Human beings cannot live without air, water and food. We all know that all our necessities, comforts and luxuries are provided to us by Nature. It is the natural resources that make our lives a reality.
We can never imagine a world without air or water. While some of these resources are renewable, others are not. Petroleum, fossil fuels and minerals are limited and non-renewable.
It is a matter of concern that human beings are reckless in using the resources. Over-population, exploitation of resources, environmental pollution and climate change are going to affect mankind. These activities are perilous to nature and mankind.
Resources, Renewable, Non-renewable
1.2.1 Concepts and major types of natural resources
You pay for everything purchased from the market. What are the things that you get from nature without paying? They are natural products. Common examples of natural resources include air, sunlight, water, soil, stone, plants, animals and fossil fuels.
Natural resources can be defined as the re-sources that exist (on the planet) independent of human actions. The five most important natural resources are:
- Air: Clean air is important for all the plants, animals and humans to survive on this planet.
- Water: 71% of the Earth is covered in water and only 2 % of that is fresh water.
- Soil: Soil is composed of various particles and nutrients. It helps plants to grow.
- Iron: It is made from ores and is used to build strong weapons, instruments and buildings
- Forests: Forests provide clean air and pre-serve the ecology of the world.
Based on the availability, there are two types of natural resources:
Renewable Resources: Resources that are available in infinite quantity and can be used repeatedly are called renewable resources. Example: Forest, wind, water etc.
Non-Renewable Resources: Do you think that petroleum will remain as a renewable source forever? It gets exhausted. Resources that are limited in abundance due to their non-renewable nature and whose availability may run out in the future are called non-renewable resources. Examples include fossil fuels, minerals etc.
1.2.2 Importance of Natural Resources
Natural resources are very important for the survival and development of mankind on this Earth. The importance of natural resources in human life is mentioned below:
- They provide us with air to breathe.
- Land for cultivation and growing food products.
- Sunlight gives us solar energy, which is an important alternative source of energy.
- Oil and natural gas give us fuel which are used in many industries and vehicles.
- Minerals which are used as fuel and raw materials, like coal, iron ore, etc.
- Valuable materials like gold and diamonds which are used for the jewellery industry and in many mechanical equipment.
- Forest provides us with food, timber, fuel, and it is a shelter for many living organisms.
- Natural resources help in industrialization and urbanization.
- Dams which are built on rivers prevent flood, provide proper irrigation, development of fishing industry and electricity generation.
1.2.3 Threats to Natural Resources
The major threats to natural resources are:
- Over population
- Over exploitation
- Climate change
- Environmental Pollution
1.2.4 Conservation of Natural Resources
Conservation of natural resources is a procedure of protection and skilful management to preserve the resources provided by nature. The methods that can be used to conserve the natural resources are mentioned below:
- Reduce, reuse and recycle. The 3R should always be followed
- We should take part as volunteers in cleaning up our community.
- Water should not be wasted, and rain-water 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 re-sources should be strictly implemented.
Objective type questions
Answer to Objective type questions
Self Assessment Questions