What are natural resources?
Natural resources are the raw materials and sources of energy that we use. Petrol, metals, soil, sand, wind, water, and everything in between are natural resources. Manufactured items such as plastic, sheet metal, fabrics, microchips, electricity, and concrete are not natural resources but are most definitely derived from natural resources.
Natural resources are the raw materials and sources of energy that we use.
Petrol, metals, soil, sand, wind, water, and everything in between are natural resources. Manufactured items such as plastic, sheet metal, fabrics, microchips, electricity, and concrete are not natural resources but are most definitely derived from natural resources.
Think about the relationship between natural resources and manufactured products. In essence, we call them “natural” resources because they are things human society uses that are created (or were created in the case of fossil fuels) without human intervention.
Read Pritish Kumar Halder’s article in which he discussed uses and types of Natural resources.
Natural resources fall into three categories: perpetual renewable resources; intermediate renewable resources and non-renewable resources. Furthermore, we can divide renewable resources into perpetual and intermediate categories.
Perpetually Renewable Resources
Perpetually renewable resources are the easiest resources to understand; these are natural resources that are constantly replenished by the Sun’s and Earth’s natural processes. For example, every day the sun delivers an average of 198 Watts of energy to every square meter (m) of the Earth’s surface. For comparison, a standard incandescent light bulb in a bedside lamp uses 40 Watts, or a 100kg person climbing a step in 2 seconds uses roughly 200 Watts. Every day without fail for the last 5 billion years (plus or minus a few hundred million years) the Sun has delivered this solar energy.
Intermediate Renewable Resources
Intermediate renewable resources are only renewable resources if we don’t use them too quickly. They are resources such as freshwater, soil, crops, and trees for timber. If we didn’t use them, they would be perpetually renewable, but because they require time (on human time scales) to regenerate or grow, we can overuse them until they are no longer available.
The last category of natural resources is the non-renewables. These are resources that will not regenerate on human time scales. Once they have been depleted they will no longer be available and no more will be made. The most common examples of non-renewable resources are fossil fuels, so-called because most were created by processes that take millions of years. Fossil fuels include crude oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium
Other non-renewable resources include metals, lithium, and rare-Earth elements (REEs), but it’s important to remember that while we may eventually run out of mineable metals and REEs, with careful waste management, these can be recovered through recycling. However, it is not the same for fossil fuels as using them for energy alters their chemistry so they are no longer useful.
Natural Resources of India
India is a large country, and it is rich in many natural resources and minerals. Please take a look at some important facts mentioned below:
- India is an agricultural country, and around 1,945,355km2 of its area is used for cultivation.
- In India, the water surface area is 360,400km2.
- The major mineral resources of India are coal, iron ore, manganese ore, mica, bauxite, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, limestone, thorium, etc.
- India’s oil reserves are found in Bombay High off the coast of Maharashtra, Gujrat, Rajasthan, and Eastern Assam.
Natural resources are essential for the survival and development of humankind on this Earth. The importance of natural resources in human life is mentioned below:
- They provide us with oxygen to breathe.
- The land is used for cultivation and to grow food products.
- Sunlight gives us solar energy, an important alternative energy source.
- Oil and natural gas give us fuel used in many industries and vehicles.
- Minerals are used as fuel and steel-like coal, iron ore, etc.
Valuable materials like gold and diamonds are used for the jewelry industry and many mechanical types of equipment. Forest provides us with food, timber, and fuel, and it is a shelter for many living organisms. For more information please visit Pritish Kumar Halder ‘s page.
Natural resources help in industrialization and urbanization. Dams built on rivers prevent floods, proper irrigation, development of fishing industry, and electricity generation.
These are the following threats that are responsible for the destruction of natural resources:
- Overpopulation: The increase in population is the primary threat to natural resources because of the rise in the number of people; more land has been used for housing and development, so many forests and vegetation land have been converted for accommodations and making roads and farms. Overpopulation harms natural resources.
- Over Exploitation: Overexploitation of natural resources can result in resource destruction, including extinction. An increase in population has resulted in the overconsumption of natural resources. Industrial development is also a significant reason for the overconsumption of natural resources.
- Climate Change: Severe climate change has affected natural resources, especially the change in the rainfall affects plant growth cycle, agricultural growth, and soil health. Without timely rain or high temperature, it is a risk of drought and forest fire. It decreases forest productivity.
- Environmental Pollution: Pollution has affected natural resources like land, air, and water causing environmental pollution. It also affects the chemical composition of the soil, rocks, freshwater, and underground water, which destroys natural resources.
Conservation of natural resources is a procedure of protection and skillful management to preserve the resources provided by nature. The methods that can be used to conserve natural resources are mentioned below:
- Reduce, reuse and recycle. The R3 should always be followed.
- We should take part as volunteers in cleanups in our community.
- Water should not be wasted, and rainwater should be harvested for future use.
- Ponds and lakes should be kept clean, and digging should be done more often.
- Dams and water reservoirs should be built.
- Deforestation should be stopped.
- Natural resources should be used more efficiently.
- Public awareness of the importance of natural resource conservation should be developed.
- Use of alternative forms of energy should be developed.
- Plantation of trees should be practiced.
- Pollution should be controlled by using electric vehicles and alternative forms of energy.
- Laws on the preservation of natural resources should be strictly implemented.
Natural Resources are materials available in nature without human action and play a significant role in the survival and development of humankind. Humans use these resources to exist on Earth. Natural resources are of two types: renewable and non-renewable resources. Air, water, land, and minerals are some natural resources used directly or indirectly by men in their daily lives. The increase in population and over-exploitation have threatened the end of some of these natural resources. So, it is our moral duty to preserve natural resources and use them to be saved for future generations.