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March 30, 2009
Q&A: Ask questions on resources in the developing world

Competition for natural resoures often lies at the heart of human conflict, from oil and water in the Middle East to contested coltan in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In today’s economic environment, the demand for some resources may be declining, but the importance of who controls natural resources like oil and water — and how they control — is of pressing importance as supplies of these resources dwindle.

This proves particularly true for developing countries, where the right decisions can lead to a strong infrastructure and international influence, and the wrong decisions can lead to social strife, war or environmental destruction.’s weekly radio show explored the state of natural resource use, opportunities and dangers for resource-rich developing countries and the role played by the U.S. in this global issue. Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge hosted a panel of guests.

Dave Burdick is the green editor of The Huffington Post. He follows energy, environment and green lifestyle stories. He has also been a reporter, a stand-up comedian and a copywriter for the United States’ only accredited, Buddhist-inspired university.

Michael Cohen is a professor of international affairs and director of the graduate program in international affairs at the New School University. From 1972 to 1999, he worked at the World Bank and was responsible for much of its urban policy development. He has worked in over 55 countries, published several books on urban development and has advised governments, U.N. Habitat, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions around the world.

Alf Hornborg is an anthropologist and professor of human ecology at the University of Lund, Sweden. His research has largely focused on cultural and political dimensions of human-environmental relations in past and present societies. He is the author of “The Power of the Machine” (2001) and lead editor of “Rethinking Environmental History” (2007) and “The World System and the Earth System” (2007).

Thank you for your questions. See some related Worldfocus signature stories:

See our interactive map: The world according to energy.

Associated photo courtesy of Flickr user AdamCohn under a Creative Commons license.

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