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Ever thought what would happen if there was no water, soil, land, and air around us? Is survival possible in such a place? No, absolutely not. We do not exist on any other planet because there is no trace of water, oxygen or any life-supporting aspect on any other planets in our solar system. The only planet that supports life is the planet Earth. Life on earth is mainly because of the resources it provides to living organisms such as water, air, sunlight, land, food etc. These form the basis for the existence of life on earth.
What are Natural Resources?
Natural resources are available readily in nature. These resources are present on earth ever since life originated. Non-renewable resources, however, need to be carefully used as they get exhausted. For instance, fossil fuels need a million years to form. Various methods have been devised to save these natural resources under Natural resource management organizations.
Why should we save these natural resources? After all, they are not man-made and available in nature freely. Some resources are available in nature, while some others are produced by us using these natural resources as raw materials. Hence there is a need to plan and use these resources carefully by us, and our generations to come.
Also Read: Sustainability of Natural Resources
Types of Resources on Earth
The earth has two main resources available naturally:
- Renewable Resources
- Non-Renewable Resources
These are the resources that are naturally occurring, for example, sunlight, water, soil. These resources have been in nature and cannot be produced by man. They are renewed easily by nature. Example: Solar energy, wind energy, etc.
These are those resources on earth that occur in nature freely but are in limited quantities. They are available in the form that they can be used after the intervention of man.
For example, coal and petroleum. Coal is formed after layers of decomposition of dead plant and animal matter over millions of years after having undergone changes due to physical factors such as temperature and pressure causing the removal of oxygen leaving it carbon-rich resulting in the formation of coal. These resources do occur naturally, but do not renew themselves, hence needs to be consumed in limited quantities.
Importance of Natural Resources
Listed below are a few of the reasons why we need to save our natural resources:
- They are crucial in maintaining a balance in our ecosystem
- To be able to cater to the needs of the ever-growing population
- Resources serve as raw material to large scale industries and commercial purposes
- Wise consumption of non-renewable resources such as coal and petroleum
- Availability of freshwater is decreasing by the day, it is important to use water carefully
- Water is used to produce electricity in dams and reservoirs
- Wind energy is also used in turbines and to produce electricity
- Helps in the socio-economic development of a country
- Solar energy is directly being used in home appliances such as solar water heaters, solar-powered ventilation fans, batteries that are charged using solar power etc.
Depletion of Resources on Earth
Human activities are constantly harming the environment. With the advent of industrialization, the human population is growing rapidly. This has led to increased consumption of the earth’s resources. The main causes for the depletion of earth’s resources are mentioned below:
- Overpopulation is the main cause of resource depletion.
- Over-exploitation of the resources has led to the depletion of the earth’s natural resources.
- Loss of Biodiversity
- Pollution that has led to the contamination of resources.
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