Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment

By John P. Holdren; Paul R. Ehrlich et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
Materials

The idea that we are moving into a world of absolutely secure and effortless abundance is nonsense.

-- Kenneth Boulding, 1970

Materials discussed in this chapter include nonfuel mineral resources, forest products, natural and artificial fibers, and some other chemicals; excluded (except for occasional purposes of comparison) are fuels, foods, and drugs.

The world situation with respect to materials has many similarities to the energy situation. The near-term difficulties arise not so much from "running out" in an absolute sense as from the rising environmental costs of mobilizing and using ever larger quantities, from the economic and social dislocations that result from substituting one class of resources for another, and from the political ramifications of the nonuniform geographical distribution of resources and the capacity to exploit them.

In the longer term, the question of scarcity looms larger. It is sometimes asserted that, since our planet is quite literally made of materials, and since, with negligible exceptions, these do not leave the planet but remain here even after use, civilization can never run out of them. Although this assertion is true in a narrow sense, it misses the real issues. For "nonrenewable" resources, such as chromium and mercury, exhaustion occurs in the practical sense when the remaining unexploited material and the dispersed used material are so dilute that concentrating them simply costs too much in dollars, energy, or environmental disruption. "Too much" in this context means that the benefits of having the concentrated material do not match the costs of getting it.1 For "renewable" resources, such as wood or cotton, the question is what levels of population and consumption per person can be supported by the sustainable yield. A

____________________
1
An excellent exposition of this point is given by Earl Cook, Limits to exploitation of nonrenewable resources.

-515-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 1052

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.