There are different natural resources that can be found in our environment and some of them are used for satisfying our daily needs while others are needed for our survival on this earth. Right from forests, mountains, air, water to minerals, each of them has their own importance and conserving them using the right methods must be a top priority for humans. With the increasing pressure of population growth and the number of industries, the need for natural resources is increasing constantly over the years. There is an inherent danger of these resources getting depleted soon if we do not find ways of preserving them for the future. Here we look at some of the most valuable natural resources that will deplete soon from our environment:
Forests are one of the most valuable natural resources that provide food, shelter, fuel, medicinal supplies, timber, and paper. They play a vital role in providing a natural habitat for animal species and the main issue is related to their depletion on account of human activities such as land conversion, burning and using timber for housing and construction activities. Depletion of some of these forest resources can have detrimental effects on the climate, soil conservation and biodiversity with reduction of green spaces in the environment.
Soil is made up of different nutrients and is a vital natural resource that can help plants to grow by providing nourishment. Scientists have warned against the risks associated with soil erosion along with climate change for the humans in the coming years. Farming and agriculture have been disrupting carbon ratio in the soil over several years, which has the ability to mitigate the long-term effects of emission of greenhouse gasses that results due to burning of fossil fuels.
8. Mineral Resources
Iron, steel, aluminum, carbon, silicon, zinc, and copper are some of the valuable natural resources that have grown in demand over the years, due to industrialization. Iron has a limited supply and was used in the earlier centuries in weapons and now for the modern buildings, transportation and construction of infrastructure. On account of the heavy demand in the modern day industries, the natural reserves of these ores are also slowly getting depleted due to excessive mining activities.
7. Phosphate and other minerals
Gypsum, Bauxite, Mica, Titanium, zirconium and phosphate are some of the essential minerals that can be found in the seabeds. There are some rare earth elements such as scandium and terbium which are used in most of our modern age devices as electric circuits in smartphones. They are also used in magnets, wind turbines and the high demand and consumption of these resources will result in their scarcity over the coming years.
Phosphorus is the main source for growing all the food items and it is derived from phosphate rock. It can be found only in three places in the world mainly the US, China and Morocco. Besides, phosphorus is the core component that can be found in chemical fertilizers which are used for growing crops and foodgrains. It is possible to recycle phosphorus from animal waste, but it’s not a cost-effective method on a larger scale. The estimated life span of these resources are about a 100 years and new substitutes may have to be found in the coming years.
5. Natural Gas
Fossil fuels like petroleum and natural gas require an extensive geological and lengthy process and it is estimated that by 2050, most of the sources of fuels will vanish from the earth. Natural gas may be a bit better than oil and may last for about 60 years. Gas is emerging to be a better alternative than oil but its increasing consumption can make it scarce as well in the coming years. The natural gas which is made up of hydrocarbons has methane and used for different purposes of cooking, generating electricity as well as heating.
Oil is a natural resource and a non-renewable resource that can take many many years before it can be replenished owing to the slow and long process of natural formation. At the current rate of consumption, oil reserves will continue to decline over the world and the resources may be just enough for 30-40 years. There are new methods as well as new oil fields that are being discovered, but according to geologists, there is no way that there can be an unlimited supply of oil and it may lead to a crisis situation over the coming years.
Coal is one of the most widely used fossils fuels which is cheapest and non-renewable resource on the earth. Besides, coal is one of the major causes of air pollution which has led to numerous discussions on this topic over the years. The supply of coal is estimated to last for another 200 years and with the rising consumption of coal, it is bound to be a scarce fuel in the future.
Pure and clean air is necessary for the existence of humans, plants and wildlife and improving their health and lifespan over the years. Air pollution is the biggest risk that can cause serious respiratory problems and have hazardous effects on the surrounding environment. The burning of fossil fuels, exhaust from factories and industries, mining and toxic fumes and chemicals are some of the leading causes of air pollution. The best way to conserve this natural resource is by using energy efficient devices, eco-friendly sources of energy, reduce wastage by reusing and careful disposal of waste to reduce the harm to the environment.
It is a fact that almost 70% of the earth’s surface is compromised of water, but unfortunately, only 2.5% of that water is pure water which is fit for consumption. The small percentage of fresh water can be found in the form of ice or snow. Due to the result of the climate changes, the quantities of rain and ice during winter have declined the reserves of fresh water supplies that can be treated. The Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations has made a prediction that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will not have any access to drinking water.