It is no longer a secret that the results of many years of extraction, production and utilising natural resources, mostly at overwhelming rates, have finally caught up with humanity.
Neither is it a secret that most developed nations have since a long time ago taken full advantage of the natural resources, mostly minerals, discovered in Third World countries.
The Industrial Revolution accelerated the process of the extraction of natural resources and from that time until now, Third World countries have been the main suppliers of these goods to the industrialised countries by means of what some have called “ecologically unequal exchange”.
This is because the price of the resources have not exactly been known to take into account the social or environmental damages that are caused on both a local and global level by the processes of extraction.
The extractive industry has undoubtedly done its fair share of destruction in many developing countries.
Besides stripping the indigenous people of their wealth and in the process degrading the land, the mining ventures have polluted many people’s drinking water sources.
Maybe the most unfortunate part is that water pollution from mining activities has mostly affected the poor without access to treated water, as is the case in most developing countries like Zimbabwe.
What many have found rather ironic however is how it is mostly those countries that are “blessed” with an abundance of mineral wealth that have many of their nationals being impoverished. They only have the ill-health from drinking the polluted water and the degraded land to show for it, while those in the industrialised countries continue to enjoy the highest standards of living.
According to reports from the United Nations, 20% of the rich population of the world, mostly in the developed world, consumes 80% of the world’s natural resources, the bulk of which are acquired from developing countries.
The extractive sector is however far from being the only culprit.
It is actually the environmental implications of the damage the industrial sector has inflicted that has had the whole world in panic mode.
The greenhouse gases that have so far been emitted into the atmosphere are reported to have raised the atmospheric temperatures to very worrying levels.
This would help explain the endless conferences on climate change and the agitated call for companies worldwide to instantly cut on the amount of emissions.
It might be necessary to also take cognisance of the fact that global warming is expected to affect developing nations more as these have considerably less capacity to adapt to the changes.
Most people are now questioning why developing nations should be put under so much pressure to cut on emissions to fight global warming when quite clearly; they did not have much of a part to play in creating this whole mess in the first place.
Some have argued on whether it would not be fair for the developed nations to admit guilt and take the necessary steps to keep the problem under control and afford the developing nations a chance to also make headway in as far as development is concerned.
But as things are, no one seems prepared to take the blame for the present global environmental woes.
One thing is for certain however, they definitely need to be addressed, and sooner rather than later.