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Natural Resources and Associated Problems

Natural resources are resources that exist without human intervention.

Natural Resources

Natural resources are resources that exist without human intervention. The sources of value for the characteristics include uses such as commercial and industrial, aesthetics, scientific interest, and cultural interest. Earth's ecosystem includes sunlight, air, land, water, minerals, and vegetation along with all animal life. Nature reserves and our natural heritage can protect our natural resources. Biodiversity and geodiversity are often noted in the ecosystems of certain areas (such as the rainforest in Fatu-Hiva). It is possible to classify natural resources in various ways.

An environmental resource is a material or component (which can be used) that is obtained from the environment. Natural resources are the basic components of all man-made products. Natural resources such as rare-earth elements, petroleum, metal ores, timber, and most forms of energy are transformed by extra-activist industries into forms that require processing before they are utilized. Examples include fresh water, air, and living organisms such as fish. Non-renewable resources can only be extracted once and are not replenishable, while renewable resources can be used at a certain rate and are restored by natural processes.

Associated Problems

Exploitation of Resources

Natural resources are prone to exploitation, which is their biggest problem. As a result of the use of these resources, economic expansion often degrades the environment. When methods of extracting raw materials were developed in the 19th century, this problem gained momentum. The development of mining, steam power, and various machines during this time helped mankind gain access to these materials more easily. Over the course of the 20th century, we continued to consume energy at a faster and faster rate, and today fossil fuels provide most of our energy needs. Getting energy in this manner is causing environmental damage. Our continued exploitation of natural resources also leads to the destruction of the environment via intensive agriculture. Intensive agriculture is a major hindrance to our natural environment. For example, forests are deforested and waterways are polluted. Economic growth and depletion of natural resources are increasing as the world population increases. Due to our destruction of our environment and natural resources, this problem is becoming more severe.

Overpopulation that brings over exploitation

Almost all natural resources are under pressure due to the growing human population. Overexploitation of these resources often results. Due to overexploitation to support the ever-growing population, resources such as arable land, fresh water, fossil fuels, coral reefs, and wilderness forests are at record low levels. There is an incredible decline in quality of life as a result of this competition for the vital resources that sustain life.

Farmers have converted forests and grasslands into cropland because of intensive agricultural methods. Due to modern-day pressures, natural resources are depreciating, especially forests, wild life, and fertile land, as land is converted into fields for farming, crop-production, and livestock raising. As a result of agricultural waste, fertilizers, and pesticides polluting marine and freshwater environments, a number of natural crop species and aquatic life are also endangered.

Climate change

Human activities and overpopulation are generating greenhouse gases and carbon footprints in the atmosphere, causing severe changes to climate patterns that threaten biodiversity as well as many other natural resources. As global warming and climate change alter the favorable conditions for survival, species that have adapted to particular environments are highly affected.

A profound consequence of global warming and climate change is the destruction of habitats to a degree that threatens biodiversity and the survival of species. Wildlife such as mountain gorillas and rock rabbits may soon become extinct due to global warming because they require cool temperatures high in the mountains.

Environmental pollution

In addition to being destroyed, a large portion of natural resources is under immense threat from pollution produced by industries and manufactured utilities as well as agricultural products. There are long-term cumulative impacts of soil, air, and water pollution on natural resources and the quality of the environment where they occur. Consequently, serious pollution has reduced the value of natural resources since it is harsh for the sustainability of both biotic and abiotic components. Natural processes such as water chemistry, soil composition, ocean water, underground water and rock composition are affected by pollution. Acidic lakes, for instance, are unsupportive of aquatic life.

Land use and development

Lands that are converted into urban settings, housing development projects, commercial centers, industrial sites, parking lots, highway systems, and so on, deprive wildlife and other living organisms of natural habitats. In addition to destroying millions of acres of habitat, this method has also caused much deforestation.

20th century

Natural resources are hugely threatened by the lifestyle of modern humans. Humans are expecting a higher standard of living this century, including education, entertainment, recreation, transportation, clothing, and shelter, all of which will cost more resources and require more production. In other words, it means a greater demand for energy, natural resources and raw materials due to more industrial processes. A sustainable lifestyle is the answer.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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