Global Q&A: ‘Do you think the amount of natural resources we extract from the earth is sustainable?’

April 19, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Sustainability can be achieved by using less resources, better planning, and being self-sufficient in home energy use is what Epoch Times reporters from Bulgaria to Brazil discovered when they asked locals:

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Slavka Simeonova, Levski, Bulgaria (The Epoch Times)

Levski, Bulgaria

Slavka Simeonova, 59, Financial Expert

I think the way we extract natural resources from the earth is not fully sustainable. This is because we need to give back for what we take. In order to take from the earth, we need to feed it as well, and thus replenish her strength. For example, we need to nourish the soil with natural fertilizers: this is how I handle the soil in my home garden when I plant the vegetables and fruits.

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José Massaretto, Itatiba, São Paulo, Brazil (The Epoch Times)

Itatiba, São Paulo, Brazil

José Massaretto, 59, Retired Merchant

If we don’t extract these natural resources, the world as we know it today will stop. No one knows what will happen in the future. Nowadays, everything is plastic. When I was a boy, we had no plastic packaging. The shopping bags were made of fabrics. My mother used to make my pants with a flour sack. The soft drink used to come in glass bottles—returnable. Previously, I swam in the river. Today, the river is badly polluted. The street was made of paving stone—now just asphalt. When it rains, it floods. … This whole change took place from the ’70s.

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Pelia Tzamourani, Greece (The Epoch Times)


Pelia Tzamourani, 25, Cultural Consultant

Natural resources of the planet are in no way inexhaustible. They are the result of natural processes that took centuries to happen; nevertheless, in the last decade they have been consumed without any sustainable or rational policy from modern industrial societies. So it is concluded that the rate of creation and renewal of the natural resources and the rate of their consumption are disproportionate to each other. The only solution seems to be the development of alternative forms [of] energy by exploiting energy resources that are inexhaustible worldwide, such as solar and wind power, or biomass.

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Trishna Advani, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (The Epoch Times)

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Trishna Advani, 19, Environment Student

No, the amount of natural resources we extract from the earth is not sustainable as the rate at which we are extracting them is greater than the rate at which they are being replenished. But with proper management of resources and better extraction techniques, sustainability can be achieved.

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Ben Henry, Golden Beach, Australia (The Epoch Times)

Golden Beach, Australia

Ben Henry, 21, Salesman

I do this for a job—you know, with electricity. You’ve got wind and solar and all these sorts of things that people put on their roofs. To make things really sustainable give people the options to be self-sustainable in their own homes. Give more rebates on solar, give more rebates on the hot water, and the water tanks. That’s the only way we are going to be able to be sustainable, because no natural resources, especially with oil and gas aren’t sustainable in anyway, and it’s going to cause damage to the earth if we keep going about it the way we are.

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Severo Rodríguez, Lima, Peru (The Epoch Times)

Lima, Peru

Severo Rodríguez, 38, Food Specialist

I think so it is sustainable. In Peru, we have many natural resources that are being exploited lately in places where there are many minerals. There are more mines now throughout the country that will operate for many years. As forest trees have a very wide distribution, they cover the whole region. Trees help to clean the polluted environment and create a better life.

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Diego Mauricio Londoño Silva, Ibagué, Colombia (The Epoch Times)

Ibagué, Colombia

Diego Mauricio Londoño Silva, 19, History Student

Well, I think that petroleum chills the land, and it is too complicated to be renewable and sustainable. … Raising awareness of the importance of the environment in us, the people, is what is important; therefore, I have a case in my city where a sector was recovered with reforestation. At the beginning, people cut the trees and the vegetation was diminishing, and then an ecologist association intervened and managed to recover it. In this case, it will be sustainable.

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Joakim Liljeborg, Jönköping, Sweden (The Epoch Times)

Jönköping, Sweden

Joakim Liljeborg, 23, Student

Of course, it is not good! But it seems to me that people do not bother anyway. Even though they know everything about it and understand the problem, it looks like they don’t do anything to change it.

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Aiden Lee, New York, USA (The Epoch Times)

New York, USA

Aiden Lee, 23, Advertising

I don’t think it’s sustainable. We’ve never taken this much all at one time from the Earth ever in the history of humankind, or any animals haven’t taken that much, it’s only us. We’re the only being that could possibly ruin the world the way we’re doing it. I think that we’re going to have some very smart people make really hard decisions for all of us, and stop the way we’re abusing the Earth.

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Eufrasio Millal, Spain (The Epoch Times)

Spain (visiting USA)

Eufrasio Millal, 37, Engineer

I think that it’s at a critical point, and that they’re [natural resources] now very limited. We have to think of an alternative way, and other options other than oil. I think it’s not economically convenient, or won’t work economically, because the society nowadays is excessive in its oil consumption. There are alternatives like renewable energy, wind power, solar energy, thermal energy.

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Jorge Kandalaf, Puerto Montt, Chile (The Epoch Times)

Puerto Montt, Chile

Jorge Kandalaf, 58, concierge

As seen so far, the only thing that has been shown is the absolute depredation of natural resources. I have heard from some experts that there won’t be enough oil in the future, if we continue with this kind of consumption. The same thing happens with the other elements from nature and even the water that was supposed to be inexhaustible is highly prized for its scarcity.


Look for the Global Q&A column every week. Epoch Times correspondents interview people around the world to learn about their lives and perspectives on local and global realities. Next week’s global question: “What’s something you’ve done that others said was impossible?”