Resources, Uses, Population growth

A resource is something which is needed and used by humans.

Resource Use & Population Growth

World population has increased and this has led to a great pressure on resources.

It took almost 100 years for world population to double from 1 to 2 billion, but then it took less than 50 years for it to double again from 2 to 4 billion.

The world population has now increased to 6.5 billion.

Reasons for Increased resource use

  • As the world’s population has grown there has been a great increase in resource use.
  • For a long time humans survived by gathering and hunting in the local area, now most countries have nearly fully exploited their natural resources.
  • As technology has advanced, there have been more opportunities for countries to develop new products using raw materials.
  • Everyone wants a better standard of living, but this means using more energy.
  • Most MEDC (more economically developed countries) homes are full of electrical goods which use energy.
  • Once people in LEDC’s (less economically developed countries) become richer they act in the same way.

Relationship between energy use and economic development

As economies develop, there is an increased demand for energy. There is a positive correlation between economic development and energy use, as one increases, so does the other.

If economic development increases (e.g. China), then there will be:

  • More disposable wealth to spend on energy consuming products
  • Increased demand from industries; especially heavy industry
  • Improved transport – increased demand for diesel, petrol, etc
  • Increased demand from agriculture – mechanisation, chemicals, etc

If energy production or use increases (e.g. Russia), then there will be:

  • Increased foreign exchange earnings and foreign investment
  • More employment – in/direct
  • Improved transports, etc
  • Higher tax earnings to be invested in development schemes, etc
  • Growth of industries supplying the energy industry e.g. construction

Social, economic and environmental issues associated with the increasing demand for energy

The exploitation of energy resources brings both, opportunities and problems for people and the environment

Why is the energy demand increasing?

  • Increased standards of living, e.g. electrical appliances and cars
  • Increased population
  • Changing lifestyles, e.g. use of computers
  • Increased mobility, e.g. phones
  • Changing technology, e.g. automated manufacturing

Issues from the increased demand for energy





  • Cost of building new power stations
  • Shortage of skilled workers
  • Rising cost of energy
  • Regional inequality based on energy resources
  • Energy is needed to develop
  • Health problems from living near power stations and pylons
  • Energy poverty – old and poor at risk
  • Fossil fuel combustion is a major source of global warming
  • Pollution from oil leaks
  • Firewood demand can cause deforestation
  • Visual pollution
  • River problems (silting & flooding from dams)
  • Energy  ‘wars’ (e.g. China and USA)
  • Energy colonialisation


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