Continuing population growth, especially in developing countries is raising demand for such basic commodities as food, water, fuels, wood, metals, construction materials, etc. At the same time, new technologies and new discoveries are expanding our views on availability of certain resources, such as oil or natural gas. Opening of new resource bases is often associated with development of new extraction and production practices with negative effects for the environment. Increasing production of electronic equipment and shift towards green energy raise demands for rare metals which are needed in increasing quantities. Therefore, it is becoming critical to consider current and future prospects of consumption and availability of natural resources from environmental perspective.
The course is aiming to look at the current state of use of renewable and non-renewable resources and associated environmental costs such as pollution, soil degradation, vegetation transformations, etc. Some critical issues for the resource use in the future will be discussed, like to what extent re-cycling can decrease demand in some raw materials, especially metals. Different scenarios of future resource use depending on the projected trajectories of economic development in 21 century will also be discussed