Global resource consumption and security

Global trends in consumption

How global development processes affect resource availability and consumption

Global and regional/continental progress towards poverty reduction, including the growth of the “new global middle class”

Measuring trends in resource consumption, including individual, national and global ecological footprints

An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of:

  • water, including embedded water in food and manufactured goods
  • land/food, including changing diets in middle-income countries
  • energy, including the relative and changing importance of hydrocarbons, nuclear power, renewables, new sources of modern energy

Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities:

How different patterns and trends are interrelated and involve spatial interactions between different places

Impacts of changing trends in resource consumption

How pressure on resources affects the future security of places

The water–food–energy “nexus” and how its complex interactions affect:

  • national water security, including access to safe water
  • national food security, including food availability
  • national energy security, including energy pathways and geopolitical issues
  • The implications of global climate change for the water–food–energy nexus

Detailed examples of two countries with contrasting levels of resource security

The disposal and recycling of consumer items, including international flows of waste

Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities:

How perspectives on, and priorities for, national resource security vary between places and at different scales

Resource stewardship

Possibilities for managing resources sustainably and power over the decision-making process

Divergent thinking about population and resource consumption trends:

  • pessimistic views, including neo-Malthusian views
  • optimistic views, including Boserup
  • balanced views, including resource stewardship

Resource stewardship strategies, including:

  • the value of the circular economy as a systems approach for effective cycling of materials and energy
  • the role of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and progress made toward meeting them

Synthesis, evaluation and skills opportunities:

Different perspectives on global resource use and the likely effectiveness of management actions at varying scales