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Natural resources

The John H. Kerr Dam and Lake, Virginia, USA. The area contains several examples of natural resources: the dam provides...Read More >>The John H. Kerr Dam and Lake, Virginia, USA. The area contains several examples of natural resources: the dam provides hydro-electric power; the lake is a freshwater reservoir and also provides a recreational resource as well as a habitat for fish and other wildlife; the forest trees provide wood and other materials, as well as a habitat for wildlife.Natural resources are things that humans need and use, and which occur naturally in nature, undisturbed or unchanged by people. Water and air are essential for our survival, while most other resources satisfy our needs and wants. Some natural resources, for example, metal ores, oil and other fossil fuels, must be processed in order to extract them. Only the Sun's rays, geothermal energy (heat from rocks inside the Earth) and air are inexhaustible: they will not run out in the foreseeable future. The majority of natural resources are exhaustible: they will run out if not managed carefully.



Turbines in an offshore wind farm. Wind is a natural resource that can be used to generate electricity and power boats and ships.

Examples of natural resources

Sunlight, water, air, animals, plants, wood, soil, oil and minerals are all examples of natural resources. The raw materials are, in many cases, processed so they can be used or consumed. Many natural resources have multiple uses: animals and plants provide, for example, food, clothing and medicines, while water is used for drinking, cleaning and supplying energy (hydro-electricity). The ocean is a natural resource in a number of ways: waves can be used to generate wave power, a renewable energy, while ocean water provides a habitat for fish and other marine animals.

The estimated time left for non-renewable energy resources at the present rate of usage is: 250 years for coal, 70 years for natural gas and 50 years for oil.

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