We make the things that we want and need to run our lives from a wide range of resources that we take from Earth and its environments. We use those resources to provide ourselves with all of the material requirements of our lives, including our food, our shelter, and our transportation. Those resources underpin every aspect of our lives – they are the material basis of our lives and are a big part of what gives our lives security, amenity, meaning, and fulfilment.
The processes of converting those resources into the material things that support our lives collectively form the economy. The global economy is so huge and powerful that those of us that are part of the modern western world command a huge amount of resources. Those of us in the developing nations have a fast-growing use of resources. Those in undeveloped nations have the right to expect the same access to resources as everyone else. These circumstances all mean that, globally, our use of resources is already high, and is growing.
Not only is that rate at which we use resources high and growing, but our global population is growing too. Our population growth and the increasing resource consumption of that population combine to produce a fast growing global economy, which means an extra fast-growing use of resources.
Many of the resources which we are so dependent upon are finite, and cannot be replaced once used. Many of the other resources that we are dependent upon could be renewable, but when we use them too quickly they can't to renew themselves. This means that our use of the resources which underpin our lives cannot be sustained at the rate at which we are using them, and they may soon become depleted and be unavailable to us.
Global population growth, our high and increasing individual resource consumption, and the resulting economic growth, are all causes of resource depletion.
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