Valuable natural resources – such as gold, diamonds, high-grade timber and oil and high-grade timber – are often used to finance wars, prolonging them and exacerbating their destructive impact. Disputes over the control of such natural resources can also be a source of violent conflict.
Climate change, finite levels of fossil energy sources and rising energy demand in the coming decades require that alternative sources of energy are found and that existing resources are used sparingly. Intelligent energy systems, decentralised supply networks and a greater use of renewables can contribute substantially to peace and stability.
Water is an indispensable resource – both for humans and the environment. For thousands of years, people have been rivals for scarce water resources. Only around one percent of the Earth’s water supply is fresh water readily available for human use. In addition, that one percent is distributed very unevenly in terms of geography and the seasons.
Brazil is a country of contrasts. While assuming the position as the 7th biggest economy in the world, the country has not been able to leave the group of countries with biggest income concentration and inequality in the world. It is celebrated as one of the most promising developing countries, but is still unable to overcome historical and structural issues related to education, health, housing, discrimination, and corruption, among others. And although a great abundance of natural resources and biodiversity is concentrated in the country, it faces huge difficulties in its attempts to preserve such riches, which are diminishing year after year.
South America, rich in natural resources, consists of multiple eco-systems, for example in the Amazon Basin. These offer important economic and environmental benefits by ensuring, amongst others, continued access to water and energy and the provision of oil, natural gas, forestry resources and meat. Nevertheless, accelerated economic development has caused an increase in production and consumption of goods and services, thereby endangering the equilibrium of these eco-systems, the sources of water and the forests that sustain quality of life for everyone.