Population size, population density, and living standards are controlled by availability of natural resources: minerals, energy, water and land. Use of these resources is independent. Much attention has been directed to long-term societal limits to consumption patterns imposed by exponential growth, but little attention has been directed to the way the world must proceed in the nearer future for the next 50 years. As the population grows to ten billion or more by 2030, resources that have not previously been considered limited, at least globally, will almost certainly become so. Furthermore, requirements of certain basic resources to supply the needs of rapidly increasing populations in developing countries must be recognized if the world continues to subscribe to the concept of development, albeit to levels as yet undefined. This volume addresses both the background evidence to support these concerns and some of the issues that must be addressed in the years ahead. The papers were written by specialists in many fields - agriculture, hydrology, economics, geology, engineering, and many others - but each is addressed to a broader, more general audience.
Resources and world development is not just an issue for the specialist, it is an issue that affects everyone.