Since life emerged on Earth, all organisms, including humans, have depended on things that exist freely in nature for their survival. These essential things include things like water, sunlight, soils, forests, plants, animals, etc. Other things present in nature have also been used for our benefit, for example, materials to make tools, clothes, medicines and, in general, anything else that contributes to our development.
Do you want to know more about what natural resources are and what are their uses? Maybe also know about the types of natural resources that exist? You will discover it throughout this illustrative article by Green Ecologist about what is the importance of natural resources. We hope you enjoy it!
The resources that nature provides us with They are called natural resources and they play a fundamental role in the environment and in our society. We can define them as material goods and services that nature provides without being altered by humans and that are valuable to human societies and the environment that surrounds them.
The utility of natural resources Therefore it is, sustain life and contribute to well-being and development, either directly (minerals, food and other raw materials) or indirectly (ecological services). Consequently, the great economic and social importance of natural resources, since these have allowed society to be as it is today and those who will allow it to remain the same or better, as long as they are made good use of.
There are several ways to classify natural resources, but if what matters most to us is whether we and future generations will be able to continue making use of them and how to manage them, the most appropriate and functional classification is the one that distinguishes between non-renewable resources and resources. renewable. We will examine them below.
We start with the definition of non-renewable resources. The non-renewable or exhaustible resources They are natural resources that cannot be produced, cultivated, regenerated or reused at a rate that can support their consumption rate by people. That is, the consumption of non-renewable resources is greater than the time it takes nature to recreate or replace them, or they exist in fixed quantities.
The importance of non-renewable natural resources it resides in the scope of their use as raw materials and energy sources. The most used as sources of energy are fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil) and radioactive elements that give rise to nuclear energy. As raw materials we can mention, for example, minerals and some rocks (used, for example, in construction) such as limestone, although many petroleum derivatives have uses not intended to generate energy, for example, plastics. , synthetic fibers, paints, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. All these non-renewable resources are very present in our day to day, our society has grown using them, however, they have their disadvantages. We will see them later.
If you want to learn more about What are non-renewable resources and examples, you can find an article about it here.
Unlike non-renewable resources, renewable resources can restore their levels by natural processes at a speed higher than that of consumption by human beings and, consequently, they are not depleted.
What are renewable resources for? Renewable resources play an essential role in maintaining life, since sunlight, as well as air, water, soil, etc., are essential for it to exist. We also have the agricultural resources, which allow us to supply ourselves and also feed our livestock or livestock resources. In addition, we also have for our food with the Fishing resources and we make use of forest resources to, among other things, obtain firewood, wood or resins. However, the mere presence of forest resources provides us with a series of invaluable ecological services: they harbor high biodiversity, fix CO2, store water and prevent droughts and floods, prevent erosion, etc.
Also, we can use some of these renewable resources like Energy sources. Thus, we can benefit from the wind energy provided by the wind, the solar energy from our closest star and the potential energy that propels the water on its way from the mountains to the sea (hydroelectric energy). Other renewable energies with low environmental impact are: biomass energy, geothermal energy, tidal energy and that which can provide hydrogen as fuel (the abundance of hydrogen is such that it can be considered an "eternal" fuel).
To learn more about these, here you can read about What are renewable resources and examples. Also, below you can watch a video about natural resources to have more information.
We previously commented that non-renewable resources had some disadvantages and are associated with their overuse or overexploitation. The most obvious is that they are resources that will be depleted and that, therefore, we will have to replace before that happens so that society does not paralyze. The other disadvantage is that there is a great risk caused by its combustion, with which gases and particles are generated that increase pollution (a problem that directly affects our quality of life). But the most significant thing is the large amount of CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere in this combustion, contributing to the increase of the greenhouse effect and climate change.
As to renewable resources, we have to be very careful so that they continue to be so. If we make a massive or uncontrolled use of them, they could stop being renewable. Let's see some examples:
After learning all this about the importance of natural resources, we encourage you to read these other articles by Ecologist Verde on the causes and consequences of overexploitation of natural resources (you can also watch the video below that deals with this topic) , Conservation of natural resources and How to take care of natural resources.
If you want to read more articles similar to What is the importance of natural resources, we recommend that you enter our category of Other environment.