1) Diamond collapse
It is important to note that there are many parallels that can be evidenced between the collapse in the Easter islands and our modern society. The Easter islands collapse was largely informed by the inability of the society to master its environmental issues. Other societies whose collapse was as a result of the inherent inability of individuals to take into consideration the impacts of their actions on the environment were the he western roman empire, Norse Greenland, Cahokia, great Zimbabwe, Angkor Wat as well as the Mycenaean Greece etc. All the collapses mentioned above have causes that are similar to the scenarios playing out in the modern world.
Over time, experts have been seeking to answer the all important question on why environments collapse. However, over time, there has been some archeological evidence to the effect that most societal collapses are as a result of ecological suicides that are largely self-inflicted. Today, some of the environmental concerns that inform much debate have a direct link to human activity, just as the collapse of the Easter islands had. That is, the environmental challenges we face today are largely informed by human impacts including but not in any way limited to the release of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, burning fossil fuel etc. It is important to note that though the past societies i.e. the Easter islands did not have the same number of people that the modern society has today, their environmental problems were very much similar to what we have in the modern day and age.
Similarly, though the technology people utilized then was much harmful, their eventual collapse was informed by environmental issues similar to those evidenced in the modern day societies. In conclusion therefore, in both scenarios, i.e. the collapse in the eastern islands and our modern societies, human impact has contributed by a great extent.
2) Limits of fossil fuels
By definition, peak oil is the period which shall be marked by steady decline in the rate of oil production when the petroleum extraction (global) maximum rate is attained. This is a concept that is largely founded on the oil wells (individual) production rates observed or monitored over time. However, as Deffeyes (2008) notes, peak oil is not the same as oil depletion. While peak oil represents the maximum production point depletion is taken to be that point in time marked by decreasing reserves as well as supply. The concept of peak oil is largely attributed to M. King Hubbert who came up with the popular Hubbert Curve. It is important to note that over time, quite a number of individuals have tried to predict the time at which the world shall hit maximum oil production. This includes Toledo Universitys Craig Bond Hatfield as well as Coraldo Universitys John D. Edwards.
In a 1991 estimate based analysis, Craig Bond Hatfield concludes that the maximum oil production shall be attained sometime in the next 15 years. However, one of the most optimistic oil remaining estimates has been published by John D. Edwards in whose opinion the oil remaining stands at approximately 2,036 Gbo. It can be noted that the peak oil demand side limits itself to the oil consumed over time. According to Deffeyes (2008), the annual demand of crude oil from 1994 all the way to 1996 stood at 1.76%. However, by 2030, the demand for oil globally is predicted to be at an all time high of 37% which is essentially a daily demand of 118 million barrels. This demand shall mainly be driven by a high demand in the transport sector.
In my opinion, there needs to be concerted efforts by all players in the industry to ensure that there are alternative sources of energy before the looming societal problem becomes a reality. Hence efforts shold be directed towards reducing reliance on oil as a source of energy and instead embracing other energy sources including but not in any way limited to solar energy and geothermal energy.
3) Non-renewable minerals
a) The effects of gold mining to the environment are many and varied. However, with the concerted effort of all the stakeholders, the need to mine gold can be decreased. To begin with, it is important to note that the mine waste generated from the production of a single ring of gold stands at close to 20 tons. This is the same waste released into the air and water bodies. Hence to reduce this, it could be appropriate to come up with policies that govern mining and waste handling. Next, the over-reliance on gold should be reduced by finding other alternatives and lastly people should be sensitized on the adverse effects of gold mining.
b) When it comes to nanotechnology, it could benefit me by enhancing the efficiency of my day to day activities. This is essentially because nanotechnology could end up revolutionalizing electronics and hence development of nano-diodesm, nano-transistors and a wide range of other items. Further, I shall be able to live in a cleaner and toxic free environment as nanotechnology shall go a long way towards the development of products that are more energy absorbing as well as energy consuming. This could be the starting point to reduce the over-reliance on fossil fuels. Lastly I could benefit by accessing better medical care as a result of the development of smart drugs. However on the downside, I could be harmed by loosing my job as a result of the adoption of nanotechnology as well as investments in the energy sector. Though I ma not loose much as far as investments are concerned, I could end up getting less returns in my share of investments in the energy sector. Further, my security shall be threatened as a result of ease of development of atomic weapons, thanks to nano-technology.
c) As the leader of the world, to at the list of my priorities is the decrease in gold mining, the full adoption of nano technology and lastly the reduction of over-reliance on fossil fuels. This in my opinion shall go a long way towards making the world a better place where adverse effects on the environment are averted by the adoption of working measures to limit degradation.
Deffeyes, K.S. (2008). Hubbert’s peak: the impending world oil shortage. Princeton
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