Our society and world runs on resources, especially of the nonrenewable variety. Each and every day throughout the world we have millions of cars running on fossil fuels, coal powering our electric grids, and precious stones such as diamonds being sold for thousands of dollars. While there's no doubt these resources contribute to our global economy, there are also some major externalities by extracting said resources. We can see the harmful effects of natural resource extraction through its' effect on our climate, and the health of people worldwide
Resource extraction affects the health of the citizens of the world in a significant way.
Regardless of where the extraction takes place, contamination of the environment leads to health hazards galore leading to a decrease in human utility. When trees are cut down, fossil fuels are burned, our water polluted, this causes harm to our entire planet over time. Considering that every single human being on Earth lives in an environment, it makes sense to evaluate the harmful effects of anything that might degrade the quality of said environment.
“The quality of our environment affects all of us no matter where we live. The environment is our home. If it is not healthy, we will not be healthy either. When people abuse the environment, this affects us all. If water is polluted, if the air is full of smoke and chemicals, if food contains poisons, people (and plants and animals) get sick” (Steiner 2003). The basic argument made here is that no matter who you are, or where you live, if the area you live in is polluted, your life loses value.
If the area you live is clean from pollution and chemicals, your life, and the lives of those around you becomes better.
As a rational individual, I completely understand why we need to use natural resources at this moment and time. They provide economic activity, jobs, etc, to our world that would be incredibly hard to replace. If we took away oil for driving our cars, the world would go into a complete meltdown. However, we have to continue to invest in renewables and cleaner
alternatives, or else there will not be an Earth to drive our cars anymore. It's unfortunate to me that so many of our congressmen and women don't believe in climate change. They either get paid off my oil lobbying companies to say they don't think climate change is a problem, or they simply don't believe it. It's utterly ridiculous when 98 percent of scientists agree climate change is human caused, and we have such a significant amount of the American people who continue to deny this basic fact.
As someone who is deeply invested and concerned with the future of humanity, I hope we can find a solution to the naysayers. Clearly, if everyone is on board, we can get a lot more accomplished in terms of switching to alternative energy, but that's simply not the case in 2016 or the foreseeable future. I've heard the argument that it's already too late to change our ways, and the climate, and our Earth is doomed unless some miracle technologies get invented within the next one hundred years. I don't think it's a great idea to be praying for technology to get us out of the mess we created in the first place, and we should begin changing our ways now.
In summation, while natural resource extraction certainly contributes to our global economy, there are definite negative impacts associated with the extraction on global climate change. We see these negative impacts on a daily basis through the clear and hard evidence that global climate change is real, and if we don't act as a world to clean up our act, we'll be out of luck.