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Thursday, May 7, 2015

An Informative Unit!


     In our world, there are about 40 years left until our natural resources run out, and leaves little time remaining. Natural resource depletion is split into three categories, net forest depletion, energy depletion and mineral depletion. Net forest depletion is the rent times the excess of round wood harvest over natural growth. It covers wood, plants and animals. It basically means more forest disappears than grows back. Energy resource depletion is the reduction of coal, oil and natural gas. Mineral Depletion covers tin, gold, lead, zinc, iron, copper, nickel, silver, steel, bauxite (used to make aluminum) and phosphate. Plants, animals and wood all suffer from net forest depletion. The main cause for this is urbanization, illegal logging and agriculture. In fact, urbanization, illegal logging, and agriculture have resulted in 18 million acres of forest cut down annually.The consequences of these cut down trees are; soil erosion, global warming (caused by rise of greenhouse gasses), extinction of species, loss of biodiversity, flooding, drought and depletion of plants that could be the solution to deadly illnesses like cancer. In 1850, before commercial production of oil began, there were about 2 trillion barrels of oil in the ground. By about the year 2010, half of that oil had been consumed! Leaving only about 1 trillion barrels of oil in the earth. This demonstrates how fast our resource are being consumed and how fast our population is growing. Mineral depletion is the depletion of the minerals I mentioned before. The main reason behind this all is higher demand for them and industrial bloom. These minerals are not wasted because they're either too expensive, too rare or too valuable.
     Some governments say that solar energy is the perfect renewable energy to compensate for our depletion of natural resources and in the follow few sentences I will explain why this isn't a solution. Annual global energy consumption in 2005 was approximately 500 EJ (exajoule, 10 to the 18th or a 1 with 18 zero’s), of which 20% by the US. I know this does not say much, but the 2011 Tsunami in Japan produced 1.4 EJ. So to meet current energy wants by using solar power, then, we would need an array with a size of 500/33,000 x 36 million km2, which is about 550,000 km2. A machine the size of France. The production and maintenance of this array would require vast quantities of hydrocarbons, metals, and other materials resulting in a very expensive and tiring process. Solar power will, therefore, do little to solve the world’s energy problems. Even though it’s renewable energy source, but what can we do to solve the problem?
      We could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by buying energy efficient appliances. Cycle, walk or use public transportation instead of using a car. Use more recycled products. Buy secondhand. Participate in conservation projects. Turn off all appliances (electrical and water) when not in use. Harvest rainwater when you can and use it for cleaning, the toilet or watering your plants. As for governments, they could promote more bicycle paths to push people out of their cars which will reduce the petrol consumption. This happened in the Netherlands. This affected its country because cars were used less frequently. This is a great example that other countries should follow too. Meaning that, slowly but surely we'll overcome natural resource depletion or at leat slow the process.
     If I had to apply a solution to this world issue, it would be something simple that many people will be able to do. This could be things like I mention before, turn off electrical or water appliances when not in use. Buy products second hand or used hand me downs more often instead of buying new ones. If everyone did this, natural resource depletion will go down at a much faster rate. My learning I experienced during this project was immense. I now know so much more about this topic that I believe many other people should be encouraged in doing something similar too. The natural resource depletion unit was an informative, fun and shocking unit to learn. After completing my research, I realized how important this issue actually is and how little the outside world knows about it.

Works Cited
"Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips." Depletion of Key Resources: Facts at Your Fingertips. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.
"Consequences of Depletion of Natural Resources." - The World Counts. Web. 08 May 2015. <>.

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