It is fashionable to speak of resource-dependent communities, by which we mean those that are immediately dependent upon exploitation of natural resources. Dr. Youngquist's book shows that this concept is flawed: every community is resources dependent. Everyone daily exploits energy, food, and materials from the Earth.
Working from the perspective of an experienced petroleum geologist, Dr. Youngquist has given his audiences a lively, readable, realistic, extraordinarily broad survey of global resources. He brings together multiple aspects of human use, abuse, and depletion of resources and explainst interconnections among resources, geopolitics, and society. The effect is incisive.
The book is usefully arranged as twenty-nine chapters that range through introductory historical essays on civilizations and peoples to discussions of the geologically fortunate, resource-rich nations and the unfortunate ones; the enormous importance of petroleum and its coming exhaustion; the importance of the mostly hidden depletion of soil and groundwater; alternative sources of energy and their prospects and the energy and resources of the oceans; and on to summary chapters on policy, politics, society, "sustainable" society, and the future. There are ample subheadings and a good index. The book is an essential reference for our future. I know of no other quite like it.
Vol. 60 no. 2, p. 45