Concluding Remarks

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In this text we covered different aspects of energy and problems associated with the uncontrolled consumption of raw materials and nonrenewable energy resources. Thus far, we have been abusing the environment and exploiting our natural resources in an unsustainable way. The choice to continue on this path or to take steps in modifying our living habits to follow a sustainable path is up to us. If we use history as evidence, unless we make a deliberate effort in reaching sustainability, we will have to fight many more wars over the control of natural resources -- land, water, mineral, and especially oil. What is clear is that the longer we wait to introduce meaningful changes in the way we are currently using our natural resources and treating our environment, the more difficult it will be to achieve a sustainable future. Technological advances can help sustainability for as long as the society as a whole makes a concerted effort to direct them toward this goal. Short of this commitment, technology will only serve to promote its implicit goal of unhindered growth at the expense of increasing stress on the environment and its eventual collapse. The major challenge of our times is how to improve the standard of living of the average person without putting undue pressure on the resources at our disposal.

The highly industrialized countries, the United States in particular, have the largest economies, the most access to technology, and vast intellectual and financial resources. They are also the biggest polluters and producers of wastes and have the moral responsibility to lead the world toward practices that enable our children to enjoy a sustainable future and a healthy environment for many generations to come.


(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

Hawkens, P., Lovins, A, and Lovins, L. H., Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, Rocky Mountain Institute, 1999.

Meadows, D., Randers, J., and Meadows, D., Limit to Growth: 30-year Update, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2004.

Diamond, J., Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Penguin Group, USA, 2004.

Journal of Political Ecology: Case Studies in History and Society, JPE is produced at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, the University of Arizona Library, Tucson, Arizona. The journal covers research articles into the linkages between political economy and human environmental impact.

World Watch Magazine (

External Links

World Bank (

United Nations Environment Program (

Rocky Mountain Institute (

Greenpeace (

Green Seal (

Nature Conservancy (

The Sierra Club (

Friends of the Earth (

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (

World Wide Fund (