In this lesson we’re going to talk about natural resources. Natural resources are materials or substances that occur in nature, and that people can use. There are only limited amounts of some natural resources such as coal and natural gas, and we need to learn how to conserve them.
Author: Subject Coach
Added on: 30th Sep 2018
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In this presentation we’re going to talk about natural resources. Natural resources are materials or substances that occur in nature, and that people can use. There are only limited amounts of some natural resources such as coal and natural gas, and we need to learn how to conserve them.
In this presentation, we’re going to start by defining natural resources and giving some examples of them. We’ll then look at the different types of natural resources. There are renewable resources, that is resources that can be replenished at the same rate or a greater rate than the rate they are used, and non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources are the resources that we can potentially run out of because we use them more quickly than they can be replenished. Finally, we’ll look at the times it takes for different natural resources to regenerate.
So, what are natural resources? They’re the resources that occur naturally in our environment. Generally, there’s enough of them present that we can use them without too much worry about running out of them, so long as we’re careful. If we over use some natural resources, we can end up with shortages. Some examples of natural resources are coal, oil, water, air, wind and sunlight.
This slide shows some more things that are considered to be natural resources. They occur naturally in nature, so we don’t need to come up with artificial ways of manufacturing them. On the slide we see soil, which we use for growing plants, plants which we use for food and housing, animals, water and rocks.
There are two types of natural resources: non-renewable resources and renewable resources. The non-renewable resources are the ones we mainly need to worry about when we think about conservation.
Non-renewable resources are natural resources that are used more quickly than they can be replaced. For example, coal and oil deposits took millions of years to form, but we are using them very quickly. They are non-renewable resources.
Let’s have a look at some non-renewable resources. Fossil fuels are an important example of non-renewable resources. It takes millions of years for fossil fuel deposits to form. Some examples include coal, petroleum and natural gas. We need to come up with ways to limit our use of these resources.
Renewable resources are resources that can be used repeatedly and replaced naturally over a relatively short period of time. Some, such as sunlight, air and wind ,are continuously available. Using them does not seem to change their quality. Others take a little longer to replenish. If we’re too irresponsible with how quickly we use resources such as timber, animals and fish, we are in danger of facing shortages and reducing populations to unsustainable levels.
Some examples of renewable resources are wood and plants. These grow naturally, and can be replaced, but we have to be careful not to overdo it. Water is another natural resource. It continuously moves around the planet in different forms.
It’s important not to make the mistake of thinking that, just because a resource is renewable, we’ll never run out of it. Many renewable resources will run out. For example, if we chop down all the trees in a forest, without replanting, we’ll very quickly run out of wood. Overfishing our oceans leads to shortages of various fish species. Resources are renewable if they can be easily made or renewed, but some resources can be replaced much more quickly and easily than others.
Let’s try a quick quiz.
Overusing natural resources results in depletion of them. We will eventually run out. This is particularly serious for non-renewable resources, but we also have to be careful with renewable resources like wood, fish and animals. In order to avoid this happening, we need to take care of our environment, and conserve our resources. This means using them wisely: cutting down any unnecessary use and reusing or recycling our resources where possible.
Fresh, clean water is a limited resource. Although we’re surrounded by salt water in Australia, we can’t drink it unless it is desalinised. Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is fresh. The amount of fresh water we have available in Australia can be further limited during times of drought, and the part of the country we live in. There are a number of ways we can save water. Some of them are shown on this slide. They include: turning off taps while you brush your teeth, scrub clothes or do the dishes; fixing leaking taps; taking a bath using a sponge and a bucket rather than using the shower; using water-saving dishwashers and washing machines; using tap aerators and low-flow toilets and showerheads; and recycling water. For example, you can reuse the water you use to wash vegetables to water plants.
Soil is another resource that needs conservation, particularly after land clearance has led to an increase in soil erosion. We can help prevent further soil loss by planting trees, using terraces on hillsides, employing responsible farming practices such as no-till farming, contour ploughing, and crop rotation, watering the soil, making sure we don’t kill off soil-nourishing organisms such as earth worms and planting indigenous, rather than imported crops.
Fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, oil and petroleum are in limited supply, and take millions of years to replenish. Therefore, it is very important to conserve them. This slide shows a number of ways in which we can reduce the amount of fuel that we use. Putting lids on saucepans while you boil water reduces cooking time. Another handy tip is to do the preparation of all your ingredients before you turn the stove on so that the electricity or gas isn’t running while you’re peeling the carrots. Motorists should switch off their cars while waiting at the traffic lights, and should further reduce their fuel-consumption by only using the air-conditioner when absolutely necessary. Reducing the speed at which you travel also reduces your food consumption. You can cut down your use of fuel even further by taking public transport, car pooling when public transport isn’t available and walking or cycling short distances. There are so many measures that all of us can take to cut down the amount of fossil fuels that we use.
Everything we use is made up of natural resources, so it’s important that we reduce waste and only use what’s absolutely necessary. There’s no need to buy a new drink bottle just to get one with the latest design. We need to be responsible with our resource use.
Every Australian produces about 2 tonnes of waste each year. That’s two tonnes of materials that use natural resources. We need to cut down on the amount of waste we produce and conserve our natural resources. We can do this by following the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. To reduce waste, we should look for products that can be used productively, recycled locally and have minimal packaging. We should reuse our containers, packaging and waste products. Finally, we need to recycle our waste materials into useable products. For example, glass is infinitely recyclable and paper can be recycled to make toilet paper.
In summary, we are surrounded by natural resources. These are things that are produced naturally that people can use. There are two main types: renewable and non-renewable resources. Renewable resources can be replenished naturally, but non-renewable resources can neither be remade nor regrown.
We need to be careful with the amount of natural resources we use, or we may run out of many things. We need to conserve our resources. In this presentation, we’ve discussed some ways to conserve water, soil and fuel. See if you can think of some other conservation measures that you can take at home. We can further reduce our use of natural resources by cutting down on waste. Some ways to do this are to follow the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, to come up with other uses for objects, or means of reprocessing them. We all have an important role to play in conserving our natural resources.