Last Updated 07 Jul 2020

Analyze the Natural Resources Essay

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Natural resource Natural resources (economically referred to as land or raw materials) are naturally forming substances that are considered valuable in their relatively unmodified (natural) form. A natural resource's value rests in the amount and extractability of the material available and the demand for it. The latter is determined by its usefulness to production. A commodity is generally considered a natural resource when the primary activities associated with it are extraction and purification, as opposed to creation.

Thus, mining, petroleum extraction, fishing, hunting, and forestry are generally considered natural-resource industries, while agriculture is not. The term was introduced to a broad audience by E. F. Schumacher in his 1973 book Small is Beautiful. [1] The term is defined by the United States Geological Survey as "The Nation's natural resources include its minerals, energy, land, water, and biota. "[2] | | Classification of natural forms Natural resources are mostly classified into renewable and non-renewable resources.

Sometimes resources are classified as non-renewable even if they are technically renewable, just not easily renewed within a reasonable amount of time, such as fossil fuels. Non-renewable resources Main article: Non-renewable resource Some non-renewable resources can be renewable but take an extremely long time to renew. Fossil fuels, for example, take millions of years to form and so are not practically considered 'renewable'. Different non-renewable resources like oil, coal, natural gas etc. have different levels of demand from different sectors like transportation and residences with each resource specializing for each sector. 3] Many environmentalists propose a tax on consumption of non renewable resources. Non-renewable resources cannot be replaced or can only be replaced over thousands or millions of years. Natural capital Natural resources are natural capital converted to commodity inputs to infrastructural capital processes. [4][5] They include soil, timber, oil, minerals, and other goods harvested from the Earth. Both extraction of the basic resource and refining it into a purer, directly usable form, (e. g. , metals, refined oils) are generally considered natural-resource activities, even though the latter may not necessarily occur near the former.

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This process generates high profits due to the high demand for the natural resources and the energies that they are able to generate. A nation's natural resources often determine its wealth in the world economic system and its diplomatic, military, and political influence. Developed nations are those which are less dependent on natural resources for wealth, due to their greater reliance on infrastructural capital for production. However, some see a resource curse whereby easily obtainable natural resources could actually hurt the prospects of a national economy by fostering political corruption.

Political corruption can negatively impact the national economy because time is spent giving bribes or other economically unproductive acts instead of the generation of generative economic activity. This has been seen over the years with legislation passed to appease companies who will benefit. There also tends to be concentrations of ownership over specific plots of land that have proven to yield natural resources. In recent years, the depletion of natural capital and attempts to move to sustainable development have been a major focus of development agencies.

This is of particular concern in rainforest regions, which hold most of the Earth's natural biodiversity - irreplaceable genetic natural capital. Conservation of natural resources is the major focus of natural capitalism, environmentalism, the ecology movement, and green politics. Some view this depletion as a major source of social unrest and conflicts in developing nations. Types of resources Natural Resources Natural resources are derived from the environment. Many of them are essential for our survival while others are used for satisfying our wants.

Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. On the basis of origin, resources may be divided into: • Biotic - Biotic resources are the ones which are obtained from the biosphere. Forests and their products, animals, birds and their products, fish and other marine organisms are important examples. Minerals such as coal and petroleum are also included in this category because they were formed from decayed organic matter. • Abiotic - Abiotic resources comprise of non-living things. Examples include land, water, air and minerals such as gold, iron, copper, silver etc.

On the basis of the stage of development, natural resources may be called: • Potential Resources - Potential resources are those which exist in a region and may be used in the future. For example, mineral oil may exist in many parts of India having sedimentary rocks but till the time it is actually drilled out and put into use, it remains a potential resource. • Actual Resources are those which have been surveyed, their quantity and quality determined and are being used in present times. For example, the petroleum and the natural gas which is obtained from the Bombay High Fields.

The development of an actual resource, such as wood processing depends upon the technology available and the cost involved. That part of the actual resource which can be developed profitably with available technology is called a reserve. On the basis of renewability, natural resources can be categorized into: • Renewable Resources - Renewable resources are the ones which can be replenished or reproduced easily. Some of them, like sunlight, air, wind, etc. , are continuously available and their quantity is not affected by human consumption.

Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer. • Non-renewable Resources - Non-renewable resources are formed over very long geological periods. Minerals and fossils are included in this category. Since their rate of formation is extremely slow, they cannot be replenished once they get depleted. Out of these, the metallic minerals can be re-used by recycling them.

But coal and petroleum cannot be recycled. On the basis of ownership,resources can be classified into:individual,community,national,and international Individual resources: Human resources Human beings are also considered to be resources because they have the ability to change raw materials into valuable resources. The term Human resources can also be defined as the skills, energies, talents, abilities and knowledge that are used for the production of goods or the rendering of services. While taking into account human beings as resources, the following things have to be kept in mind: • The size of the population The capabilities of the individuals in that population Resource use and sustainable development Many resources cannot be consumed in their original form. They have to be processed in order to change them into more usable commodities. This is known as resource development. With the rise in human numbers all over the world, the demand for resources has also increased. However, there is a difference in distribution of resources to different regions or countries. Developed countries use more resources than developing countries. The rising demand coupled with the over-consumption of resources has led to several problems: • Resource depletion Accumulation of resources in the hands of a few • Environmental degradation • Tragedy of the commons • Resource curse Uses of our Natural Resources Rock and mineral resources have a wide variety of uses and play a huge role in our lives The Mineral Information Institute has a poster showing how much of a variety of minerals each person uses in his or her lifetime. Minerals are important to our health. We need small amounts of a wide variety of minerals. Minerals found in Tennessee which people need include: calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, copper, fluoride, iron, and zinc.

Coal, oil and natural gas provide us with almost all of the energy we use to light, heat and run our world. Minerals are ingredients in almost all of the products we use from fertilizer to plastics, from toothpaste to kitty litter, from knives to plates. Minerals are common ingredients in pigments. In fact, some of the earliest uses of minerals were as pigments. Minerals also play an important role in the processing of materials. Bentonite is important in well drilling, Barite is important in oil drilling. Fluorite is important in making steel |Resource |How are our resources used? characteristics exploited) | |Barite |Used in oil drilling to weigh down the oil and prevent gushers (high specific gravity), filler in paint, glass, | | |toothpaste. | |Chert |Used to make stone tools. (hardness, fracture patterns). Used as fill to provide a stable base for roads | | |(insolubility) | |Clay |Used to make pottery and bricks.

Used for pet litter (ability to absorb water) | |Chalcopyrite (copper)|Copper is used to make electrical wiring (electrical conductivity). Used in alloys - bronze and brass (low | | |melting point, beauty, resistance to oxidation) Used as an ingredient in pigments (blue and green) | |Coal |Used as a fuel (flammable). The oils and tars produced processing coal are processed into a variety of organic | | |solvents and compounds such as plastics, motor fuel, photo developer, perfume, medicine, and sugar substitute. |Fluorite |Used as a flux - i. e. used as an intermediate chemical to separate metals from waste material. Another important | | |product made from fluorite is hydrofluoric acid, which is used in the pottery, optics, and plastics industry. | | |Fluorite is also used in making opalescent glass and in enameling cookware. | |Galena (lead) |The largest use of lead is in automotive batteries. It is also used as weights (high specific gravity).

Used as | | |an ingredient in solder (soft, low melting point. ). Until recently it was also used as an ingredient in paint and| | |as an additive in gasoline to make engines run more smoothly. | |Gypsum |Gypsum is primarily used to make wallboard. It is also an ingredient in cement. | |Ilmenite (titanium) |Titanium is used in alloys to make strong light-weight materials - space ships, bicycles Used to make white paint| | |- non-toxic replacement for lead, which used to be used for this purpose. low reactivity) | |Iron |Iron is used for tools, for appliances, for building supports. It is also used as a pigment (red and ochre) | |Limestone |Limestone is used as building stone, for ornamental stone for surfaces and sculpture, to make cement and mortar, | | |as crushed stone for fill | |Mussel Shells |Mussel shells were used as ceremonial objects.

European Americans have used shells as ornaments - buttons and | | |pearls for jewelry. | |Oil/Natural Gas |Oil and natural gas are used as fuels and ingredients in the chemical industry to produce petroleum based | | |products notably plastics. | |Phosphate |Phosphate is used as a fertilizer and to make phosphoric acid which is a major ingredient in food products such | | |as cola drinks. | |Saltpeter |Saltpeter was used as a fertilizer (source of nitrogen) and as an ingredient in gunpowder.

It has now been | | |replaced by the related compound ammonium nitrate which can be manufactured in the laboratory. | |Sand & Gravel |Sand and gravel are used as fill to provide a stable foundation for buildings and roads. | |Sandstone |Sandstone is used as a building material. | |Sphalerite (zinc) |Zinc is used as an ingredient in brass (with copper). It is used to coat (galvanize) iron implements to protect | | |them from rusting.

It is used as a pigment (white) | Natural resources are raw materials we use to make other products. These include trees, minerals, aquatic life, gravel, coal, and many others. How can businesses remove these resources from an area and still maintain a working landscape? Responsible businesses know that they can make money producing products or gathering natural resources while they minimize the damage to their surroundings. Take a look at some products and possible damage from forestry, mining, and aquaculture.

Forestry The forest industry is made up of businesses involved in the growing and harvesting of trees and other plant life from forests. |Products |Damages | |wood products |They provide lumber or timber for |clearcutting |Removing a large block of trees exposes ground, which is| | |building houses, boats, decks, and | |vulnerable to soil erosion. | |furniture. | | | |paper |They create pulp to make paper and |log jams |Over cutting may result in logs piling up and blocking | | |paper products. | |the natural flow of water. | |Christmas trees |They grow, cut, and sell Christmas |lost recreational |Forest landscapes are degraded. Who wants to visit a | | |trees. value |forest with no trees, or a river clogged with trees? | |landscaping |They fulfill our landscaping needs |lost renewable |New trees may not be planted. Forests are not renewable | | |with trees and plants. |resource |resources unless trees are planted to replace the trees | | | | |cut down. This also displaces wildlife. | Mining

Mining is the process or business of removing ore, soil, rock, and minerals from the ground or from mountains. |Products |Damages | |Coins |Historically and currently used as |Reclamation | | |money. |Reclamation means restoring land that has been altered.

Mining pits must be | | | |reclaimed after mining operations cease. Poor mining practices can destroy the| | | |environment and cost taxpayers a lot of money in clean-up. | | | |Habitat destruction | | | |Animal habitats are destroyed and biodiversity is compromised. | | |Pollution | | | |Mining by-products, called tailings, can pollute our air and water. | |Gold/Silver Standards|Influence the value of currency. | | |Fossil Fuels |Provide fuel by burning. | |Nutrition |Minerals are often used in vitamins. | | |Building Materials |Provide materials used in | | | |construction like aluminum and | | | |concrete. | |Jewelry |Gold, silver, diamonds and other | | | |precious stones provide material for | | | |jewelry. | |Gravel |Gravel is used to build roads and is | | | |mixed into cement to form concrete. | | Aquaculture Aquaculture is the business of raising marine or freshwater fish or shellfish under controlled conditions. |Products |Damages | |Oyster |Netpens |  |Areas of waterways that are lined off by nets; these result in large quantities of waste (just like other forms of intensive | | |animal production). | | | | | |Aquaculture Waste | | |Processing wastes are often released directly into natural bodies of water. | | | | |Protein | | |Many fish are carnivorous—they eat meat. The food provided in fish farms may not contain meat protein. The fish who eat this | | |food do not possess the same amount of protein as their natural counterparts. This can result in a less healthy fish. | | | | |Mangroves | | |Fishing operations (shrimp farms in particular) have damaged mangroves—trees and shrubs forming buffering boundaries between | | |land and saltwater environments. (This is an important ecosystem along coastlines. | |Clams | | |  | | |Shrimp | | |  | | |Lobster | | |  | | |Salmon | | |  | | |Trout | | |  | |

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