The demand for resources

Shopper in a supermarket in Greenwich, London
A shopper in Greenwich, London

When people use something, it becomes a resource. At the most basic level, we need uncontaminated food and water supplies, shelter, clothing and good health. Resources are also required to make all the things that we use in our daily lives.

People in MEDCs need lots of resources to sustain their high levels of consumption. Whereas people in LEDCs sometimes have limited access to basic resources such as food and water. People in LEDCs also often have rich natural resources, such as large forests and deep deposits of valuable metals and minerals. To help them out of poverty, LEDCs can extract and sell resources to MEDCs.

This system creates a dependency that has serious implications for the environment. The more resources that MEDCs buy from LEDCs, the more money there is for LEDCs to improve living standards, but the greater the impact on the environment.

A water pump in Lulimba, DR Congo
A water pump in Lulimba, DR Congo

There is an increasing demand for goods and services from a growing global population, especially those in MEDCs. The world's resources are being used up more quickly. The consumption of resources is spread unequally between MEDCs, who use more resources, and LEDCs, who use less.