WELL-MEANING lobbyists might be inadvertently causing more harm to the environment than good, according to new research.
By making sometimes exaggerated claims about a natural resource – such as clean water or land – being threatened, they could be speeding up the rate at which others rush to use up what’s left.
Research by economist Dr Petros Sekeris, of the University of Portsmouth, found that once it becomes known that a resource is running low, all parties know fighting is likely to break out over what’s left.
This speeds up the rate at which people take their share.
Dr Sekeris said: ‘Peace prevails when a resource is abundant, and conflict will occur when a depletable resource becomes scarce.
‘Alarmist talk by individuals, groups or the media on the low stocks of some resources and on the inability of resources to regenerate could very well prove detrimental for the conservation of the environment.
‘As countries anticipate a rise of violence for the control of the remaining resource stocks, this incentivises world actors to accelerate their use of the remaining resources prior to the sparking of violence.’