Natural Resources

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1 Natural Resources

Earth is the only planet that has suitable conditions for sustenance of life in the entire universe. This is due to the presence of various resources that interact with life forms and creates a balance between the living and the nonliving resources. This interaction is essential for the sustenance of both. The various material sources derived from nature for the benefit of mankind are called natural resources.

The land or soil, the water and the air are natural resources that are the most important nonliving resources for us. In the absence of these resources, our existence would be impossible.

AIR

  • Air is a mixture of gases.
  • It has 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and a very small percentage of water vapor and other gases.
  • The presence of oxygen in the air is due to living things like plants that produced oxygen for over 2 billion of years from carbon dioxide.
  • The earth had not provided us the atmosphere with that composition of oxygen.
  • Animals use the oxygen in the air to survive by producing energy from the food they eat.
  • The carbon dioxide exhaled is in turn required for plants to trap energy from the sun and turn it into food by the process of photosynthesis.
  • However, there are some forms of life that can live without air.
  • Another important function of the air is to regulate the temperature of the earth and cause weather to occur.
  • Without the atmosphere’s moderating effect, the earth would be fried during the day and would be freezing cold in the night.
  • Also, monsoon is due to the movements of air or wind.
  • However humans pollute the air by releasing hazardous chemicals.
  • In this way, they alter climatic patterns and threaten the existence of life.

WATER

  • Water is known as the medium of life.
  • All life forms that exist on the planet require water because all the chemical reactions that occur in living cells occur using water as a medium.
  • Water is found in large bodies like the ocean, seas, rivers, and lakes as well as in the atmosphere in the form of vapor and as solid in snow, glaciers and ice shelves.
  • 97% of the water on the earth is found in the oceans and is too salty for us to drink.
  • 3% is available as fresh water.
  • Out of this, 98% is trapped in glaciers and ice and so only a small amount of this natural resource is available in rivers and lakes.
  • Thus it is essential to conserve water.
  • It is indeed precious and essential for our existence.

SOIL

  • The upper crust of the earth contains minerals that areuseful for life.
  • But most of these are found in rocks which cannot be used by plants or animal, but need to be crushed in small particles known as soil.
  • The breaking up of rocks by various geological, climatic and biological processes leads to the formation of soil.
  • Soil contains minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Nitrogen compounds, etc. that are all essential to sustaining life.
  • Soil also contains ores from which we can extract metals such as iron, copper, gold, and aluminum.
  • It also holds water and makes it available for plants to use.
  • However, humans use modern farming techniques involving fertilizers and pesticides that degrade the quality of soil which is suitable for growing crops in the long run.
  • Fertile soil is lost due to mining and deforestation making it essential for protection.

Pollution of all three resources namely, air, water and soil must be controlled by controlling the production of pollutants. Steps to stop or at least reduce pollution must be taken immediately before nature takes action against its misuse and starts to harm us.

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