As world demand grows for many resources, the supplies are becoming more limited or tapped out. There are practical limits on what can be extracted from the earth. Consider these trends:
• A World Wildlife Fund study estimates that 1/3 of the earth’s natural resources were used between 1970 and 1995. Even if this rate does not increase the resources will all be gone no later than 2045.
• Another assessment of oil reserves predicts they will start running out between 2020 and 2030.
• Global water reserves are also precariously limited. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh and much of that is locked up in Icebergs and glaciers. Half of what is readily available is already utilized by humans in some way. Estimates show 100% usage predicted by 2050.
• Natural forest cover is disappearing at a rate of .5% per year, losing forests the size of England every year.
• As global consumption rises and environmental conditions deteriorate, the price of whatever remains will rise precipitously and inevitably lead to greater conflict over critical materials.
Source: RESOURCE WARS: THE NEW LANDSCAPE OF GLOBAL CONFLICT (2001)