Resource refers to everything in the natural environment around us that we are able to use in
some way. Food is a resource – it gives our bodies the energy to live. We use resources such as
iron and oil to make a car and we use mineral resources to provide the energy to drive it. Energy
exists in many of the resources we use and we have exploited the Earth’s resources by using this
energy. For this reason, control over the use of Resources is needed, to ensure that we always
have enough for the future. This handling of the resources is called Resource Management.
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT is a way of making a resource either renewable or sustainable
(to be used forever) and if this can’t be accomplished, then to restrain the use of non-renewable
resources. The main reasons we need RESOURCE MANAGEMENT are population increase,
the previous wasting of resources, population demands and to conserve for the future.
Resource Managment - Will the environment run out of material for Industry to survive?
Humans have always needed energy. Food is one source of energy, directly available to humans.
Agriculture is the science of growing food and has allowed humans to develop large, complex
civilisations. Obviously, food is a very important resource to humans. However, through peoples
struggle to gain more land for farming, other resources have been exploited. The land upon
which the crops are planted is a resource and may once have been covered by forests, another
resource. Soil has been made over hundreds of years, from weathered rocks and decayed
plants and animals. But through bad management it can only take a few years to drain a soil of its
minerals. If people cut down too many trees, wind and rain erode the soil and wash it to sea.
Fertilisers and pesticides can poison the soil and undermine its structure making it unsuitable for
future crops. In some regions, people burn natural fertilisers, such as crop remains and animal
dung, as fuel and so reduce the soil’s fertility. But people have found various successful ways of
using the soil. By terracing steep hillsides and using watering methods that release nutrients
trapped deep inside the soil, people can manage soil in such a way that it can sustain vast
numbers of people. And since the population of the earth is continually growing, this
management is crucial. All countries must find the limits of this great resource and not exceed its
The topic of Land clearing leads onto the management of forests and Biodiversity. When early
humans discovered fire, they also discovered a way of releasing heat energy. They did this by
burning wood and the forests have been cut down ever since to provide fuel. Biodiversity
describes the huge variety of living things on Earth. It is a resource made up of all plants and
animals and their genetic material, as well as the ecosystems of which they are part. They need
as much management as any other resource. Biodiversity includes crops and forests and
provides (especially in developed countries) building materials for wood and fuel from plant
material and animal waste. Recently scientists have found ways of using genes from plants and
animals to make medicines and drugs; but most of this natural diversity is lost as people destroy
whole habitats and ecosystems. Tropical forests, which hold up to 50% of all species on only
7% of the Earth’s surface are at risk. After seeing these figures, you can understand why they’re
at risk, as it isn’t hard for man to completely destroy whole forests with fire and technology to
make room for ever increasing (thus ever demanding) population. This is where resource
management is needed. People and leaders of countries, must find ways to sustain forests – to
only cut down trees needed for paper, furniture and building, so that forests can return to their
full potential after time. Management of forests includes stopping complete destruction of forests
through burning or careless logging. Forests have been described as “Lungs of our planet” and it
will be explained why in the next paragraph.
The Lungs of our Planet, will they be left to live ?
The air we breathe is made up of gases including Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen.
Oxygen is the most important of these, as all animals need it to survive. People pollute the air
with dangerous chemicals all the time. Some chemicals are from farming, others from industry.
Before the Industrial revolution, the amount of Carbon Dioxide didn’t change much. However,
since the Industrial Revolution, more Carbon Dioxide has been released into the atmosphere
(from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas). To make matters worse, trees cut down to
supply paper and carpentry, or make room for farms, can no longer clean the air by changing
Carbon Dioxide for Oxygen. It is easy to see the damage of air pollution in a place of no
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT like Indonesia and Malaysia, where burning of forests has lead
to widespread health problems. The extra Carbon Dioxide has caused an increase to the earth’s
temperature and no one knows what the effects of Global Warming will be. In this example,
Resource Management can have little direct effect on the atmosphere. However, by finding
alternatives to using Carbon Dioxide releasing industry (which will be discussed in the next
paragraph) and sustaining and regrowing forests, the air so vital to us can be cleaner and safer
for our huge and growing population.
As was mentioned in the above paragraph, the burning of Fossil Fuels releases Carbon Dioxide
and other dangerous gases and chemicals. These fuels present a few major problems when it
comes to RESOURCE MANAGEMENT –
(1) They aren’t renewable;
(2) as a planet we’re dependant on them;
(3) when they are burnt / processed, they give off harmful substances (with the exception of
Burning of fuels have made New York City what it is today - Unsightly.
These mineral resources are valued because of their ability to create energy and be used either
directly or in the process of creating products. e.g. Coal heating furnaces in the creation of glass
and pure metals. The main user of these Fossil Fuels are power stations. People in developed
countries use a lot of power. In Canada each person uses the equivalent of 9 tonnes of coal, or
45 barrels of oil, a year; Americans use slightly less than this; Whereas people in countries such
as India and Nicaragua use an average of one barrel per person a year. At this rate, some
people believe we’ll run out of these fuels in the year 2050. However, with RESOURCE
MANAGEMENT, things are slowly turning about, with some countries switching to renewable
energy sources. Canada, Norway and many countries in South America and Africa use
hydropower, while Denmark is investing in wind power. Alternative energy sources are less
damaging to the environment, but a wind farm of hundreds of turbines can look very ugly.
Another resource “RESOURCE MANAGEMENT” is effecting is water. Water is essential to
all life but only 3% of the water on Earth is fresh – and half of this is frozen as Glaciers. People
use water for Industry and irrigating crops. If crops use too much water, the water table lowers.
If too many trees are cut down, the table rises. Both of these conditions creates much
environmental damage and damage to our crops. Water is especially precious in countries with
very little rainfall. Desert countries like Libya depend on water in natural underground reservoirs,
called aquifers. These sources of water are left over from thousands of years before the region
was desert and will eventually be used up. Water is treated with little respect even though it is
precious resource – people pollute it with everything from sewage to highly poisonous chemicals.
However, With RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, we can conserve water and save it for further
use. By planning farms carefully, salinity and other problems can be overcome. Using cleaner
forms of Industry and power production can overcome destruction of this resource so precious
to us. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT also includes changing peoples wasteful habits as no city
has a never – ending water supply.
Hot sand and more of it, Here is where water is at its most precious.
Wherever people are they have to use resources and they continue to do so even though their
use sometimes damages the environment. But if people plan and manage resources carefully,
they can use them effectively and efficiently in a sustainable way.