BY PETER MAKWANYA
Each country is endowed with natural resources and how a country manages its God-given treasures determines how it handles issues of poverty and prosperity. This contributes to ecological capacity or ecological deficit including how countries manage their carbon emissions leading to global warming.
The world’s main worry at the moment is the unsustainable harvesting of natural resources as if there is no future. Indiscipline in the extractive sector has not only led to the depletion of natural resources including the shrinking of forests but also the exacerbation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which accelerates climate change impacts.
It is estimated that nearly three quarters of the world’s population live in developing countries, where natural resources are in abundance but sadly they are unable to meet citizen demands for food, clean water, health delivery systems, waste absorption, handling and delivery, including housing and settlement expansions among others.
Theirs is a sad and deplorable scenario where despite being home to the world’s marketable natural resources, these countries are always in the red and in ecological deficit.
One wonders if this is a curse, negligence, ignorance or a case of mortgaging of their God-given resources because of a disregard for future generations or all of the above.
In reference to the “global ecological footprints” where natural resources at the countries’ disposal are not commensurate with the benefits they realise against the background of their assumed ecological capacity.
With human beings around the world continuing to consume resources at unsustainable rates thereby resulting in an ecological overshoot, which in turn contributes to numerous earth’s challenges to meet global demands, the world is in an unsafe and precarious state of affairs.
However, this needs to be regulated, through sane and humane pathways away from the usual lust and drooling by the international conglomerates who sacrifice humanity and sustainability for their self-centredness.
Their behaviours have contributed immensely to gross environmental injustices.
In other words, the natural resources that are supposed to be reserved for future generations are being ravaged without an iota of compassion and shame leaving only history for future generations.
This is biocide in the making through biodiversity loss and climate change, among others. In this view, countries that consume less natural resources than their natural resource base can provide bio-capacity potential while those that consume more than what they possess are said to have bio-capacity deficit and they are caught in an ecological poverty trap which leads to inability to eradicate poverty or improve the quality of the people’s lives and the environment.
Therefore, the relationship between nature’s ability to regenerate and the countries’ purchasing power is largely ignored even in reference to the current micro and macro-economic parameters.
Around the world, the depletion of natural resources continues, including underground water reserves, human settlement spaces, forests, minerals, among others.
Very few countries have bio-capacity for the future, mainly because they are not exploiting their own domestic resources but they are looting natural resources of the poor and developing countries while they sell them hot air or promise them incentives and monetary gains, which may never come.
Available research unearthed that these countries have a bio-capacity representing only 2% of the world’s population.
There are natural resources that the earth’s ecosystems are able to regenerate like forests, grasslands, vegetation and water but if minerals are exploited, it is impossible for countries to regenerate them, hence this leaves them exposed and vulnerable.
Furthermore, countries with bio-capacity have the purchasing power to buy whatever they want or what nature can produce or even the power to destabilise, cause confusion or chaos in poor countries while they loot and grab natural resources.
The uncontrolled carbon emissions which result from these injustices are not their problem.
This facilitates the over-dependence on fossil fuels which exacerbates climate change and biodiversity loss.
Therefore, these are the unforeseen challenges not in the public domain but will still leave the poor and developing countries in the red and lacking capacity to absorb climate change shocks.