Depleting Natural Resources Essay
Natural resources are defined as the materials that are occurring in nature and found within our environment and lays somewhat uninterrupted by human beings. Basically, natural resources refer to the land and any other resources that are to be found on and in the earth’s surface. Natural resources are usually categorized into renewable and nonrenewable resources. The natural resources are exploited by mankind in an effort to improve his living condition. In the process of exploitation of these resources, depletion becomes eminent as humans are known to utilize the natural resources at a rate that outstretches the replacement rate.
This results in what is referred to as resource depletion. Human activities that are likely to lead to natural resource depletion include farming, mining, fossil fuel, and fishing among others. This paper shall explore the concept of natural resource depletion in the world today and what the future holds in regard to the same. Natural Resource Depletion: There is no argument about the fact that the natural resources found in earth are finite, thus when they are used in a continuous manner, they are bound to be exhausted.
Natural resources are very important in sustaining human existence on the earth’s surface. Ever since humans inhabited the earth, they have been using the natural resources to sustain their existence. Initially, the effects of exploiting the natural resources were not great as the human population was low (Weintraub, et al, 2007). However, over the years, the depletion of the resources has been on a steady increase due to the increasing population. With the world population standing at over six billion individuals, the strenuous effects the high population has had on the natural resources are rampant.
The increasing human population and the excessive exploitation of the natural resources have led to far reaching changes on the surface of the earth (Grafton, et al, 2004). Every year, there is shrinking forest and grassland cover as the rivers, lakes, seas and oceans are endangered with poisonous pollution. Industrial emissions, fossil fuel burning and increased incidences of forest fires have continued to contribute to the rising levels of carbon dioxide gas within the atmosphere.
This has led to the depletion of the ozone layer responsible for filtration of the hazardous Ultra Violet rays. In a nut shell, depletion of natural resources has reached a startling rate and if no action is going to be taken in the immediate future, then the future of the world as a whole is bleak (Grafton, et al, 2004). Causes: Natural resource depletion can be attributed to many factors which in most cases centers on human activity. Depletion of natural resources may result from the extreme and/or the uncalled for utilization of the resources.
It may also result from lack of equity in the distribution of the natural resources. Overpopulation has also been identified as a major cause of natural resource depletion as it adds pressure to the available finite resources. Human activities especially agricultural based like forest clearing and burning aimed at increasing agricultural land is a major contributor to the depletion of natural resources especially in the third world where agriculture is the backbone of the economy (Weintraub, et al, 2007).
The technological and industrial advancement in the western world is also a major setback to the natural resources. Raw materials are required for these industries leading to depletion of the natural resources and also the chemical and smoke that are emitted from the these industries are harmful to the environment. These leads to the depletion of natural resources as the ozone layer is destroyed, rivers are clogged from the industrial wastes, other water resources are polluted with the industrial chemicals (Weintraub, et al, 2007).
Other human activities that lead to resource depletion include mining for fossil fuel and other mineral resources that leads to environmental degradation. Other activities lead to erosion, irrigation, drainage of wetlands, and deforestation which have far reaching repercussions to the biodiversity and the environment in general (Grafton, et al, 2004). The future: The future prosperity of the earth is endangered with the increasing irresponsible utilization of resources.
The impacts of the depletion are already being felt as reflected in the skyrocketing prices for food, water and energy (Weintraub, et al, 2007). The industrial societies have the obligation to manage environmental resources in order to curb the dangers posed by the depletion of the natural resources. According to the Vital Signs Project Director; “the world is running out of time to head off catastrophic climate change, and it is essential that Europe and the rest of the international community bring pressure to bear on U. S.
policymakers to address the climate crisis,” (Shapley, 2007, para 2). The US has been identified as the world’s leading in carbon emissions that result from burnt fossil fuel accounting for over 21 percent of the emissions in 2005. Depletion of natural resources have impacted on the global climate as seen in increased fire outbreaks, flooding, and global warming being witnessed in the world today (Shapley, 2007).
Conclusion: There is no doubt that the global natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate and the effects have started being felt across the globe. There is need for quick intervention to save the world from the dreaded impacts of the human errors in over-utilizing the natural resources. Natural resource depletion has led to the massive losses in the ecological setup through reckless human activities that seek instant gratification with little regard for the future generation. We need to live responsibly and come up with innovative technologies that would increase the productivity of the natural resources and encourage the use of recycling technologies.