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Human sustainability-Resource Availability

Grade 9
May 22, 2023

Human Sustainability

Humans rely on natural resources because they use them as sources of energy and raw materials to manufacture products. For example, food is a natural resource that can be eaten in its natural state or processed form. Natural resources are materials found on Earth that can be utilized to keep people alive and satisfy their basic needs.

The two kinds of natural resources – are renewable and non-renewable. We must use natural resources wisely so that the supply lasts longer. A personbeing’se basic needs are food, clothing, and shelter. These necessities are necessary for survival. The body receives nutrients from food and water. We know that plants and animals provide food.

Plant products include fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts, whereas animal products include milk and eggs. Plants and animals require soil, water, air, and other natural resources. Although clothing and shelter are made from renewable natural resources, some products are made from non-renewable resources.

Basic needs of Human being

Clothes are made from plants and animal products. For example, cotton is obtained from cotton plants. Wool and leather are obtained from animals. Some clothing material is made from rayon; nylon is made from non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels and minerals.

We want the shelter to remain safe in intense weather and unwanted situations. Therefore, shelter involves using renewable resources such as wood, water, and minerals in bricks, concrete, and other construction materials.


Non-renewable resources used during house construction include roofing materials, plumbing materials, electrical fixtures, and so on.

We all rely on the EarthEarth’s, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for a variety of resources.

Energy Resources

The majority of people rely on natural resources such as petroleum fuels such as oil or natural gas. Petroleum is an Earth material. It forms inside the Earth and is burned to produce heat and electricity or made into gasoline. In addition, there fuels such as coal, uranium, and alternative energy (wind, tidal, solar) are used as energy resources.

Energy resources

Non-Metallic Resources

Another vital natural resource for us is rock. Sandstone, granite, and other types of bedrock created within and on the Earth are used to construct our schools, homes, resorts, and skyscrapers.

We use cement, bricks, sand, gravel, gypsum, and other materials for construction. These are the resources we obtain from the Earth. Soil is another vital natural resource required to sustain all plant life on Earth.

Non-metallic Resources

Metallic Resources

Iron, copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, gold, silver, and many more are metallic resources considered valuable and essential for our modern society.

Metallic resources

Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources

Natural resources

Renewable Resources

Renewable resources, such as trees, water, sun, and wind, are natural resources that can be replenished almost as quickly as they are depleted. Unfortunately, renewable resources can be depleted if not adequately conserved.

Some common examples of renewable resources include:

  • Air (wind)
  • Freshwater
  • Soil
  • Living organisms (trees)
  • Sunlight


One of the very significant natural resources is water. To survive, all living things require fresh water. Most organisms can survive for days without food but only for a few days without water. Unfortunately, while water is a renewable resource, the availability of fresh surface water in some areas is limited.


EarthEarth’shwater is in the form of rainfall, ice sheets, and glaciers. However, ice sheets and glaciers are located far from the city. Hence the freshwater present in these forms is not available to many people.

Freshwater is obtained from running, standing, and groundwater and used for washing, drinking, and cooking. The ocean provides many natural resources to humans. The sea is a significant source of food and minerals. It also serves as a mode of transportation.

Ocean Water:

Although ocean water cannot be consumed, salt water is an essential natural resource. Water in oceans, estuaries, and saline wetlands is essential to these ecosystems. Pollution, oil spills, and other disruptions in these areas can potentially disrupt food chains and completely destroy plant and wildlife communities.

Running Water:

Many cities and towns are built near streams and rivers or any source of running water because people need a continuous water source for their daily activities such as cleaning, drinking, washing, cooking, schools, businesses, offices, etc.

Running water

Standing Water:

Lakes, ponds, and reservoirs are examples of standing freshwater. These bodies of water occupy the holes in the ground. Generally, lakes fill deep holes, whereas ponds are small and shallower than lakes. Therefore, ponds are not a reliable source of fresh water for people to use for drinking, cooking, etc.



A man-made lake used to store water is called a reservoir. Reservoirs are created by constructing a dam around a river. Water gets stored at the back of the dam and can be utilized when needed. To keep the water supply clean, activities such as swimming, cleaning clothes, and bathing are prohibited at many reservoirs.

Reservoir and Dam

Ground water

Communities like farms, homes, factories, offices, schools, etc., far from sources of freshwater, can take water from groundwater. The water beneath the EarthEarth’sace is called groundwater. Groundwater drips into the ground all through aquifers.

The aquifer is an underground rock or soil layer capable of absorbing water. However, when it percolates through the rock or soil layer, the water runs into a rock layer that does not absorb water. Then, the freshwater gets collected and forms a water table.

The water table level depends on the percolation of water from the EarthEarth’sace to the underground. Aquifers get filled with water all over a period of years. When water is used from the aquifers, it takes a long time to fill the aquifers. When underground water is very close to the surface, it is easy to use the fresh water by drilling or digging the wells into the ground.

Groundwater and Aquifer

Water shed

We know that when rain falls, 2/3rd of this rainwater gets evaporated and goes back into the air and a very small amount of water percolates into the grounds. The remaining rainwater goes into the river and then joins the ocean. The area of land where water drains into a particular waterbody, such as a river, lake, stream, or ocean, is called a watershed.


The advantage of a watershed is that it fills all water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and underground water levels, which people use. Watershed conservation is, therefore, critical. Plants aid in the regulation of water flows in a watershed.

The roots penetrate deep into the soil and anchor the plant. The soil can then absorb the water that runs down the mountain slopes and hills. If construction like roads and buildings are built in the watershed area, or plants are cut, then fewer plants will hold the water flow.


Soil is required for life on Earth. Plants and soil-dwelling organisms such as bacteria, worms, and fungi rely on soil for water and nutrients. In addition, soil serves as a medium for waste filtering and breakdown, and it plays an important role in cycling carbon and other elements across EarthEarth’sems.

Only a thin layer of soil, known as topsoil, can support plant life, including food crops. The topsoil layer can be damaged by erosion, pollution, and poor land management, reducing soil fertility and usability.

Living Organisms

Plants and animals are valuable renewable resources for humans. Plants and trees provide food and raw materials for various goods ranging from clothing and furniture to medicines and fuels. Animals offer food and other useful products to humans.

Plant matter and animal waste can be used to generate alternative energy. Because they are derived from living organisms, such energy sources are commonly referred to as biofuels.

Non-Renewable Resources

Non-renewable resources are the ones that are depleted faster than they can be replenished. Oil and natural gas, for example, take millions of years to form. Once non-renewable resources are extracted and used completely, they are gone forever.

Some common examples of non-renewable resources include:

  • Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
  • Diamonds and other precious gems and minerals
  • Types of metals and ores
Renewable and Non-renewable Resources

We all know that the Earth is abundant in natural resources that we rely on every day. Natural resources are any useful geologic material that can be taken from the planet. Sometimes, renewable resources can be depleted if we use them too fast.

The properties of EarthEarth’surces make them valuable and useful. The two properties are as follows:

  1. Physical properties include hardness, luster, color, texture, cleavage, and density.
  2. Chemical property: The ability to burn or react in the presence of acid.

Three of the most common earth resources that are valuable because of these properties are:

  1. Minerals: Natural, solid materials found on Earth that serve as the foundation for rocks. Each has a unique chemical composition and set of properties that determine its worth and utility (quartz, sapphires, talc, gypsum).
  2. Ores: Minerals mined for the presence of useful metals or nonmetals (iron, copper).
  3. Fossil Fuels: Natural fuels derived from the remains of living organisms. When fuel is burned, it emits energy (coal, peat, petroleum).

Fossil fuels

Coal, oil, and natural gas are known as fossil fuels because they are formed from ancient organic matter.

Coal is a sedimentary rock formed by decomposition and millions of years of compaction of ancient plant matter. Carbon-based coal is by far the most abundant fossil fuel on the planet. The eastern and midwestern United States have a lot of coal deposits formed around 300 million years ago when the area was located close to the equator.

Petroleum is a word used for both crude oil and natural gas. Crude oil is a thick, black-liquid mixture of hydrocarbons (compounds containing hydrogen and carbon) that form naturally from the buried remains of marine organisms.

Natural gas, which is gaseous, develops under identical circumstances. As a result, these two products account for the majority of US energy consumption:

Energy consumption resources in the United States in 2007.

Global energy Consumption

Fossil fuels got their name from the buried remains of ancient plants and animals that accumulated over millions of years. Coal and liquid petroleum (oil) are used in power plants all over the world to generate electricity.

Power heaters, machinery, and automobiles use oil and gasoline. In addition, Petroleum is a source of chemicals used in the production of plastics, synthetic fabrics, pharmaceuticals, and other goods. Natural gas is used to heat and cook food etc.

Formation of Fossil fuels

Rocks, Minerals, and Metals

The EarthEarth’st contains rocks, minerals, and metals. Quarrying is used to remove rocks; mining is used to remove minerals and metals. Rocks are used to construct houses and roads. Minerals and metals are used to make everything from household goods to paints, pipes and other building materials, computer chips, and more.

Uranium is a radioactive element found in the EarthEarth’st alongside many other minerals. Mining is the process by which uranium ore is extracted from the Earth. The mined ore is crushed, and the uranium is extracted chemically. Uranium ore is a critical component of nuclear fuel. One pound of uranium generates the same amount of energy as three million pounds (1.4 million kilograms) of coal.

Non-renewable inorganic resources like uranium, minerals, metals, and petroleum-derived products like plastics are not biodegradable. Because these materials cannot degrade naturally, they can last for hundreds of years in the environment if discarded.

Importance of Natural Resources

Natural resources are critical to human survival and development on this planet. The following are some of the benefits of natural resources in human life:

  • They give us the oxygen we need to breathe.
  • The land is used for agriculture and food production.
  • The sun provides us with solar energy, which is an important alternative energy source.
  • Oil and natural gas provide fuel for a variety of industries and vehicles.
  • Minerals such as coal, iron ore, and others are used as fuel and steel.
  • Gold and diamonds are valuable materials used in the jewelry industry and many mechanical types of equipment.
  • Eyeglasses and windows are made from quartz, sand, and petroleum.
  • Dental fillings contain mercury and silver.
  • Videotapes are made with vinyl, iron, and chromium.
  • The forest provides food, timber, fuel, and shelter for many living organisms.
  • Natural resources aid in the industrialization and urbanization processes.
Human Sustainability - Resource availability


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