Consumption Of Natural Resources

The following sample essay on Consumption Of Natural Resources offers a framework of relevant facts based on recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body, and conclusion of the paper below.

A natural resource can be defined as an item that after necessary processing or manufacture is useful and hence meets the needs of the society. Natural resources can be divided into two categories. Renewable and non-renewable. Renewable resources are those which after use will be replenished, if used appropriately.

Non-renewable resources are those which come in finite stocks, therefore will eventually run out. Generally, natural resources are spread unevenly over the globe. That is in some areas there may be a concentration of a certain natural resource that may be scarce in another.

It is important to note that currently developed countries use the majority of the available resources on an annual basis. Fresh water is an example of a renewable resource. After use it will be replenished.

Less than five percent of the water on earth exists as fresh water and less than one percent is accessible as surface water. The distribution of water varies unevenly around the globe. One such reason for this is the variations in the amount precipitation received in certain areas.

Currently water is being consumed in a way that it is turning into a non-renewable resource.

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The world’s supply of fresh water is threatened by growing levels of pollution, more so in developing countries than developed. There are many environmental problems associated with the consumption of water in a way that transforms it into a non-renewable resource. Water pollution heavily affects the functionings of an ecosystem as water pollution directly affects both plants and animals. If current trends of water pollution continue many social consequences will arise.

World Distribution Of Resources

According to a UN Report entitled ‘A Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the world states that If water pollution continues than two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer ‘moderate to severe water stress’ by 2050. A rise in water pollution can also cause public health problems, specifically water-borne diseases. A lack of adequate freshwater could also place the world’s food supply in jeopardy. There are many political and economic consequences arising from the spatial patterns and consumption of freshwater.

A rise in water pollution can significantly impact upon agricultural growth, and ultimately may cause a slowing economic growth. Political hostility can develop if there is not a fair distribution and price of water as was seen in Great Britain when the rates for water increased under private water companies. This rise was attributed to personal benefits for executives and as such political hostility developed. Minerals are an example of a non-renewable resource. This is because the rate at which they are being used is much faster than the rate at which they are forming.

There is an inconsistent dispersal of minerals around the globe, in that some countries have more plentiful supplies than others. These inconsistent spatial patterns are attributed to a number of factors. For example coal seams are present in more places than others because they formed from swampland that existed 350 million years ago. It is evident that there is an uneven dispersal of minerals in that 4 countries export seventy percent of the worlds annual iron ore. It is fact that the developed countries consume more minerals than developed.

China produces seventy percent of the iron ore extracted every year. However its consumption is so high that it has to import a further fifteen percent to meet its needs. There are many environmental issues arising from the consumption and distribution of minerals. The mining and refining process can have a devastating effect on the environment. Specifically in developing countries where there is less emphasis on sustainability and a greater emphasis on profit there is little funding provided for the rehabilitation of open cut mining sites.

This can have a significant effect on the environment. Also the smelting process in the refining of many metal ores release pollutants into the air. One such example is the refining of bauxite to produce aluminium. Bauxite has a high sulfur content and as such when smelted sulfur dioxide is released into the air. Sulfur dioxide forms acid rain and thus can have a devastating effect on the environment. Many economic consequences also arise out of the spatial patterns of minerals. As some countries possess a greater amount of mineral than others, come countries are more economically affected.

For example, Australia whose main export is mining of aluminium and coal is higly economically affected by changes in the demand and prices of these minerals. Politicla consequences arising from mineral use come mainly from Trans National Companies and over the issue of sovereignty. TNC’s can be contracted by governments and in return may receive loans are assisatnbce form these companies. The issue of sovereignty over natural resource and land ownership can result in political conflict. An example would be the attempted invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 over sovereignty rights.

Forests are another example of a non renewable resource. Forests are also unevenly distributed around the globe, becoming scarce in places with harsher climates. Forests are especially important for developing countries as a means of food and building material. Approximately 30 percent of the earth’s land area is covered by forest. This amount is decreasing by 13 million hectares annually due to deforestation. The environmental consequences associated with the consumption of forests are not only a great affect on local ecosystems.

Soil that is now exposed to sunlight becomes degraded and the amount of carbon dioxide gas rises. This may result in an enhanced greenhouse effect. Socially forests are also important as a means of recreation and for tourism. With the annual decrease in forest these factors are endangered. Economically, the spatial patterns and distribution of forests can have a number of positive consequences. Not only will forest be a means of economic growth but the deforestation process creates local jobs, enhances skills especially in the use of technological machinery.

Political consequences come mainly in the form of Green politics. Issues with greeg politics arise when there is great environmental damage as a result of issues concerning the forest. An example of this was in Germany when a number of green politicians were elected because of the deterioration of forest due to acid rain. It is evident that the spatial patterns and consequences of the distribution and consumption of natural resources at a global scale can have political, social, economic and environmental consequences, both positive and negative.

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Consumption Of Natural Resources
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