Natural resource depletion embodies the utilization of a resource faster than it can be replenished. Maintaining a balance in the consumption of a resource is vital in enhancing a uniform ecosystem. In a way, it minimizes the extinction of certain plants and animals, which are essential in bolstering a sustainable environment. Poor agricultural practices such as massive deforestation are the primary causes of resource depletion. Easter Island's End by Jared Diamond, published in the Discover Magazine on August 1995, provides insight into how an increased population and rapid deforestation impair the sustainability of the environment.
Initially, the first Polynesian colonists landed on an isolated island that apparently had all the required resources to enhance the standards of living. As a result, they lived comfortably and procreated to fill the island. Moreover, they erected stone statues and carvings that were similar to the native inhabitants of the island. With time, the political system of the Polynesians grew complicated as it developed ways to redistribute locally available resources. A rapid increase in Easter's population resulted in increased deforestation. Certainly, people were cutting down trees to create more space for agricultural practices. In the process, life became unbearable since some plants and animals became extinct. People were unable to feed themselves or drink water as springs and streams dried up. Similarly, timber used to construct canoes became scarce and interfered with the economic activities of the population such as fishing. In essence, the once vibrant island had degenerated into an unsustainable ecosystem with limited resources to support the burgeoning population.
From a personal perspective, embracing efficient agricultural techniques should curb the extinction of vital natural resources such as water and timber as evident in Easter Island. Incorporating farming technologies will increase output from a small space, which will minimize the urge to cut down trees. Moreover, I believe formulating effective policies that govern the distribution of local resources can help avoid the replication of the situation at Easter Island. Such policies should foster equal consumption of natural resources, which reduces the depletion of another. Finally, I believe afforestation is the best strategy for ensuring a sustainable environment. Ideally, a tree cut should be replaced by another to provide a balanced ecosystem.
Example of Modern Day Resource Like Timber
Just like Timber, coal is also a crucial natural resource that satisfies human needs. This resource is cheap and efficient, which has contributed to its increased industrial application. According to geologists, the Earth has plenty of coal that can be sustainable for two centuries. However, the increased consumption by highly industrialized countries such as Japan and China are likely to cause the depletion of this natural resource. For this reason, a regulation of its usage is recommended to bolster its sustainability.
How Depletion of Modern Day Resource Influence Other Resources
Firstly, the depletion of a particular resource such as coal is likely to cause the overconsumption of another resource such as timber. In such a case, people will embrace alternative resource to satisfy their needs. Overconsumption is harmful and affects the balance of an ecosystem. Secondly, depleting a particular resource can make another to be unsafe for use. For instance, forests are essential for purifying the air. Their depletion could lead to harmful chemicals in air and water. Finally, some modern day resources such as forests and water occur in mutual existence. Hence, the depletion of one leads to the extinction of another.
On the whole, the situation at Easter Island is an example of a society that consumes its natural resources quickly that it can replenish them. In most cases, this scenario translates to the extinction of fundamental plants and animals, which are important in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Therefore, formulating effective policies to ensure a uniform distribution of locally available resources and embracing technology in agriculture are core strategies in improving environmental sustainability.
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