Global Sustainability

Global long term sustainability represents one of the most complex and difficult challenges that will need be solved by the human race in the decades to come. The steps that will need to be undertaken, will alter the current environmental, political, economical, and societal norms everywhere. For this reason, it requires broad and willing participation in reducing our carbon footprint, limiting the release of greenhouse gasses, and transitioning away from fossil fuels and natural gasses. The latter of these three options will prove the be the most difficult task in my opinion. While countries have taken dramatic steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, removing the dependence on fossil fuels and natural gasses will face much opposition due to it’s deeply ingrained status within societies. To prove this point, Europe has spent just under 80 billion dollars this year importing over 50 million tonnes of fossil fuels and natural gas. This number is very significant; as it accounts for 37% of the European Union budget.

Looking at this issue of removing dependence on fossil fuels another way, Saudi Arabia relies extremely heavily on their ability to export and sell oil on the international market. Accounting for 42% of their GDP, oil and natural gas profits and hungry markets all over the world have been at the heart of many political decisions and actions undertaken by Saudi Arabia. This should reflect how important natural gasses and oil are in the well being and prospering of Saudi Arabia.

Whether you view the issue of burning natural gas and fossil fuels as a sustainability issue or an economic one, one thing that remains constant is the significant grasp that these products have over almost all nations on earth. If we, as a people want to transition away from this source of energy in favor of renewable it will mandate complicit communication on a political, economic, environmental, and societal level.

4 thoughts on “Global Sustainability

  1. It was very interesting to read about how hard it might be for people to give up, or at least greatly reduce, their use of fossil fuels. I wonder how long it might take for people to understand the intense need for the human race to make this change, before the earth becomes even more harmed?

  2. As a global society, mankind has become incredibly reliant on natural gas resources, politically, and economically. Western foreign policy towards the Middle East following World War II was entirely based on energy needs. U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and for (pre-revolutionary) Iran was purely based on need for oil to support our nation. It will be interesting to see how the political and social dynamics between countries change after the age of natural gas/oil has passed.

  3. I agree with Alastair because my initial thought was how crazy it is that above all issues (environmental/societal/political) the U.S. will always prioritize our economic interest in Saudi Arabia because if we lost our oil supply from Saudi Arabia it would be pure chaos. It’s quite depressing to think that we have to sacrifice all other interests because of our reliance on some viscous liquid but it really does rule our lives and economy.

  4. Natural gas and oil are extremely beneficial and important, but I am curious about how long it will be until they are no longer as popular. While they are alternatives, I agree with Marielle that North America is eager and will remain this way to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia. I wonder how long it will be until we part ways with them.

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