Resource extraction drives many economies and is the basis of everything we manufacture. Some economies are bound, even cursed, by their resource industries (e.g. DR Congo, Saudi Arabia), others have freed themselves and add value to resources imported from elsewhere (e.g. UK, Europe, Japan, Taiwan). Driving much of this is relatively cheap energy and transportation and, in some economies, cheap labour as well. Thus far, from consumption to disposal, our resource use has been linear in nature. With foresight, resource use can successfully turn into a more circular economy.

Imports, Exports and the Reliance on Resources

The Top Import of Every Country (HowMuch)

Reliance on Natural Resources by % of GDP (2011)

Are resources a blessing, a curse or a double-edged sword? (Brookings Institute)

What is Dutch Disease? (The Resource Curse) (EI Academy: 3:47)

Mineral Resources

Global Distribution of Mines

Global Minerals

Minerals in a Smartphone (PDF)
from the Geological Society

USGS Smartphone Map

Water Resources

Aqueduct: Interactive Water Risk Atlas

Water per tonne of food produced (Our World in Data)

Water Use per capita

Forest Resources

Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Change

Primary Drivers of Forest Cover Loss
(YaleE360 | Original)

Energy Resources

Energy Use per capita, 1965-2019
(Our World in Data)

Change in Energy Consumption, 1965-2019
(Our World in Data)

Renewable Energy (Our World in Data)

Explained: why renewables became so cheap so fast

Solar is now cheapest electricity in history, confirms IEA (CarbonBrief)

Agricultural and Food Resources

Where our Food Crops Come From - Interactive Map (CIAT)

Where does our food come from (Alimentarium)

Food Production by Crop and Country (Our World in Data)

3rd World Farmer

An excellent simulation to introduce what life is like for subsistence farmers

What's Wrong with our Food System (TED-Ed: 5:14)

% Expenditures on Food, 2016 (OWID)

Economics of Coffee (VisualCapitalist)

The Life Cycle of a Cup of Coffee (TED-Ed 5:04)

Environmental Impacts of Food Production (Our World in Data)

The Real Cost of Chocolate Bar (Oxfam)

Chocolate Trade Game (ChristianAid)

Global Livestock
ArcStory: (Farm) Animal Planet

Behind the Brands: 10 Food Companies Global Control

10 Companies that Control the World's Food (WSJ: 2:22)

Monsanto: The True Cost of Our Food (OCC: 13:37)

Manufactured Resources

The life cycle of a T-shirt
(TED-Ed: 6:03)

A Tale of Two T-shirts (econolife)

The Real Cost of Cheap Fashion (NYT includes video 2:32)

Overdressed & Overstressed | The Impact Of Fast Fashion On Global Sustainability (Sustainable Square)

Jeans - Decision-making
(NG: Global Closet)

Global Jeans Map

Boeing's Global Supply Chain (ResearchGate)

How the iPhone is made (FinancesOnline - Infographic)


Rivers of Plastic Infographic

River plastic emissions to world's oceans (Nature)

Mapping Plastic Infographic (VisualCapitalist)

Drowning in Plastic Visualization (Reuters)

A Brief History of Plastic
(TED-Ed: 5:04)

Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle (TED-Ed: 4:06)

Plastic Bag Bans (The Economist)

The Circular Economy

Unlike in the natural world, where resources are naturally used and re-used in cycles, we humans live in a linear, throw-away society. But, that's beginning to change with thought, awareness, and innovation.

The Story of Stuff
( 21:30)


The Story of Solutions (9:06)

Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy
(TED-Ed: 3:48)

Why the world needs a 'circular bioeconomy' - for jobs, biodiversity and prosperity

The Circular Economy Model
(Cambridge-Judge Business School: 2:20)

Rethink the way you recycle | Reduce, Reuse, Rethink
(CBC The National: 6:44)

The Story of has a number of thoughtful and engaging videos targeted to leaning more about reducing our stuff/consumerism