Resource

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Home is the first place where we learn to use resource efficiently. In doing so we are able to protect the environment and prevent pollution. Wasting resources damages the environment. By efficient management of our resources we reduce the amount of household waste going to the landfill. For better understanding refer to Sustainable Lifestyle Programme [1] . Also visit this website [2] for useful information on how to manage your household energy resources effectively.

Contents

[edit] Natural Resource

One common factor between the rich and the poor is they live in the same planet. But whereas the poor live close to the environment and are able to utilize its advantages, the rich exploit the natural resources for their own ends. Loss of natural resources is more important to the poor than to the rich. According to a World Bank study in 2005, cropland, pastureland, forested areas, protected areas, and nonrenewable resources (including oil, natural gas, coal, and minerals) form the natural capital of a nation.

All natural endowments such as land, water, air, sunlight, forest, minerals can be referred to as natural resources. Unprecedented increase in population pressures and society’s demands on scarce land, water and biological resources are constantly degrading the earth’s ecosystem and the environment. Moreover, there have emerged constant conflicts over rights to these natural resources. To protect critical resources and ecosystems to develop and promote sustainable and productive land use systems, there is an urgent need to balance the use of land, water and other resources

[edit] Land Resource

Among all natural resources, land is most important to man. Yet man’s development activities have contributed in considerably damaging this resource. Further damage is caused to land by various kinds of soil erosion, degradation and deforestation. The problem of degraded land and its management is complex and multi-dimensional and its development requires a scientific, holistic and innovative approach.

Causes of Land Degradation

The major causes of land degradation are:

• Land clearance and deforestation

• Agricultural depletion of soil nutrients

• Urban conversion

• Irrigation

Pollution

The major stresses on vulnerable land include:

• Accelerated soil erosion by wind and water

• Soil acidification or alkalinization

• Salination

• Destruction of soil structure including loss of organic matter

Water and wind erosion, salinity, sodicity and alkalinity are causes of serious degradation of large areas of cropland, grassland, woodland and forest. Urban expansion has become a major form of land degradation, removing large areas of the best agricultural land from production.


[edit] Forest Resources

Forests can be found in all regions capable of sustaining tree growth, except where there is high natural fire frequency, or where the environment has been impaired by natural processes or by human activities. Forests sometimes contain many tree species within a small region or relatively few species over large areas. Forests are often home to many animal and plant species.

Deforestation

Deforestation in simple terms can be the gradual reduction of the stocking of the vegetation cover resulting from human activities.

Forest Degradation

Forest degradation takes place when human use of forest land and a combination of different human activities cause reduction or loss of the biological and economic productivity and complexity of forests and woodlands. These activities result in converting forest and woodland ecologies into savanna and finally to crop lands. When further deforestation continues, the savanna and crop lands are turned into infertile denuded areas.

Causes of Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The main causes are:

• wrong policies and regulations

• law enforcement

• poverty

bushfires

• land conversion for agriculture and settlement

• legal or illegal wood cultivation

• low awareness level

• decision making - lack of community involvement

• mining activities

• overgrazing

• natural

• drought

• landslides

• earthquakes

Policies and Regulations

Most countries have not formulated effective policies and regulations with regard to the role of forests in the development of the country. This is probably because there was no proper assessment or analysis of what the effects of development and population increase could possibly have on forest resources and how it would reflect on the nation as a whole.

Around 30 - 40% of the world’s population obtain energy from fuel wood, causing major degradation. Bushfires, in almost all cases caused by careless actions of humans, greatly modify the forest environment through degradation, transformation and fragmentation of forest ecosystems; often resulting in reduced species richness and density.

In the developing countries forest destruction to meet the agricultural productive land requirement of the steadily growing population is perhaps the most important deforestation threat. Trading of virgin land for foreign exchange carried out in some tropical countries is an even more serious threat.

[edit] Mineral Resources

A mineral is any naturally occurring, inorganic substance. It often possesses an exact crystal structure which can often vary within limits. The classified chemical groups are known as: Elements, Sulphides, Oxides, Halides, Carbonates, Nitrates, Borates, Sulfates, Chromates, Phosphates, Arsenates, Vanadates, Tungstates, molybdates and Silicates. Fluorescence and radioactivity are two unique properties of minerals.

Mining of Minerals

An economic commodity, minerals are mined for their valuable elements or other intrinsic property. Minerals have a worldwide value because of their beauty and rareness. Minerals come in 3,000 different types most of which are rare and unknown and have no economic purpose.

What is a Rock

A rock is an indefinite mixture of naturally occurring substances, mainly minerals. The amount of minerals and organic substances a rock contains may vary, and are never exact. Rocks come in various sizes from tiny pebbles to huge mountains, .tiny microscopic grains of minerals or organic substances to coarse agglomerates of different minerals. Many rocks– such as magma, soil, and clay - are not solid.

[edit] Water Resources

Water is useful or potentially useful to human beings and is primarily used in areas such as agricultural, industrial, household, recreational and environmental agriculture. Only 2.7% of water on the earth is fresh water which is purely for human use. Fresh water is a renewable resource, yet the world's supply of clean, fresh water is steadily decreasing, with demand exceeding supply in many parts of the world.

Current Trends

• Some regions of the world are facing severe water crisis. About one-third of the world's population, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa, is living under moderate or severe water stress.

• 1.3 billion people do not have adequate supply of safe water and 2 billion people lack proper sanitation facilities. Millions of preventable deaths every year, especially among children, are caused by water pollution.

• 70 percent of the water withdrawn is used for irrigation; one-half is lost to seepage and evaporation.

• Encroachment has altered hydrological and ecological functions of over one-half of all wetlands

• There is a significant decline in global freshwater biodiversity

• Increasing water pollution affects water availability by imposing additional costs for treatment.

• Poor land use is imposing a heavy economic and environmental cost on water resources.


Underlying Causes


• Population growth, income growth, and rapid urbanization are increasing water demands for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and hydroelectric generation.

• Water is treated as a social good and not an economic good, leading to its inefficient use, as in wasteful irrigation practices.

• Excessive reliance on government for water and wastewater services.

• Inadequate recognition of the health and environmental concerns associated with current practices.

• Uncoordinated management of water between sectors, institutions and nations, with little regard for conflicts or complementarities between social, economic and environmental objectives.

• Population pressures are increasing land degradation due to poor land management, thus worsening soil erosion and sediment transport in downstream areas.

• Growing water scarcity worsens the effects of natural droughts that are endemic in many parts of the world.

[edit] Petroleum

Petroleum, which is a fossil fuel, is a naturally occurring liquid found in formations in the earth consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various lengths.

Negative Effects

• Drilling can disturb the ecosystem.

• If oil spills into rivers or oceans it can endanger wildlife and environment

• Leaking underground storage tanks pollute groundwater and create noxious fumes.

• Processing oil at refinery can contribute to air and water pollution.

• Burning gasoline to fuel our cars can contribute to air pollution. However production, transportation, distribution and consumption are strictly regulated to minimize negative effects on the environment.

REFERENCES:

[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]

Useful sites:

Household Resources [9] has useful information on a wide variety of home items and how to maintain them.
Savings Calculator [10] to calculate your immediate and long-term savings