The flight of natural resources
Natural resources are those that are found naturally in the environment. It can be biotic or abiotic. It can be renewable or non-renewable. It can be exhaustive or non-exhaustive. It can be real or potential.
Natural resources can be classified into abiotic and biotic. Abiotic resources encompass non-living things like land, water, air, and minerals and ores like iron, copper, gold, silver, etc. Biotic resources are related to those that can be obtained from the biosphere and have implicit organic elements, such as forests and their products, birds, animals and marine organisms, including fish. Coal and oil are derived from decomposing organic materials and therefore fall into this category.
Natural resources can be classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. Renewable resources can be reproduced, replenished and are not exhaustible. Sunlight, water, air, wind, agricultural products, including forest products. Its availability and quantity are not depleted by human consumption. Some of these may be depleted for the time being and easily replenished. Some may take longer. Forests, for example, take longer to return to their current state, as trees take 20-30 years to mature. The water is replenished according to the climatic cycle of the specific region. Agricultural crops can reproduce more than twice in a year. Non-renewable natural resources consist of fossil fuels and minerals, which are so named because the rate of consumption is much faster than their rate of recovery.
Natural resources can also be divided into actual and potential. All natural resources that have been identified in terms of quality and quantity are real. These resources are acquired and used. There may be actual resources held in reserve for future use. We often hear keywords like forest reserve, coal reserve, etc. The most fascinating type of natural resource is the potential natural resource. We may not know the exact quality and quantity, but we do have scientific validation of such presence. Offshore oil exploration and mineral mapping around the world are case examples. We have added universal floating debris around earth, moon and mars in this category where we hope for some positive outcome and ways to acquire.
Some of the natural resources are being exploited to the point where there is a fear that they will be depleted or completely extinct. Natural resource industries such as oil, coal mining, hunting, fishing, and forestry are in danger zone due to over-extraction without adequate time for natural restoration. Many species of animals, birds, sea creatures, trees, plants, bushes, shrubs are on the verge of extinction.
Public awareness is raised through various measures, some of which are statutory. States have enforced various statutes against illegal mining. There are several forest and animal protection laws. A course of scientific study, namely Conservation Biology, has been introduced. This focuses on the study of the state and nature of biodiversity and the ways and means to protect the species, its habitat and the ecosystem from extinction. There is a complete course on natural resource management that deals with the management of natural resources and describes the improvement in the quality of life for the present and the future. These courses are part of the sustainable environmental development program.
People’s lives and a country’s economy depend heavily on natural resource banks. Unless an alternative is presented, there is little chance of substantial protection of natural resources from extinction. An alternative is the exploration of unlimited renewable natural resources such as solar radiation, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc. Organic fuels such as ethanol are being investigated for commercial exploitation. We have not yet been able to tame rainwater for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. Due importance is being given to rainwater harvesting. There are forest and marine sanctuaries to protect animals and birds.
There is yet another alternative. Our space exploration may, in the near future, open doors for the importation of precious minerals. Earth, its moon, and the other planets were born from similar debris floating around the Sun. There are many reasons why precious minerals are also abundant. It is possible that we will find some more elements that are more precious and productive than those that have been found on Earth. That the history of the wars for the control of non-renewable energies does not repeat itself. We must learn to “live and let live” so that Star Trek does not become Star Wars.