CGC 1DI Sustainable Planet: Natural Resources Primer
Earth Resources Basic definitions and concepts –What are Earth’s (Natural) Resources? Naturally occurring concentrations of substances which can be economically extracted
Earth Resources Basic definitions and concepts –Renewable vs. Non-renewable Renewable resources: –Those Earth materials that are replenished on short time scales of a few months or years (i.e., organic materials derived from plants and animals) through growth and reproduction Non-renewable resources: –Those materials which »are contained in the Earth as a fixed quantity »Are used for energy as opposed to products »and are not replenished by natural processes operating on short time scales (i.e., oil, natural gas, coal)
Replenishable energy from wind, flowing water, and the Sun’s heat through natural cycles like the water cycle. Non Replenishable Those resources from the earth itself that are part of the geologic cycle and use the minerals found in the earths lithosphere and created in the mantle Ie) minerals and materials combined and processed into metals and alloys
–Main difference between renewable and non- renewable resources is the time it takes for the resource to be replenished by natural processes
When are renewable resources not renewable? Non-renewable "renewable" resources –Plants and Animals –Trees –Land/Soil –Fish –Biospheres of living things –When we use them faster than they can regenerate themselves in a sustainable manner
Renewable is defined as: “capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices" So humans need to think of "renewable" as replenishable only in the right circumstances and within the laws of the balance of nature –Allow the natural ecological cycles to remain natural –"Don't mess with Mother Nature!"
"Renewable" resources become non- renewable due to mismanagement by humans and due to pollution of the environment by humans
How can natural resources affect our environment unnaturally? It is not the natural resources by themselves that harm the Earth's environment It is what humans do with the natural resources that cause the problems to the environment and to the health of living things, including other human beings
What are the fundamental resource needs of any developed society? - Water (fresh, clean) - Food (sustainable) - Shelter - Tools - Energy
Energy uses in modern society (each requires a different type of energy source) - Transportation - Industry - Individual/household Potential energy resources available today - Fossil fuels – petroleum (oil), natural gas,coal - Solar - Hydroelectric - Nuclear - Geothermal/hydrothermal
Every material on which our developed society is based is directly or indirectly derived from the Earth Human history is a history of resource discovery and exploitation - Flint (chert) or obsidian: primitive tools and arrowheads - Iron Age, Bronze Age, etc. - Fishing, hunting, agriculture - Coal: heating, steam power, electricity - Petroleum and automobiles - Nuclear bombs, nuclear power, and radioactive waste
Resource Development Process (e.g., coal) Demand Power generation; Steel Production Exploration finding where the resources are ExtractionMining: surface and/or underground Refinement crushed, “washed” Application combusted in power plant electricity Disposal/Recycle “ash”
Each step has… –Economic : deals with all the factors that deal with money, jobs, the marketplace, wealth of individuals, companies, and countries, the overall economy. –Political: governments, laws, regulations, how they spend money, tax people, including how gov’ts deal with other countries and treat their people. Conflict between nations. Negotiating. –Social deals with how groups of people relate to one another, or individual consequences adeend lifestyle changes. How people benefit, or are affected by developing resources, using or disposing of waste. –Environmental : deals with the sustainable responsible use of a resource at all stages of development use and disposal. Implies a choice of what we use, how much, and its effect. Individuals, groups, nations, and globally … implications
Why does wood decline in the late 1800’s? Why does coal in the 1950’s? What happens to oil in the future? Nuclear? Why? How are wood, coal, oil, and nuclear different from hydrogen and solar power?