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The Exploitation of Natural Resources and Land Grabbing

  • Date Submitted: 01/11/2014 09:14 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.3 
  • Words: 1240
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The global need of land and its resources like water, plants, timber or minerals is continually increasing. This leads governments and private investors to look for cheap resource-rich land close to infrastructure. The land is often taken from farmers who are the traditional users. This phenomenon is called ‘land grabbing’ and contributes to poverty and social conflicts.

Land grabbing happens on all continents, but 60% of it takes place in Africa. Host governments tend to welcome investors hoping to benefit from the sale of land. They offer fertile land with easy access to water and infrastructures. The contracts rarely include conditions protecting the interests of local communities.

Extractive industries are part of this phenomenon. Concessions are smaller but extraction activities cause ecological catastrophes in the surrounding area and accelerate climate change. As a result, the land seized from local users becomes unusable. This is a trend most likely to rise as the world population is expected to grow from seven billion in 2011 to nine billion by 2050. This will result in higher energy needs and greater consumption of metals for construction and manufacturing. Altogether, it will cause a tripling of mining activities by that date.  For example, fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas meet around 80% of our primary energy needs, and this number is very unlikely to decrease by 2030. Consumption of coal will rise by 50% and of natural gas by 43%. The number of nuclear power plants - under construction, planned or proposed - will double the world’s current nuclear capacity. The need for metals will grow 80% by 2015 in India alone[1].

Even a higher dependency on renewable energies will involve mining. Solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars rely upon a lot of different metals in their design and construction. For example, over 11kg of rare earth minerals are necessary to produce hybrid cars, double the amount for a traditional car[2].



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