With the constantly increasing population of this fast-paced world, one main question arises: Will earth consume all its natural resources?
Oftentimes it feels like earth is running on autopilot. From hospitals that are fully equipped with advanced life-saving tech devices and readymade food that is easily available in supermarkets to smartphones that can be delivered to your doorstep; progress is taking place at a rapid speed. None of this progress would even exist without the abundant usage of natural resources that are inherited from our planet earth itself.
Earth consists of numerous natural resources that contribute to making life easier and more convenient for human beings. For instance, trees; not only do they provide us with clean oxygen but also help us make paper products that have become a necessity today. Coal is used in the production of electricity and natural gas is utilized to heat our homes. Billions of barrels of naturally-produced oil are pumped out of the ground in order to fuel vehicles and freshwater fish are consumed as a staple diet in America.
While all these natural resources are extremely beneficial to humankind, it is easy to take basic resources such as fresh water, natural gas, soil and oil for granted. However, as most of these valuable resources aren’t easily renewable, running out of them can be catastrophic. So, what exactly would happen if natural resources become scarce on earth or worse, if they completely run out? In this article we have covered details about the most basic natural resources available on earth and some significant ways in which their rapid consumption is affecting the world:
When we ask the question, will Earth consume all its natural resources?” water is one of the main things we’re worried about.
There are large quantities of water available on earth. The source of this water is often the atmosphere, oceans, rivers, lakes and this might come as a surprise to you but also the inner earth rocks. Over millions of years, most of this water is constantly recycled between rivers, oceans, the atmosphere and inner earth. The clean, freshwater that is readily available to us on the surface of earth is obtained through this cycling process.
Earth is also quite efficient at preserving water in the form of vapors in the atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into the space. Atmospheric regions that are extremely cold prevent these vapors from escaping as water tends to take the form of solid crystals at this frigid temperature and fall back to the surface of earth. While it is unlikely for our planet to run out of water entirely, it is essential to remember that not everyone who needs access to clean, fresh water around the world has it.
According to recent studies, 50% of the total fresh water available on earth is only found in 6 countries. Furthermore, billions of people in the world don’t have access to safe, drinking water. Taking some precautions such as not watering the roads, taking shorter showers, using washing machines and dishwashers only for full loads, etc. can help protect the quality and quantity of this beneficial natural resource on earth.
Earth is unlikely to run out of oil – at least not in a physical manner. Realistically, oil will still be in the ground after ten years and after fifty years, and after five hundred years. Whether you take an optimistic view or a pessimistic one to the situation, this truth is still going to hold for years to come.
Now suppose that the supply of oil becomes really limited; what would happen in a situation as such? Firstly, you can start expecting to witness some wells run completely dry. Then, these wells might not be replaced at all or be replaced with new ones that are more expensive. Either of these situations would cause the costs at pumps to rise significantly.
As the costs of gasoline would start rising, people would naturally tend to purchase less of it. The percentage of this reduction is calculated by the increase in prices and the elasticity of the consumer’s demand for gasoline. While this theory doesn’t exactly conclude that individuals would drive their vehicles less often, it is likely that they would. This theory however, does indicate that consumers might trade in their large cars for smaller vehicles that run on alternative fuels.
For all our lives, natural gas has been an essential source of fuel. We make use of natural gas to cook food, heat our homes and for a wide range of other vital applications every single day. As we have been utilizing this natural resource since a long period of time, it is only reasonable to wonder if all the natural gas reserves on earth are almost used up. So, do we really need to worry about earth consuming all the available natural gas?
If you are fearful about the natural gas sector ending, put your worries to rest. There is ample natural gas available in the world and we are trying to find more all the time. Currently, in the U.S. alone, people have access to several hundreds of trillions of natural gas reserves that are located under the surface of earth. These reserves are enough to last the lifetime of practically almost every human being on earth today.
Additionally, there is plenty of natural gas that is going to be available to humankind in the near future. According to experts, the total amount of technically recoverable and undiscovered natural gas in the United States ranges in quadrillions. On top of that, U.S. only holds an estimated 4% of the total natural gas reserves available in the world. That is certainly a lot of gas.
After reading about all the natural resources that are believed to not run out, this might come as a surprise to you. Some experts fear that earth, at its current rapid consumption pace, might run out of useable topsoil. According to a basic calculation of the current soil degradation rates, the remaining topsoil on earth might only last for the next 60 years. Approximately 40% of the total soil utilized for agricultural purposes around the world is identified as either slightly degraded or immensely degraded.
The soil that is claimed to be seriously degraded indicates that 70% of the usable topsoil that enabled plants to grow and thrive is gone. Due to harsh farming methods that cause the carbon to strip off the soil, making it weaker in nutrients and less sturdy, the rate at which soil is being lost has increased to 10 to 40 times as compared to the rate at which the soil can be replenished naturally. Even farming lands that are well-maintained are being lost at unsustainable and unimaginable rates.
When people wonder if earth will consume all its natural resources, they don’t put much thought into the rapid consumption of soil. They don’t always think about how high-quality soil is connected with so many essential things in the world including the environment, health, climate, security, water and more. For instance, agriculture is responsible for approximately 70% of the fresh and clean water that we use.
Most of the water we utilize goes straight into the ground. If the soil on earth is degraded and not fit for absorbing the water, the water gets wasted and moves past the root system without fulfilling any purpose. Given the increasing usage of water in today’s world, it might be best not to damage the soil any further. There are many things we can do to play our part in bettering the world. You can start with reversing bad farming practices and adding manure to fertilize the soil, and then move to practices that are more impactful.
The natural resources provided by the earth itself have enabled the humankind to progress and evolve in technology, agriculture and industry. However, if we continue to utilize these beneficial resources while believing that they will last forever, the world as well as human life might face some grave dangers. Remember, we can’t run to the moon as it is inhospitable for human life, and flying to Mars anytime soon is not looking possible.
Will Earth consume all its natural resources? At the current rate, we might milk the Earth dry. It is our responsibility to limit our usage of natural resources so that things can continue to function at current levels!