Debate has been taking place this week at Oxford, much brain power has been applied to the problems of resource scarcity and how we can be more efficient in an attempt to sustainably support a growing population and growing economies.
All of this has been taking place in the face of a creaking economic system and geographically uneven distribution of raw materials. Resource security is fast becoming a much more critical consideration for large manufacturers and pressure is mounting on geo-political stability.
Pressures exist over rare earth metals, water and land, with land grabs in Africa and E. Europe making the headlines. In some ways however, this exemplifies the problems that exist within the current model, it might even be seen as clutching at straws.
Democracy is playing second fiddle to corporate colonialism in a number of countries, the consequences of this are difficult to predict, especially where the current political status quo is challenged, as has been the case with the Arab Spring.
Alternative models have been suggested, this week saw quite a strong case put forward for an end to the current capitalist system and a move to some form of global governance, it will be quite a strange exercise removing all those lines from the map of the globe!
The serious point though, is that this might be the only way to support an ever growing population and even out the distribution of resources without enduring constant conflict, something that has always taken place but which, is only likely to get worse.