environment

environment

Continuing with the theme of the environment, the last real chapter of the text discusses conflict and cooperation over natural resources. Figure 15.1 gives a tidy

summary of the main concepts, connecting the dichotomy of renewable v. nonrenewable resources with whether they are controlled within a boundary or meander beyond

national borders. Nations often war over a transboundary resource, like water and fish, but even oil (underground) can be fought over when one nation sucks up more

than its fair share. Air is another transboundary resource, especially when pollution from Beijing or nuclear isotopes from Japan (think Fukushima) drift our way.

More difficult can be resources that are bound within a nation but are considered poorly managed or taken in unethical ways, like the minerals in the Congo. We are not

free from guilt here. Our TVs and phones and electric cars and etc. are heavily dependent on cheap and easy access to these minerals. Our laptops, our coffee, our

bananas, all come with baggage that many of us may not want to know more about.

So, should we be telling Brazil what to do with their forests? Tell Congo militias what to do with their underage miners? If so, should they have the right to tell us

what to do with our redwoods or with our water aquifers or with our nuclear waste? Where does the finger pointing stop? Find a resource and take a stand.

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