Articles on Natural resources

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Pictured is a slag pile at Broken Hill in New South Wales. Slag is a man-made waste product created during smelting. Anita Parbhakar-Fox

Our ability to manufacture minerals could transform the gem market, medical industries and even help suck carbon from the air

Manufacturing minerals is an expanding field of study. Making more of them could help alleviate various pressures faced by our growing population. But how are they made, and where can they be used?
Government negligence, rampant development and illegal land clearing spark wildfires in Indonesia that annually ravage thousands of acres of forest. AP Photo

Resource depletion is a serious problem, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell us much about it

July 29, 2019 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates may actually understate the problem.
A worker marks timber logs at a concession area in Sarawak, Malaysia. Rainforest logging in Asia feeds much of the world’s thirst for timber. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

How to keep conservation policies from backfiring in a globally connected world

In a global economy, passing laws to conserve forests, fisheries or other natural resources can simply shift demand for those goods to other countries or regions where they aren't as well protected.
Presidential candidates Joko Widodo (L) and Prabowo Subianto (R) shake hands during a debate among candidates in Jakarta, Indonesia, 17 February 2019. EPA/Adi Weda

Incumbent Jokowi wins against Prabowo in Indonesia’s second presidential debate: experts respond

Prabowo Subianto spoke in normative terms and failed to criticise Joko Widodo's work.
A dilapidated house in the northern Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat is seen in April 2016. The parliamentary budget officer says it will cost more than $3 billion to bring First Nations water infrastructure up to standards seen in comparable non-Indigenous communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

How Canada can, and must, empower Indigenous communities

If we continue to shut Indigenous communities out of the modern economy, critical infrastructure projects will continue to be delayed and natural resources will remain stuck in the ground.
Purse seiner fishing in the Indian Ocean. Footprint estimates do not assess how sustainably resources such as fisheries are managed. Jiri Rezac

Yes, humans are depleting Earth’s resources, but ‘footprint’ estimates don’t tell the full story

August 1, 2018 is 'Earth Overshoot Day,' a date coined by the nonprofit Global Footprint Network to publicize overuse of Earth's resources. But their estimates actually understate the problem.
The Iguazu Falls in Brazil are part of the Guarani Aquifer, one of the world’s major underground reserves of fresh water. The 8th World Water Forum, part of 2018 World Water Day, is being held in Brazil, home to the most fresh water on Earth. (Shutterstock)

Why every day should be World Water Day

Water is one of our most precious resources, yet it's in danger. World Water Day reminds us of the need to develop policies and governance to avoid squandering water.
Images created by NASA with satellite data helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture analyze outbreak patterns for southern pine beetles in Alabama, in spring 2016. NASA

Can scientists learn to make ‘nature forecasts’ just as we forecast the weather?

Big data open-access publishing and other advances offer ecologists the ability to forecast events like pest outbreaks over days and seasons rather than decades. But scholars need to seize this opportunity.
Since 1800, the world’s population has multiplied seven and a half times. Shutterstock

Is the Earth over-populated?

The world’s population has reached 7.5 billion and is expected to climb to nearly 10 billion by 2050. Why will population growth inevitably continue? Should we try to reduce or stop this growth?
Sand for use in hydraulic fracturing operations at a processing plant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 2011. AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

The world is facing a global sand crisis

Overuse of sand for construction and industry is harming the environment and fueling violence around the world. Scientists explain why we need international rules to regulate sand mining and use.

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