi-functionality of many natural resources. Forests, for example, does not only provide the raw material for paper which can be substituted quite easily, but they also maintain biodiversity, regulate water flow, and absorb Carbon dioxide.
Partialir reversibility of natural resources- Another problem of natural resources deterioration lies in their partial irreversibility. For example, the loss in biodiversity is often definite and consumption of natural capital or resources may have no observable impact until a certain threshold is reached.
A lake can, for example, absorb nutrients for a long time while actually increasing its productivity. However, once a certain level of richness is achieved, there is a lack of oxygen which causes the lake’s ecosystem to break down.
Complementary role of resources– The Ecological Economist Herman Daly had once asked, “what use is a sawmill without a forest?”
From this perspective, the economy is a subsystem of human society, which is itself a subsystem of the biosphere and a gain in one sector is a loss from another.
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In conclusion, environmental/ecological sustainability as defined in this unit as the process of making sure current processes of interaction within the environment are pursued with the idea of keeping the environment as pristine and as natural as possible based on ideal seeking behavior.
In ecology, the words describe how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.
Resources sustainability principles and goals is mainly directed to; reduction and clean-up of pollution, with future goals of zero pollution; cleanly converting non-recyclable materials into energy through direct combustion or after conversion into secondary fuels; reducing societal consumption of non-renewable fuels; development of alternative, green, low-carbon or renewable energy sources; conservation and sustainable use of scarce resources such as water, land, and air; protection of representative or unique or pristine ecosystems; preservation of threatened and endangered species extinction; the establishment of nature and biosphere reserves under various types of protection; and lastly the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems upon which all human and other life on earth depends.
Energy, water, food, materials are needed to be managed in their human consumption level to sustain the use of resources in which ecological footprint is used as element of resources sustainability.
Human behaviour, human population and consumption level together with economic growth are seen here as challenges to sustainability in the use of resources. The final lesson learnt in this unit are the obstacles to sustainability in the use of resources.
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