07 November, 2014
The needs of 7 billion people…
Resources are depleted when it is being used faster than it can replenish itself. The industrial revolution is when it all began. As our culture advanced and our species invented many things that will make our lives easier, our demand for raw materials increased by leaps and bounds. We get these resources from the other. The problem is, we’re using too much and without care. Our planet just can’t keep up with our ever increasing demands.
More: Consequences of Depletion of Natural Resources
What causes the depletion of our natural resources?
- Overpopulation. With 7 billion people on the planet, the demand on Earth’s resources continue to increase.
- Overconsumption and waste. This is the excessive and unnecessary use of resources.
- Deforestation and the Destruction of Ecosystems leading to loss of biodiversity.
- Mining of Minerals and Oil.
- Technological and Industrial Development.
- Pollution and Contamination of resources.
What resources are in decline?
- Water – Even though you see water everywhere and our planet is 70% water, only 2.5% of that 70% is fresh water. The rest is salt water and not useful to humans at all. That small percentage of fresh water is mostly in the form of ice or permanent snow cover. So, we really have only a few percent available for use. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predict that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will have no water to drink.
- Coal – This is the most used fossil fuel and a non-renewable energy source. Peak coal extraction is predicted between 2025 and 2048. In 2011, it was estimated that we have enough coal to meet global demands for 188 years.If the demand increases, the timeframe will decrease.
More: Negative Effects of Coal Mining
- Oil – Without oil, global transportation will be severely debilitated. The BP Statistical Review of World Energy estimates that there is 188.8 million tons of oil left in the known oil reserves as of 2010. If our current demand continues, this oil will only be enough to supply the world demands for the next 46.2 years.
- Natural Gas – As of 2010, the known reserves of natural gas was estimated to last 58.6 years with the current global production.
- Fish – Fishermen from a lot of coastal provinces report a decline in their catch. Other marine species such as the tuna is close to extinction due to overfishing. This is a resource since Fish is part of our major food group.
More: World Oil Consumption Per Day
- Phosphorous – This resource is used for fertilizers to help plants grow. Scientists from the Global Phosphorous Research initiative estimates that peak phosphorous will be reached by 2030. Phosphorous is derived from phosphorous rock and guano.
How can we help stop our natural resources from running out? Many countries are now developing sources of renewable and sustainable energy such as solar, wind and hydro power. These are natural resources and are clean sources of energy. They will not pollute the environment.
Read more about the state of our environment at The World Counts: Stories. There are many things that you can do from your end to help stop the further degradation of our environment and its natural resources. Know the stories behind the numbers. Your action counts.
- Wikipedia: Resource Depletion
- The Guardian: The six natural resources most drained by our 7 billion people