Sustainability and Natural Resources What is a resource? It is anything that we find useful Includes human resources (skills, experience etc.) and… Natural Resources These are all natural resources What is a natural resource? Anything we find a use for that the Earth produces. Two types of natural resources. Renewable Non-Renewable resources that can be replenished in a human lifetime resources that do not replenish (within a human lifetime) forests, fish, hydroelectricity, solar energy, etc. oil, gas, iron, etc Use the handout to identify renewable and non renewable resources. Answers Renewable Resources tree, water, rubber (from rubber trees), wool, acorn, solar energy, soil,newspaper, whales, grapes, fish, cotton, and pigs Non-Renewable Resources green garbage bags, rubber (from oil), lead, margarine containers, glass, oil, gasoline, nickel and coal What is sustainable development? Meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of tomorrow. ex. Harvesting trees but replanting. Consider this Cree prophecy "Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." How much is too much? Every living thing (including humans) on the Earth needs to be in balance with its environment. If there are too many of something, the environment degrades resulting in deaths. This concept is known as carrying capacity, which refers to the maximum amount of individuals a region can sustain indefinitely. Carrying Capacity – Stable Ecosystem An unlikely example! Easter Island A mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile Easter In 1722 a Island few hundred natives and very little else, were found on the island. There is evidence of a great civilization (Rapa Nui) of about 9000 people. What happened? Archaeologists believe that early Polynesians settled the island on purpose and thrived. They cut down the forests to plant crops, build ships & buildings, move giant stone heads, and cook. This overuse of resources had drastic consequences. The initial carrying capacity of the island was diminished. The island’s soil eroded into the sea. There was less rainfall. Crops failed and the inhabitants warred with each other over the remaining resources. They even turned to cannibalism This is called a stressed ecosystem. over carrying capacity Reduced carrying capacity after the stress. Does this situation look familiar? Our global population is over 6.4 billion. We see: famine drought desertification food shortages war Should we wait for cannibalism before we act? Solutions? Reduce world population (developed worlds have declining birth rates) Increase food production with new technology Reduce use of non-renewable resources and use renewable resources sustainably Don’t waste!