Natural resources are the substances or materials that naturally occur in an original and untouched form which can be explored for economic gains. They consist of everything that does not fall under the category of artificial creations. So, everything around us that exists and takes its course without any input from humans qualifies to be a natural resource. From rivers to precious minerals and stones the earth is clearly full of resources that happen on the planet, using their surroundings to help it take form.
Natural resources can either be renewable or non-renewable. The former include resources that can regenerate themselves with time and examples are living resources such as forests and non-living ones such as water, wind and solar energy. Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, are those that cannot be regenerated once they are exhausted. Examples are minerals
resources and fossil fuels. Renewable resources produce lower emissions and hence are less damaging to the environment.
Importance of natural resources
- Source of food; natural resources like agricultural products and naturally occurring items provide foods.
- Mobility; they are used to make and to power means of transport that include automobiles, water vessels, trains, and airplanes.
- Natural resources are used to construct housing and infrastructure. Houses, roads, public places and many other projects in cities are constructed from natural resources.
- They are used for educational purposes. Students visit geological sites and other magnificent natural features to learn various earth forming processes.
- Rivers provide water for irrigation. Farm produce grown on irrigated lands can be sold to realize income or processed into finished products.
- Natural resources create employment opportunities for people involved in tapping, transforming and preserving them.
- Water is essential for human life. We drink it, use it to prepare foods and utilize in the
construction of structures and properties.
- Hydroelectric power generation relies on the resources. The resulting electric power drives machines, light homes and are used for heating purposes.
- Naturally occurring valuable rocks and minerals can be exported to other countries thus helping the nation earn foreign exchange.
- Forests are sources of wood used to make different items such as seats, tables, and cupboards. They are also used in the manufacture of medical equipment.
- Fossil fuels besides being processed to provide fuels for different engines are processes into other useful forms such as cooking gas and bitumen using in road construction.
- Natural resources like mountains attract tourist who brings in foreign exchange thus helping the host country achieve a good balance of payment.
- They beautify the country. Naturally occurring features such as waterfalls and beaches provide picturesque sceneries that are captivating to behold.
- Renewable resources like wind and solar power are now being used to provide energy in the place of fossil fuels which are non-renewable and emit excessive harmful gases.
- Natural resources like lakes are homes to aquatic life while forests are habitats for land animals. The animals collectively contribute to biodiversity.
Natural resources come in various forms from rivers to fossil fuels to forests. Irrespective of the exact form, natural resources are very important to humanity. Given the excessive global emission released by non-renewable resources efforts must be put to replace the resources with renewable ones. Additionally, it is important that we all make an effort to utilize effectively and preserve all the natural resources.
By: Joni Kim