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Lecture

Resource Scarcity .pdf

4 Pages
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2231E
Professor
Jessica Trisko

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Wednesday, 27 March, 2013 Resource Scarcity Why Focus on the Environment? - Many aspects of the environment act as global public goods - in general, the environment is the global commons - Demonstrates the connections between domestic and international politics - Raises transnational issues including North-South power disparities and economic development - Provides multiple examples of the success and failure of international cooperation and agreements Key Environmental Challenges - Land Degradation - Linked to migration and conflict among pastoralists; may be a major impediment to the growth of developing countries - Water Quality and Scarcity - Linked to local and international conflict over access major issue in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; the impact of dam constructions is currently a political concern in many SoutheastAsian countries - Energy resources - relates to North-South trade; has already led to international conflict; E.g Iraq War 1. Challenges: Land Degradation Land Degradation: Aprocess leading to a loss of soil fertility that can be linked to a drop in the concentration of organic matter in the soil, an accumulation of minerals and/or a change in the soil structure by erosion Deforestation as a cause of land degradation - Trees are cut down, and not enough seedling are planted - Clearing of land for housing and agriculture - Crop rotation (utilizing slash-and-burn techniques) - Subsistence farming - Results in loss of habitat and plant and animal diversity - Increased risk of soil erosion, landslides, etc. Facts - Some 70% of the 5.3 billion hectares of drylands used for agriculture around the world are already degraded - Hyper-arid regions: Rainfall is less than 100mm/year. Drought periods can last longer than a year. The sole viable activity nomadic pastoralism. - Arid regions: Rainfall does not exceed 200mm/year. Characterized by farming (sedentary or nomadic) and irrigated agriculture. 2. Challenges: Water Quality and Consumption - “Over 780 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.” UNICEF 2012 Water Consumption in Developing World - In the developing world, women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water for household consumption - at great risk to their safety and cost to their local economies - In 2000, about 57% of the world’s freshwater withdrawal, and 70% of its consumption, took place isAsia, where the world’s major irrigated lands are located (UNESCO,1999). - The use of water for irrigation may reduce the availability of drinkable ground water and can lead to soil salinization. (Water and land connected) Water Consumption in Developed World - Canada has significant amount of fresh water, but possesses only 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater supply - Afive minute shower in NorthAmerica uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses in an entire day Responses: Water - The UN has held conferences on water since 1977 and declared March 22nd “World Water Day” - The 1980s were declared the “International Drinking Water and Sanitation Decade and 2013 is the “International Year of Water Cooperation” - Numerous NGOs have supported and worked with international organizations in promoting water issues - Focus on harnessing groundwater sources through wells while developing treatment and de- salinization technology to increase drinkable water Challenges: Food Scarcity - More than 1 billion people suffer worldwide from malnutrition - The vast majority of hungry people (850 million) live in developing countries, where almost 15% of the population is undernourished - Hunger is the world’s #1 health risk, killing more thanAIDs, malaria, and TB combined
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