Natural resources can be found in the natural environment. Some of these resources are essential to our survival (i.e. water) whilst others are used to satisfy our wants. Every man-made product is made up of natural resources at their most basic level. A natural resource may exist as a separate entity such as fresh water, and air, as well as a living organism such as a fish, or it may exist in an alternate form which must be processed to obtain the resource such as metal ores, oil, and most forms of energy.
Some natural resources can be found everywhere such as air or wind. Most resources however are not so readily available and abundant. These occur in small areas within certain parts of the earth and are commonly referred to as localised resources.
In general, many natural resources can be divided into two main categories. These are:
These resources replenish themselves naturally although different resources regenerate at different rates. When considering a resource as renewable, they are included within this classification if the rate of human consumption does not exceed the rate at which the resource regenerates. Examples of such resources include wind and solar radiation.
Natural resources categorized as non-renewable refer to those which regenerate at an extremely slow rate. Therefore the rate of human consumption does exceed the rate at which the resource regenerates. Examples of such resources include minerals and fossil fuels. However, whilst it is possible to recycle minerals and re-use them, resources such as fossil fuels can not be recycled.
This section of the website explores our natural resources and the need to move towards more sustainable practices in order to preserve our special local environment.