All the naturally occurring substances which we use can be considered natural resources. These are the materials from the earth which support life on earth and help fulfilling the needs of human beings. Humans require air, water, food from plants and animals, sunlight, minerals, land, soil and fossil fuels to exist. All these useful raw materials are called natural resources.
The picture below gives us a few examples of the numerous things we obtain from natural resources.
Different Types of Natural Resources:
There are many ways of classifying these natural resources. They can be biotic or abiotic(that is derived from organic materials or inorganic materials). Another way of classification of resources is by the amount of resources available for human consumption. Through this, resources can be classified into exhaustible and inexhaustible natural resources.
1. Inexhaustible Natural Resources:
Nature has blessed us with an unlimited supply of resources such as air, water and sunlight. These resources are called inexhaustible resources. They are also called renewable resources.
2. Exhaustible Natural Resources:
As the human population is increasing at an astounding rate, we have reached a number of 7.4 billion today! Naturally, this means that we are utilizing more and more natural resources. If we go at this rate, we will soon reach a day when nature will not be able to provide us with resources such as plants and trees, animals, mineral ores, and fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum and natural gas. Thus, these resources are exhaustible. These resources are called exhaustible or non-renewable resources.
If the use of these resources is not monitored carefully, there will be no food for our predecessors to eat, no energy for them to power their machines and no material for them to build a shelter with. This is why it is important to understand which resources are exhaustible and which are not, and to practice sustainable development. This is nothing but the development that meets the needs of the present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
To know more about fossil fuels natural gas, coal and petroleum which give us the energy to run our homes, factories, and vehicles, and how they are harnessed, download BYJU’S – The Learning App.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Why are natural resources important?
Resources are important to any country’s development. For example, to generate energy, fossil fuels are needed; and mineral resources are needed for industrial development. Natural resources are needed for food production, fuel for transportation and energy, and raw materials for the production of goods.
How do humans depend on natural resources?
Living beings need air and food for life and growth, land to build shelter and live, and fuel for transportation and energy. For all these purposes, we use natural resources like trees, water, air, petroleum etc.
Is soil a natural resource?
Soil consists of air, water, minerals, and organic material and is one of the world’s most important natural resources. Most life on earth as a direct or indirect source of food depends on soil. Plants absorb all nutrients from the soil and for humans, soil gives feed. fibre, food and fuel.
What makes natural resources valuable?
Natural resources occur naturally on earth without the help of humans. Natural resources give us water, wood, food and energy. It is not possible to live without natural resources. Natural resources include oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone, and sand. Air, sunlight, soil, and water are other natural resources. Thus, Natural resources are valuable as they are used to support life and meet the needs of people.
Why is freshwater an important natural resource?
Freshwater is vital for life. Water supports human life and the ecosystem. We use freshwater for food production, drinking, power generation and sanitation. We, human beings and animals, cannot live without drinking water and if the water is not clean, health will be affected.