What is the exploitation of natural resources?

Natural resources: what they are and why they are fundamental to everyone’s life

The term natural resources means all the substances, forms of energy and environmental forces of our planet which, after being transformed, are capable of producing value .

Some natural resources can be used in the raw state (e.g. wood), others must instead be transformed in order to be used (e.g. steel)

In reality, a natural resource is that substance which, even in its raw state, as found in nature, simple and pure, not yet touched by the hands of the transformer man, is a resource belonging to the planet.

So all resources are for something  and  some resources are for man .

As far as we are concerned, our greatest resources in ancient times were the soil with its agricultural products, the sea with its fishing products.

Read also the story in: Pollution of the earth, do you continue to stay with your hands?

Subsequently, mineral raw materials were discovered and the era of iron, bronze, gold races came.

But in addition to man, all forms of life, animal or vegetable, need natural resources to live.

The availability and quality of resources therefore constitutes an essential condition for the sustenance of every living being on Earth.

Imagine now that it makes sense if these resources fail.

The industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed all natural resources.

Mining materials are of growing importance and for these, for the first time, fossil energy resources are added.

Not to mention the water which, being a fundamental resource for us, is running out .

natural resources
natural resources

Types of natural resources

Analyzing the history of man, we can distinguish the following types of natural resources.

  • Biological resources: the main biological resources are the earth, agricultural products, organic raw materials etc.
  • Mineral resources: mineral resources are extracted from the earth. This large collection includes metals and inorganic raw materials.
  • Energy resources: This category includes all those natural resources that allow you to obtain energy. Wood, oil, the sun, uranium, etc. are considered energy resources
  • Environmental resources: environmental resources also includes the preservation of the landscape, biodiversity and the environment in human wealth.

Furthermore, natural resources can be classified into permanent or non-permanent resources based on the characteristic or not of the natural resource to reduce its quantity over time or as a consequence of human exploitation.

The availability of natural resources.


In September 2010, Scientific American magazine published a rich interactive chart with a self-explanatory title: “How Much Is Left?” (“How much is left?”).

The graph shows numbers that are certainly not comforting with current consumption rates of exploitation and pollution.

Many resources will soon run out.

There are five types of natural resources:

  • minerals
  • fossil fuels
  • biodiversity
  • food and water resources

For minerals, the depletion for 2029 of silver is expected, which is increasingly used in the coatings of the most consumed products due to its quality against microbes.

It is true, however, that silver is possibly recyclable: if we learn properly how to recycle it, the mineral could last for decades.

Other minerals at risk of depletion are indium (used in the production of flat screen TVs), which is estimated unavailable since 2028;

gold, the depletion of which in deposits is scheduled for 2030;

copper, used almost everywhere and therefore increasingly at risk of depletion, expected for 2024, despite recent geological works suggesting the presence of significant deposits that would guarantee its availability for other decades.

What about fossil fuels?

The story that oil is running out is at least the daughter of ignorance.

New technologies and new fields are discovered every year.

Scientific American also plans to run out of coal by 2072, but here too the same is true of oil.

In short, despite the hope of a transition to renewable energy, it is useless to cling to this myth: fossil fuel deposits will still last a long time.

To strike, are the numbers concerning biodiversity, that is, animal species.

18% of mammals are endangered; so 10% of birds and 8% of plants.

And what about water?

Dramatic situation also for that primary resource which is water:

By 2025 in some areas the water reserves will drop below 500 cubic meters per person per year.

The most dramatic situations will be experienced by African countries and the Middle East.

Authoritative geopolitical analysts claim that water will be one of the most obvious war cases of the wars that the inhabitants of those unfortunately unstable territories will experience.

It should be specified, however, that, on closer inspection, the water in the world is not running out: far from it.

Only a very small percentage of usable fresh water is exploited and above all: the vast majority of this water is in the hands of a few countries and, moreover, of very few multinational giants.

If it is true that rivers and lakes are drying up at an impressive rate (it is expected that the Rhone will completely disappear by 2100, that the ice that covers the Himalayas will be reduced by 43% by 2070), it is equally certain that there would be water for everyone, if only its management was adequate.

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