Discussion: Shaping a global resource strategy

Oct 20, 2011

The world is facing huge challenges as more and more people struggle to share rapidly dwindling resources. Yet even tapping into raw materials like oil and gold, cotton and cacao involves the exploitation of people – equitable distribution is not a term that figures on any of the agendas of the players concerned. What’s more, exploitation of resources is leading to such ecological instability that people now begin to wonder whether growth-oriented economies are really in keeping with the needs of the times.

Ever higher demand in combination with a dwindling supply base means that new ways for sustainable production have to be found. Can such solutions be more easily realized by democratic societies or is a kind of ecological dictatorship what we need to force through unpopular solutions?

The issue of growing demand is further exacerbated by the shift of climate zones caused by global warming which means that the pattern of available resources is also changing. This shift is marked by weather-related disasters like floods and droughts, rising sea levels and the thawing of permafrost soil. In other words, it’s a global problem that requires a global response. Five experts from China, Hong Kong, El Salvador and Germany discuss the range of possible approaches – yet none of them really pin their hopes on a global master solution.

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