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Mother Nature's Gift

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Aimee D

on 8 July 2013

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Transcript of Mother Nature's Gift

Mother Nature's Gift
Future Focus: Natural Resources
By Aimee Dai
What is the Issue?
Global Overshoot is when the human population uses more natural resources than our Earth can provide.
If we go into Global Overshoot, Earth cannot sustain our lifestyle and our resources will run out.
Global overshoot day is when Earth's natural resources for the year have been consumed and have exceeded the ability to replenish.
In 2012, global overshoot day was on August 22nd. In 1992, this day was on October 21st.
This day has become earlier and earlier every year, meaning humanity is using up Earth's resources faster and faster.
Causes and Consequences
What is it?
What is happening now?
What can we do?
In 2008, humanity exceeded Earth's resources and capabilities by 50%, meaning that we are using 1.5 Earths to support ourselves.
Earth currently needs 1.5 years to absorb the carbon dioxide waste (greenhouse gas) and regenerate the natural resources we are consuming during the year.
Earth was capable of doing this within one year in 1970. Our planet now needs 1.5 years.
To begin with, humanity is destroying the biodiversity, natural habitats and resources that nature provides faster than Earth can regenerate. We are then producing mass amounts of CO2, also too much for Earth to absorb.
Overshoot can be related to falling fishing industries, diminishing forest, depletion of fresh water systems, and the build up of carbon dioxide emissions, which creates problems like global climate change.
Little things like buying energy saving lightbulbs or energy efficient appliances can really help.
If you would like to know specifics, visit http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/
This basically means Earth is wasting away.
Case Study: Palm Oil & Deforestation
Our Future
Palm oil production is a highly debated subject. as it affects dramatically the deforestation rates in rainforests such as those in Indonesia.
Causes of Debate For/Against Palm Oil
+ Oil palms have high oil yields (less trees and land for more oil)
- It is the main reason of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia
- Mass amounts of carbon have been released due to drainage of peat lands and related burning activities
- Palm oil plantations support very low levels of biodiversity unlike that of rainforests
- 90% of orangutan habitat has been cleared for palm oil plantations
- Palm oil plantations only last for 20-5o years and are not a long-term sustainable solution.
+ The plant adapts easily to most climates
+ Sustainable palm oil can be produced so that plantations do not affect forests and their biodiversity, but rather are planted on abandoned agricultural lands
Humans are wasting our natural resources. We are going into a state called Global Overshoot.
What is happening now?
Anti-Palm Oil
Sustainable Palm Oil
Continuous Production of Palm
Campaigning organisations such as Greenpeace are against palm oil. They argue that the mass amounts of valuable and polluting carbon released into the air through draining of carbon-filled peat lands, along with the many forests diminished cause Indonesia to be the third largest carbon-releasing country when it is still considered barely developed.
Organisations Supporting Anti Palm Oil and what they do to prevent it
Greenpeace -
Promotes social awareness of issue, acquires volunteers, organises campaigns
Palm Oil Action -
Provides information and policies for existing palm oil producers and consumers and works with them to minimise impact on environment.
Eliminates incentives that cause palm oil producers to produce palm oil through unsustainable methods and encourage companies to use certified palm oil
Sustainable palm oil is oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Greenpalm is part of the same organisation that allows companies to use sustainable palm oil. Organisations as such ensure palm oil plantations are forest friendly and are financially beneficial for the long run. 14% of all palm oil is RSPO certified.
Companies devoted to Sustainable Palm Oil
Johnson & Johnson
Ecostore (NZ)
Why can't we ban Palm Oil?
Alternatives to Palm Oil include soya oil, coconut oil and other vegetable oils. However, these alternatives are equally unsustainable as palm oil. Soya oil presents the problem of using pesticides and likewise with other vegetable oils. Rapeseed oil and sunflower oil have too low an oil yield to be able to support the growing demand. Animal oils have high cholesterol, precisely the reason why we primarily invested in vegetable oil.

As you can see, if we look at the matter like this, it is easy to recognise how reliant we are on palm oil and that there is no other alternative.
Other organisations that support RSPO and Greenpalm
+ Palm oil is a solution to poverty as it generates $3000 profit per hectare compared to $100 profit for other forms of agriculture.
+ Palm oil can be used as biofuel for power plants or biodiesel.
+ Palm oil is a renewable energy source
Unsustainable Palm Oil
Sustainable Palm Oil
- Within 15 years only 2% of the original rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia will remain
- Due to palm oil alone, the annual rate of deforestation is 340000 hectares
- 130 to 180 tonnes of carbon released from draining peat land per hectare per year
Why use Unsustainable Palm Oil when there is Sustainable Palm Oil?
Companies often choose to clear forest for plantations instead of using wasted agricultural lands that can still support palm plants so they can receive additional profit from the timber they produce.
- Palm oil planted to reduce CO2 emissions in Europe produces 30x more CO2 than emissions in Europe through releases of carbon from drained peat lands.
- If the current rate of deforestation is not stopped, orangutans (living in the forests of Indonesia) are expected to be extinct within the next 20 years.
+ Currently (2011) palm oil production is at 50 million tonnes per year. This will increase to 77 million tonnes by 2050.
+ 5 million tonnes of sustainable palm oil produced annually (10% of global palm oil production)
+ RSPO protects forests with high conservation values or biodiversity and prevents the draining of peat lands
+ According to Forest Monitoring for Action (FORMA) deforestation rates are already declining.
+ There are (estimated) 20 million hectares of abandoned or idle land in Indonesia suitable for palm plantations instead of logging forest and draining peat.
Probable Future
Preferred future
Global warming and CO2 release:
Global warming will continue at a high rate causing crop yields to differ, excessive heat, mass species loss, risen sea levels and flooding.
The worst of this will be felt at 2030 to 2050.
Deforestation and Species Extinction:
Extinction of species will reach its peak at 2060 and begin to subside.
Oil Discoveries and Production:
Hubbert's curve is an approximate of the production of a natural resource over a period of time.
Oil production will continue to decline due to the exhaustion of natural oil deposits.
World Forests remaining
Forests will continue to decline rapidly, contributing to increase of CO2 concentrations and global warming
Earth will stay in the state of Global Overshoot for a long period of time but this will decrease at around 2050.
Global Warming and CO2 Release:
Rapid decline in CO2 emissions in all parts of the world as we realise the damage we are making to the world and repent.
Action for the preferred future must start now, or we face a rise in temperature of up to 7.1C
Deforestation and Species Extinction:
If we repent now, there are many areas of forest available for reforestation, and we could help the forests recover, mostly that of south-east Asia. Deforestation will halt and decline and we will be able to preserve the remaining species on Earth.
If we repent now, Global Overshoot will be able to halt, though for individual resources action might only be seen in 2030 or later. Though we can reduce over-exhaustion of resources, the carrying capacity of Earth and its natural resources will also degrade overtime if we use it in unsustainable ways.
Global overshoot and the wasting of natural resources is inevitable in today's life. The question is whether or not we can put a stop to it in time. Action must be taken now else we face dire consequences.
Natural resources and Global Overshoot is very important in today's society. Resources will run out within our lifetime unless we repent immediately. Some eco-systems and resources have already begun to collapse such as oil, as we have already reached 'peak oi'. The temperature is already on the rise.
Some chain reactions have already begun:
Deforestation -> CO2 release and loss of biodiversity -> Global warming -> temperature change -> ocean acidity levels rise -> loss of biodiversity and marine life.
Global warming -> temperature change -> climate and rainfall change -> raised sea levels -> flooding and melting polar caps -> loss of biodiversity and life
The consequences aren't as far away as you think.
Oil reserves will run out within 40 years.
Rainforests that are not managed will disappear by 2100
Our world relies heavily on the use of oil and natural gases. Transportation requiring oil is crucial to a country's economy and globalisation.
Rainforests are depended on for absorbing CO2 and for timber. Cutting down forests plays a huge part in global warming.
They also house large amounts of biodiversity.
It is likewise with other resources as we are too dependent on them and cannot live without them.
Therefore, global overshoot and natural resources are extremely important to us as it affects directly our lives and economy.
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