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That the world can not be sustailned

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2012 Category: News
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 734 times Debate No: 24161
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
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We will run out of the worlds resources


I fundamentally believe that although humanity appears to have an exponential growth rate of demand for anything and everything that this trend is curving off. We see that consumption of non-renewables appears to rise year on year yet we see that many nations now are investing in alternative sources of energy. The high demand for these resources and their increased consumption is only there because of their economical attractiveness, these resources loose this advantage when their supply runs low, then alternatives come into play. For example the amount of coal and gas used in power generation will never fully diminish because it will hit a certain point that the unitary cost is higher than of renewable alternatives.

We may see this in daily essentials like food for example. Meat requires a larger amount of calories to produce than it gives out when eaten, when demand rises way above the supply capacity to give out calories the price of meat will rise above the point that it is more attractive than say wheat or other foodstuffs that are less attractive to meat consumers. The essential economics of it will force humanity to disregard tastes and look to more utilitarian means.

If we move on to a more extreme case where even at peak production of all essential goods and services we cannot sustain the basic demands of humans then what do we do? Well we can look to Malthus to tell us that if we reach this point human natural checks and balances will reduce the population so that demand for the natural capacity of supply is at a level where it is sustainable.

We can increasingly see that we are getting closer to 'post-scarcity' where we have enough supply to have everything for free, no human input would be needed in the production line after the initial building. We see this in a few sectors at the moment such as media, with music games and books being able to be infinitely re-produced for free.

If we look at a resource that is already becoming scarce in many parts of the world that is essential to survival, water, we can see that humanity is already coming up with checks and balances. So called 'water wars' already tell of humans killing each other off without nature having to intervene. Furthermore it appears impossible to actually 'run out' of natural resources that we depend on for survival, the original point given was very very broad on what resources, the 'worlds resources' will never run out if we talk of natural resources like soil space and water as the demand relies on the supply.

If we ascribe an arbitrary value to demand for water (1000) and an arbitrary value to supply (900) we can postulate what will happen. Demand exceeds supply by 100 units, the market will compete and drive up the price of water so it becomes economically unattractive for some (they cannot afford it). Obviously this is not going to happen, people need water. People will fight over it eventually and kill each other off, this reduces demand to say 950, after this effect lack of water may kill off those who cannot get to any of the supply until the demand falls to a level where the supply is sustainable say 500. If demand sits at 450 the system is sustainable, drinkable water is in great quantity compared to demand and even if some is contaminated there is still plenty. We also know if water supply runs low humans will use their greatest adaptation to survive, their brains. Humans have come up with scientific solutions for many problems and we now live in the developed world to three times the age we would naturally.

Overall I state that resources will become economically unattractive and alternatives will be used, humans will go past their tastes and become utilitarian before dying out, checks and balances will effect the demand before the supply and finally humans will innovate.

(I haven't really done a debate before so I hope this was okay :) )
Debate Round No. 1


We need sustainable sources of energy for the future because we are using up our natural resources i.e. oil faster than the planet can replenish them. That means we will eventually run out of oil. It does not mean that no more oil will ever be created, it just means that it will take a very, very long time to happen and we will be hundreds upon millions of years without it. We need another form of energy--nuclear power is the most viable option right now, but it is dangerous and slightly unstable. Wind, hydroelectric, and solar power will always be renewable but the means by which we harvest them don't allow us to "extract" enough power. We need sustainable sources of energy because without them, we will run out of all other means of energy, and won't be able to use electricity anymore. This means no artificial heat or cooler, efficient travel, modern day medical help, etc.

Sustainable development is necessary because the need for development is as great as ever, but the model of the past cannot be used as a pattern for the future. Millions of people worldwide live below the poverty line, have no access to health care, and have inadequate shelter. With the rapid increase of the global population, the disparity between rich and poor is becoming greater.

Ireland and North Tipperary do not have problems on such a scale, but we cannot afford to stand aside from these issues. Global prosperity must increase and must be more widely shared. Living standards must be improved. Historically, economic activity tended to mean pollution and wasting of resources. Such activity is clearly unsustainable.

We have to find a new way forward: this is the challenge of sustainable development. For the future, we need to simultaneously achieve economic, social and environmental objectives, and consider the longer-term implications of decisions. The choices made will either promote more sustainable practices or lead us further from that outcome.

At a local level, our County needs thriving villages and towns based on strong economies, good access to services, and attractive and safe surroundings. Our countryside needs to be valued as a natural asset and not treated simply as development land, which can be developed at the impulse of its current owner.


I misread the original post so argued on your side on my opener so I apologize, I will try and redeem myself.

Firstly energy or matter cannot be created or destroyed. This entails us to believe that we cannot actually 'generate' more energy or matter, just convert between the two, just like stars do. A star fuses elements together to make heavier elements and then eventually you end up with just the top level elements, the stars don't have enough energy to complete the end stage actions, they run out, it becomes inefficient and they die. Humans don't have the efficiency of stars in energy production by a long shot and it is very hard to exceed this, we still reply on non-renewable fossil fuels for our energy production supplemented by splatterings of wind and solar.

Humanity will not fall down scientifically but politically, our political system itself caters to the selfish interests of the elite and they gain further control over it as time goes on, we see that wealth gravitates upwards into the hands of the elite as society 'advances' and wealth gaps become more stark (as they did after the industrial revolution and after ww2). We can say that we 'must' redistribute out resources and serve the survival of our species and our shared prosperity but the system we use puts those with that decision in the position where it least benefits them.

You state need for 'good access to services' yet offer no solution, you also want to keep it at a county level, one county doesn't produce all of its goods and services in check with its supply at its best efficacy, globalization does this but then it is easier for the elite to manipulate people. Soon the discontent sown either by the global manipulation and utilization of the masses will cause mass discontent (the Arab Spring) or your own suggestion of local production will cause mass inefficiency that can only lead to economic down turn.

A sustainable development could be done but only by sacrificing basic human desires like aspiration for profit, the vast majority will not forsake their own well being for the sake of the rest of the world. The developing world is continually taken advantage of by the majority of the developed one, we can offer as many counters to this as we like but if we inhibit the individuals freedom then discontent will lead to societal collapse.

My point here is that to conserve our resources we need conformity to ensure this, at the moment little is done because those with the power to doesn't have it in their best interests and human nature is intrinsically selfish. If we even tried to as a powerful collective force people into a planned economy to serve this goal it would only lead to mass discontent and societal collapse.
Debate Round No. 2


You can't pick up an article or turn on the news without running across the word "sustainability." So, I got to thinking about what sustainability means on an individual level—not from a purely ecological perspective, but from a humanistic one.

Ecologically, sustainability is about biological systems remaining diverse and productive over time. For human beings, it is about the potential for long-term maintenance of our own well-being. Although I know that without a planet, our own well-being as humans is a moot point, I still think there's value to considering how to promote our sustainability as individuals.

When you think of your own sustainability, you bump into psychologist Abraham Maslow, who gave us the hierarchy of needs. As you may remember, in Maslow's hierarchy, once physiological safety, love and belonging, and esteem are satisfied, then the top of the pyramid is self-actualization. From a human perspective, this is very much like sustainability.

Self-actualization includes growth, self-awareness, and understanding who we are. It's the ability to continue to strive and reach for that which gives us the greatest joy. Let's look at this through a project management lens and see how self-actualization can make a team or organization more sustainable.

Self-actualized people—and by extension the teams and organizations they are a part of—are:

Realistic. These are the people on the team who are confident, self-assured, and have a clear perception of reality.

Accepting. They accept themselves and others and are not seeking to lay blame.

Problem solvers. Because they can accept themselves for who they are,they can focus on problems beyond themselves.

Autonomous. They are self-starters who can get the job done and bounce back from adversity.

In the present. These are the people who know how to appreciate all that is good in life, see the blue sky on a rainy day, and truly live in the moment.

Capable of peak performance. Because they can see the possibilities, they can achieve the highest levels of performance at whatever they pursue.


Dimmerster forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by bravo 4 years ago
why is on one voting
Posted by bravo 4 years ago
someone vote
Posted by bravo 4 years ago
come on whats taking so long
Posted by bravo 4 years ago
you cant stop globe worming
Posted by GORGIAS 4 years ago
Elaborate? Is there a time scale that we're working with?
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