The Quest for New Natural Resources

What will our landscapes look like if we continue to focus on finding new natural resources as opposed to minimizing our consumption?

Apparently, energy resources are a big deal. The industry is frantically searching to find natural resources and use them more efficiently. Unfortunately, the “find” part is being prioritized too heavily. Recently, Michele Bachmann claimed that as president she would return gas prices to $2 per gallon. She believes the U.S. has hoards of untapped natural resources, so much so that we can stop “begging” others for theirs.

Strip coal mining (outfitnm.com)

The New York Times recently published an article, presenting new estimates of natural gases in the Marcellus Shale formation that runs from New York down to Virginia. Unfortunately, it’s slightly lower than their previous estimate from earlier this year, 410 trillion down to 84 trillion. Texas also has discrepancies in estimated accuracies of natural resources.

Oil drilling rigs are being developed right up to the edge of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Corbis)

Even if we discover new, easily-accessible resources, we will devastate the landscape if we don’t change the infrastructure of how we consume them.  According to Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, secretary general of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, “In the next 40 years we need to build the same urban capacity that we built in the last 4,000 years, or people will live in slums.” No matter which resources we rely on, if we do so in such a large capacity we are still destroying the environment as a dynamic system.

Renewable resources are seen as the savior to the crisis of limited fossil fuel resources, while the true problem of mass consumption is pushed aside. Political attention should be refocused on discovering ways to lessen our environmental impact by limiting our consumption and then maybe wind farms and solar farms will be a more reputable and reliable alternative.

Canadian Wind Farm (outfitnm.com)

Sources:

Geologists Sharply Cut Estimate of Shale Gas

Bachmann Blames ‘Radical Environmentalists’ For Energy Problems

Can China House Its Booming Urban Class in an Environmentally Responsible Way?

Image Sources: Renewable Vs. Coal & Corbis Images

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2 comments

  1. First off, I don’t take ANYTHING Bachmann as serious or viable. Even so, oil sales involve the global market, the prices are set by demand from around the world, even if we drilled of the coast of Texas, (risking another BP oil disaster) where there are massive stores of oil, the resulting refined oil isn’t guaranteed to go to the the american pump or even lower the price.

    I have heard several reports of fracting, extraction of natural gas which was previously too difficult and expensive to retrieve, causing innumerable amounts of damage to water tables subsequently poisoning peoples wells. I idea of people being able to light the water that comes from their faucets ON FIRE is plainly outrageous.

    I think the solution involves the combination of a paradigm change in the way we live in cities (curbing suburban sprawl, how we grow our food, transportation,et cetera) coupled the type and amount of energy we consume on a daily basis.

  2. I agree with the last point you make about the paradigm shift (that was also a main point of my article). But, I think it’s important to show that the public conversation about natural resources isn’t stressing this shift, and unfortunately there are people who believe ANYTHING that some people say, including Bachmann.

    It’s important to emphasize that to obtain the results that we want (and that are being heavily advertised) we have to do more, we have to change the whole infrastructure. This change is not going to happen overnight, obviously, but to make it happen it has to be a part of the conversation and we have to stress education, so people understand the situation holistically and won’t believe just anything.

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