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Building the case for resource security in India

India is a resource-hungry economy and is currently ranked third in the world on its consumptions, surpassed only by China and USA. From 1970 to 2010, India’s extraction of primary raw materials has increased by almost 420%. Despite its rich history of minerals, at current consumption patterns, there will soon be a scarcity. Thus, it is now imperative to mitigate and minimise the impact of extraction technologies. Economic development is essential for India’s growth and prosperity, especially to alleviate poverty for a sizeable part of its population. However, it is equally important to ensure that this economic prosperity is not obtained at an irreversible cost, thus making the case for achieving resource security and inclusivity by means of efficiency and sufficiency of resources. Although several initiatives such as conservation of resources, recycling of waste, maritime spatial planning and use of ocean energy (such as wind and tidal) have been undertaken, experts felt they were not sufficient to mitigate the doomsday scenario we are spiralling towards. To this effect, they highlighted the need for a wide systemic approach driven by strict policies.

The world generates and dumps an enormous amount of trash per year, of which barely one percent is recycled or repurposed. This can be partially attributed to wasteful practices that have regrettably only grown over time. Moreover, global migration patterns show that more people are shifting from rural to urban areas (for better opportunities), and by 2030, much more than 50% of the entire population will be urban. At current consumption rates, the resources in the world will not be enough to sustain this growth. Hence, all the waste generated may be an enormous unutilized resource and tapping into it as a potential source of value will be a significant move towards sustainability. Steps need to be taken to generate awareness about waste management among the next generation and best practices should be inculcated at an early age.

The first day of the conference saw academics, experts from green companies, and conservationists discuss issues such as materials security to efficiently ‘Make in India’, and security of energy and natural resources to ensure equitable access for all. They discussed the findings of a book titled ‘Limits to growth’, that was published in 1972 and used computer modelling to predict that the world was heading towards a bleak future in a period of 50 to 100 years. However, by the year 2000, several of the authors’ fears were realised as effects such as climate change, species extinction, and overuse of plastics began to reach worrying proportions. It was even more alarming that a future predicted for about a 100 years later was starting to take shape in a span of merely 30 years.

This conference aimed at providing a platform to debate ways to mitigate such a scenario and correct our course in the hope of a better future. The organisers invited all the participants to not just speak about their outstanding work but to elaborate on how they could mitigate or provide solutions to current challenges. They sought out examples of knowledge gaps and structural changes that prevent policy formulation, or major policy conflicts that impede progress and implementation, so that these could be flagged for necessary action in their report to the Government.

Content by Natasha DLima

About the CLUB OF ROME

The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 as an informal association of independent leading personalities from politics, business and science, men and women who are long-term thinkers interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world.

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