Resources that occur in nature without the intervention of man and are necessary for humanity to survive and grow are known as natural resources. They can be found all around us – the air, the sun, the soil, and even underground minerals are all examples of natural resources that we need and use in one way or another.
Short and Long Essay on Natural Resources Depletion
Essay 1 (300 Words)
Natural resources are so important to us because the biggest fact is that global human and economic development cannot happen without them. As the global economy has grown, especially since the Industrial Revolution, our demand for these resources such as minerals, fossil fuels, water, wood, and land has increased exponentially.
Unfortunately, little has been done to regulate these demands, resulting in considerable over-exploitation. This, in turn, has caused not only depletion of the resources but also environmental damage to an unprecedented degree.
Facts and Figures
Over the past 25 years, the global extraction of resources has increased fairly steadily. In 1980, the number was around 40 billion tons. In 2005, it had become 58 billion tons, an increase of about 45 percent.
Water may cover 70 percent of the earth but only 2.5 percent of that is freshwater. Most of that water is in the form of permanent icecaps and ice. Therefore, we actually have access to very little of the earth’s fresh water supply – access that is increasingly being put under strain by the increasing population and pollution of most of the sources of fresh water. The UN has predicted that 1.8 billion people will be living in regions that will face water scarcity by 2025.
Oil is one of the most basic natural resources required for global development. However, at our current rate of consumption, it will run out in another 46.2 years. The same holds true for natural gas, which will run out in 58.6 years if we continue to use it at current levels.
These are only some facts about the depletion of natural resources. All the figures given here are dependent upon how much of these resources we use currently. The problem with this model of prediction is that with a global population that will hit 8 billion soon and will continue to increase afterward, resources will be consumed faster. The fact is that unless we regulate the consumption of resources we are likely to run out of them much sooner than we realize.
Essay 2 (400 Words)
Modern society uses a huge amount of natural resources, whether they are clean water or fossil fuels. However, our dependency on these resources is increasing but the actual amounts of the resources are decreasing because we are using them faster than they can be replaced. The ramifications of this depletion are being felt far and wide not only on an economic level but also on a socio-political level. We need to find solutions before these resources inevitably run out.
Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependency
When we generally talk about reducing fossil fuel dependency we tend to look at reducing the use of electricity, which is produced using fossil fuels, and gasoline. Therefore, individuals and organizations can both contribute to this reduction. Solutions such as carpooling, using energy star appliances, purchasing locally grown food that isn’t transported over long distances and using vehicles with higher mileage are all things that we as individuals can do. Organizations and governments need to start looking into alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind.
Water is seen as a renewable resource and since it is necessary to human survival, it is used extensively. However, the fact is that the world’s freshwater supplies cannot keep up with the increase in population. Add to this the pollution of freshwater bodies such as rivers and lakes and we have a massive problem. Individuals can contribute to resolving water depletion by ensuring that water leaks are promptly detected, tap water isn’t allowed to run unnecessarily and soaps and detergents that don’t pollute water are used. Industries need to invest in technology that takes care of toxic waste instead of merely dumping them in the closest water bodies.
We have managed to cut down half the world’s forest cover since industrialization, a state of matters that cannot be allowed to continue. Simply by using less paper, we can reduce the number of trees that are cut down annually for this purpose. Alternative materials for furniture and other items must be used. We also need to start planting more trees to replace the ones that are cut down.
These are some of the ways in which the problem of natural resource depletion can be tackled. Only a concerted effort by people, industries and governments will show appreciable results. It is time to think beyond profit and convenience. If we do not do so now, it will be too late when we do start.
Essay 3 (500 Words)
The human population on earth is increasing by leaps and bounds. The more people there are on this planet, the more resources they need to survive and thrive. However, the planet comes with finite resources – resources that are being consumed at an exponential rate. Even renewable resources such as water and soil are being consumed at a far higher rate than they can be replaced. The inevitable result of this is the depletion of essential natural resources which will have some profound consequences for humanity and for the planet.
Effects of Natural Resources Depletion
We need various minerals to provide housing, clothing, and food to the increasing population. The Industrial Revolution heralded large-scale exploitation of minerals and the rates of consumption have only increased since. It is projected that minerals such as gas, copper, and zinc will see a decline in production over the next 20 years due to a lack of availability. Aluminum, coal, and iron will face a similar decline during the present century.
Oil is fundamental to today’s global industrial economy. However, oil reserves are projected to run out soon and the peak oil period, the period when we reach the maximum rate of petroleum extraction globally, is very close. Once we hit this period, oil production will start declining. The effects of this will be widespread. Prices of liquid fuel are bound to increase and those prices will be volatile. This will, in turn, affect not only economies but society and even global politics.
Forests are an essential natural resource; however, we have cut down around half of the world’s forests for agriculture, industrialization, and housing. The impact of this uncontrolled deforestation is staggering. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased, water cycles have been altered, fertile layers of soil have been eroded and biodiversity has decreased.
Water is the most necessary natural resource of them all. We wouldn’t survive a week without it. Naturally, it is the resource that has seen the highest amount of exploitation. At the moment, most of our freshwater supplies come from ground-water, which is non-renewable. It is also unevenly distributed which has political, social and survival effects. Countries are ready to go to war over sources of water. People immigrate to other countries if they run out of the water on their own. However, the biggest concern is the depletion of global supplies. We may soon be facing a time when we do not have enough water to drink or use for farming, causing famine on a very large scale.
Whenever we use something up before it can be replaced, we run out. This is basic common sense. However, in the interests of global development, we have been using up our natural resources as though they are infinite, which they are definitely not. Unless we become more responsible and learn to balance the preservation of resources with economic development we will soon face a time when we simply won’t have resources to exploit. Regulation and use of alternative resources are essential to halt and perhaps reverse resource depletion.
Essay 4 (600 Words)
The natural resource is the name given to all the resources that are freely available in nature without human intervention. These range from electrical, magnetic and gravitational properties and forces to sunlight, air, water, minerals, soils, oil, trees, vegetation, and even animals. We can see in our surrounding, the earth has plenty of natural resources.
Depletion of Natural Resources
There are two types of resources available – renewable and non-renewable. Renewable resources are resources that are replaced over time and, therefore, can be used repeatedly. Some good examples are water, wind, and sunlight. Non-renewable resources are resources that are finite; they either cannot be replaced or are replaced very slowly. A resource is depleted when it is consumed faster than it is replaced. Either type of resource can be depleted if its rate of consumption is higher than its rate of replacement.
Causes of Depletion of Natural Resources
Some of the major causes of depletion of natural resources are:
- Growth of Population – Population growth is the leading cause of the depletion of natural resources. Simply put, the more people there are on the planet, the more resources they consume. Sooner or later, resources are consumed faster than they can be replaced. In our quest for convenience and comfort, we have exploited many of the resources available to us with little thought to their replenishment. A perfect example of this is water. Even though 70 percent of the earth is covered in water, we have exploited the resource and polluted it so much that today water fit for human consumption is becoming scarce.
- Deforestation – One of the most abundant natural resources available to us are forests. They perform various functions such as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, holding the soil together and even affecting the rainfall. As we cut down forests for the wood, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, slowly increasing global temperatures. This, in turn, affects climate patterns and, therefore, rainfall. In addition, the soil that was held together by the roots of these trees is also swept away. This eventually turns vast forests into deserts.
- Use of Fossil Fuels – Fossil fuels are fuels such as coal and oil that are formed from a dead animal and plant life facing enormous pressure and temperatures under the earth. Since the Industrial Revolution, these fuels have been essential to every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, since it takes them hundreds of thousands of years to form, they are not easily renewable. To make matters worse, we are consuming them at a very fast rate. Our population is also growing exponentially and the demand for these fuels is increasing whilst their supply is decreasing.
- Pollution – When substances that are poisonous or harmful to the environment are introduced into the sad environment, they can have lasting and, sometimes, permanent effects. This introduction is called pollution. Pollution affects air, water, and land making it one of the most insidious and dangerous causes of resource depletion since it attacks the basic resources we need to survive. The problem is that most of the pollution in the modern age has been a direct or indirect result of human activities. Factories spewing smoke, cars venting out exhaust fumes, disposal of toxic chemicals into water bodies and into the air – all these activities pollute and leave behind resources that are not only unusable but also harmful.
These are some of the major causes of the depletion of natural resources on our planet. We are finally waking up to the fact that everything on our planet is finite and our overconsumption of these resources will leave us without the means to survive very shortly. We have swung into action but a lot more needs to be done before things can be changed.