EnergyScapes: Managing ENERGY TRANSITION Global Environmental Recovery

Communities Benefit from Resource Industry Presence in a Changing Environment

Local communities can be lifted out of poverty by the presence of a resource industry.

Local communities can be lifted out of poverty by the presence of a resource industry. Photo: Beach, Muscat – Oman – Dr Andrew Morgan

New challenges bring risk and stress, stimulating problem solving and leading to the development of new technology; it is a cycle as we end up back at ‘new challenges’.

This cycle drives us forward in our thinking and within a globally connected world the rate of acceleration of the thinking needed is fast. In many respects so fast that we are not able to keep up anymore. The disparity between those that move into this thinking and technological era and those left by the way is growing wider. Both within and between nations this inequality ever widens in a time of global environmental change.

However, we all want the basics in life, which consists of clean air, and food, water, clothing, shelter, health care and education and the opportunity to access all a developed society has to offer. For a large part of these basics we rely on the natural resource industry to provide such opportunities. With this in mind, we are not able to do without:

  • Natures bounty – food, air and water; and
  • Natural resources – energy sources.
Infrastructure development to support resource industry presence.

Infrastructure development to support resource industry presence. Photo: Soha Port, Oman – Dr Andrew Morgan

However, the natural resources industry itself inevitably has to transition from one economy to another because a resource is no longer economically viable to extract or the activity itself contributes to changing the environment so much that it either impacts on:

  • Natures bounty; and/or
  • The profitability of the activity.

For a resource company It is best to mix it up and invest in a portfolio of alternatives, which is what the energy industry currently does. However, just because a natural resource has become accessible does this mean we should develop it long-term? If the surrounding environment is changing anyway does it really matter that we have a presence in a changed environment or is the pressure exerted on natures bounty in a changing environment, combined with long-term cumulative industry impacts and the risk of unplanned events occurring too much? In an environment that is changing anyway communities could benefit significantly from the presence of a resource activity.

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Categorised in: Culture and Society, Environmental Policy and Planning, Global Change and Sustainability, Safety and Environment

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