World population will increase by two to four billion within this century, and the global economy will grow even more rapidly. This will require more food, housing, clothing, energy, and products and raw materials of all kinds. Providing for needs and wants while also protecting the environment will be extraordinarily challenging.
A complication is the fundamental change that is already underway. Countries long defined by low per capita incomes are now experiencing rapid economic growth and rising consumption. They are also becoming significant competitors for raw materials, triggering concerns about environmental impacts and rising potential for resource conflicts.
In short, the economic genie is out of the bottle, creating a new reality for all nations and profound implications for the select club of the most economically developed nations which for the past six or seven decades have set the world agenda. How these nations, including the US, interact with the rest of the world, maintain their economies, obtain and use raw materials, and protect their environments, will undergo significant change.
This seminar will examine global macro-trends and how these are impacting both the global raw materials picture and the environment. Discussion will focus on the US and what these changes are likely to mean in the near and more distant futures.
LearningLife seminars embrace Socrates's belief in inquiry and exchange. Seminars include both lecture and critical discussion. Tuition includes breakfast.
Recommended: Jim Bowyer, The Irresponsible Pursuit of Paradise (Levins Publishing, 2016).
Jim Bowyer, Professor Emeritus, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, is director of the responsible materials program at Dovetail Partners, Inc., an environmental consulting firm. He has published widely on the topics of life-cycle assessment, carbon tracking and reporting, bioenergy, green building standards, and environmental policy.