Top Most Exploited Natural Resources on Earth

The world supply of natural resources is shrinking every year. One of the reasons for the decline is that the global middle class is expanding, and people are striving to improve their standard of living. In addition, there is an increase in the planet’s population, and by 2050, humanity is projected to grow to 9 billion.

Therefore, the problem of saving resources is becoming more and more urgent. For example, to cover the demand of a growing population for agricultural products, it will be necessary to increase production by 70%. It requires resources, including soil and water. For this reason, it is so important to introduce new sustainable agricultural practices, including soil solarization.

Soil

Soil is vital for humanity to produce agricultural products, energy sources, and industrial raw materials. Also, this resource is essential for the functioning of ecosystems, and however, it is rapidly depleted due to chemical pollution, erosion, industrial pollution, and inefficient agricultural practices.

It can take a millennium to create a 1-centimeter layer of soil. At the same time, over the past 150 years, a third of the topsoil worldwide has been lost. One of the reasons for the rapid degradation of soil is the use of pesticides for growing monocultures.

Water

Water is the resource thanks to which life exists on our planet. Freshwater is one of the renewable resources. However, most drinking water comes from underground sources, which are also slowly renewed and subject to depletion. In addition, the purity of the water is threatened by human activities. Pollution, climate change, deforestation, and urban growth affect the quantity and quality of water.

Replenishing natural reservoirs and other freshwater sources with rainwater cannot fully compensate for water loss due to pollution. For example, 80% of rural wells in China are polluted. Climate change is also causing water shortages, as in the Middle East, which has experienced severe drought in the past few years.

Fossil fuels

Even though fossil fuels are the primary energy source for humanity, many problems are associated with them. In particular, the burning of fossil fuels is causing climate change due to the massive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Another negative consequence of using this resource is air pollution, from which people die. Oil production can cause pollution of the marine environment, and natural gas causes water pollution and earthquakes. Coal mining and use also contribute to air and groundwater pollution.

Forests

Forests play a vital role in the life of our planets. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, which is why forests can be called the lungs of the earth. In addition, trees filter water, are home to many living organisms, and create and maintain various ecosystems.

However, despite all the valuable functions that trees perform, they are still under constant threat of deforestation. More than half of the world’s rainforests were deforested in the last century. Various industries, including building and agriculture, contribute to deforestation. However, unregulated illegal logging poses a particular danger. As a result of deforestation, large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide into the air occur.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is one of the most versatile foods around. In addition, it is pretty cheap and is used in various fields, from cooking to the cosmetic industry. However, its cultivation causes enormous damage to the environment and depletes the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. It leads to massive carbon emissions and the extinction of various animal species, including elephants and orangutans.

Final thoughts

Natural resources are necessary for civilization for life and development. Many non-renewable resources are the mainstay of our daily life. For this reason, we need to treat them with care and use them rationally to preserve the planet and the conditions for our existence. People can protect and conserve resources every day. To do this, we can recycle used plastic, metal, and paper for safe recycling and use energy more efficiently.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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