Natural Resources versus Renewable Resources; where lies the difference?

Natural Resources exist on earth without the aid of humankind.  It is part of the Earth and includes every valued characteristic such as the gravitational and magnetic fields, and all electrical properties and forces.  This includes the atmosphere, water, sunlight, and land; which will then also include all life forms, animal and human, vegetation, crops, and everything that naturally occurs on earth.

A natural resource is things like:

  1. Water and air, but, also
  2. Living organisms, for instance; a fish or a bird.

Natural resources can also exist in alternate forms that need to be processed to obtain the resource.  For example:

  1. Rare earth metals, metal ores,
  2. Petroleum and most fossils that are used to generate energy.

The overconsumption and depletion of resources is an ongoing debate all over the world.  Most natural resources have a finite quantity, which means that if not managed properly it can become depleted.

Renewable Resources are components of the Earth’s ecosphere and natural environment.  Usage and consumption can deplete resources.  A natural resource that replenishes, either through a naturally recurring process or through biological reproduction, is called a Renewable Resource.

Renewable resources include the following: 

  1. Sunlight or Solar energy; can be used for lighting, heating, for generating electricity for cooking, cooling and a variety of other uses.
  2. Windgenerated electricity; powered by wind turbines.
  3. Hydropower; where the flow of water generates electricity. Hydroelectric power can be powered through dams, reservoirs, rivers (even slow-flowing water streams) and also the sea.
  4. Geothermal energy; is the thermal energy generated and stored in the earth.
  5. Bio-Energy, Biomass, Biogas, and Bio-fuel; are derived from living, and organisms that were alive, recently. As an energy source, it can be used in various forms and capacities.

Renewable energy is always replenishing, and will not run out, while other sources of energy are finite, and have a depletion date somewhere in the future.

Renewable energy technology has a much lower warmth emissions and offers significant health benefits to the public causing less pollution.

Natural Resources and the Diversity of its Uses:

Most of the world’s energy is still generated by the burning of fossil fuels.  All the while, nature is constantly producing plenty of Renewable Recourses, which are much more environmentally friendly because of their low, or none, carbon emissions.

7 Diverse Natural Resources and their uses:

  1. Sunflowers; are enjoyable to look at in their entire sunny splendour, but chefs use their oil for cooking purposes. The industry uses the yellow flower to produce lubricants and it is also used in biodiesel.
  2. Rapeseed; (a cabbage family member) has been used for centuries to provide oil, to be used in lamps, for instance. It was also used as a lubricant for steam engines.
  3. Corn, the all-rounder; is a crop that is cultivated worldwide. Although it’s main use is food for humans and then also animal-feed, it is cultivated on vast fields, for renewable energy purposes.  The Industry also discovered a corn ingredient that is used in glue and other adhesives.
  4. Forests; being one of the oldest renewable resources mankind has been using for ages, in the form of wood. It was, from ancient times, used to kindle a fire.  It was also used to make spears and other utensils. Wood was indispensable in the world or our ancestors.  Nowadays it is used as a building material.  Wood is also still used as a heating agent in various forms, for example, wood pellets for stoves, etc.
  5. Palm Fruits; is pressed to produce palm oil. This edible vegetable oil can be found in margarine, pizza and biscuits and many different types of food.  Palm oil is also used, in its raw form, in candles, washing powder and cosmetics.  It is also used for the production of biodiesel
  6. Hemp; is not only a recreational drug, used for smoking. It is also grown for its fibres that are used to make special paper and special clothing.  This form of hemp that is used in the industry has no intoxicating effect.  Hemp can also be used as an insulating material on the insides of walls and roofs.
  7. Plant-based Plastics; made of corn, sugar cane or potatoes, produces many products, including yogurt containers, garbage bags and even things like disposable razors.

Renewable resources are most diverse in their uses and the type of product they can produce.

What is the Goal of Sustainable Agriculture? Who can play a role in Ensuring a Sustainable Agricultural System?

Sustainable Agriculture’s goal is to meet society’s food and textile needs, not only for the present but also for future generations, without compromising the ability to meet those needs, then and now.  Integrating three main objectives; a healthy environment, social and economic equity and economic profitability, is the ultimate aim of sustainable agriculture.

All people that are involved in the food system, growers, consumers, distributors, processors, retailers and waste managers, all have a role to play towards ensuring a sustainable agricultural system.

Practices commonly used by people working in sustainable food systems and agriculture:

Growers:

Can use methods to better soil health; through plant diversity, growing plants throughout the year, management in disturbing soil less and keeping the soil covered as long as possible, through either crops or crop residue.

Efficient water usage; can be reached, through farm water retention, restoring habitat, increasing soil moisture and organic matter, protecting open spaces, etc.  Also, the Effective and more efficient use of irrigation systems, increasing water-pump efficiency and powering all with renewable energy technology, will help towards water conservation.

Reduce Pollution Levels; through minimizing excessive soil nitrogen, by applying only the proper amounts of fertilizer and by implementing a nutrient management plan.

Consumers and retailers:

“Values-based” foods; are grown with methods promoting the well-being of farm workers.

Farm worker well-being; is achieved through farming methods that will strengthen the local economy and are environmentally friendly.

Environmentally friendly; methods will promote the use of cleaner agricultural methods, the better use of resources and the maintaining of the natural environment.

However, Sustainable Agriculture, are more than methods and practices, it also includes research and negotiation, and communities working together to solve complex problems to ensure a better future for their environment.

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