All things that are useful to us are called resources. Air, water, land, soil, forest etc are all resources. Resources are useful raw materials that we get from nature. These are naturally occurring materials. They are useful for us in many ways, and we keep developing new ways to use them or convert them into useful things.
Classification of Resources
Natural resources are valuable to us. The broadest classification of resources is done on the basis of their replenishing ability. Let us take a look, at these two classifications.
- Renewable resources
- Non Renewable resources
When talking about classification of resources, we will first see the renewable resources. Renewable resources are those resources that can be replenished or renewed naturally over time. Air, water, wind, solar energy etc are all renewable resources. Renewable resources can be easily renewed by nature.
- Wind energy
Winds are constantly being created in nature. The windmill is a source of electrical energy. These windmills are generally established only at places where most of the days in a year experience strong winds. The energy from this wind is used for grinding grain, pumping water and to produce electricity. In India, many windmills have been set up in different places such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal and Gujarat.
Water is important natural resources. All living organisms need water to live. Humans need water for many purposes such as drinking, cleaning, cooking and for growing crops. Water flowing into the river or water stored in a dam is sources of hydro energy. The Simple method to use hydro energy is to convert it into electrical energy.
- Solar energy
Sun is a big source of energy. The energy that we get from the Sun is called solar energy. All the natural phenomenon like the flowing of wind, water cycle, photosynthesis etc are possible only due to solar energy. Now a day, solar energy is being used to cook food with the help of solar cookers, heat water, light streets, pump water for irrigating fields etc.
Biogas is a type of fuel which is a mixture of gases such as methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen etc which is obtained by decomposition of animal and plant wastes like animal dung, with the help of micro-organisms in the presence of water. It is used as fuel in gas stove especially in rural areas.
Wood is an ancient and traditional source of energy. It is mainly a mixture of many carbohydrate compounds. Wood is used to cook food. It leads to deforestation and pollutes air also. In India, still in many villages, they use wood chullas to cook food every day. While having ill effects on the environment, it is also harmful to human health
It is a good source of energy because it does not create pollution and produce maximum energy on burning. Hydrogen has the potential to be the answer to all our energy and fuel troubles. Technology is currently being developed to fully utilize hydrogen efficiency.
Alcohol has many commercial and medical purposes. It can use for producing energy. It can be obtained while making sugar from sugarcane. Thus it is a very cheap source of energy. A mixture of petrol and alcohol is being used as a fuel in automobiles. This mixture is called ‘Gasohol’.
All living things water in order to survive. And the water cycle means we will essentially never run out of the water. But we must be careful not to pollute water and make it unusable. Drinking and clean water are already scarce in the world.
It is an important resource as this is the layer where plants grow. We all need food in order to survive. We get most of our food from crops grown in the soil.
All living things need air to breathe. Therefore, air is an important natural resource.
Non Renewable resources
The other classification of resources is non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources are those natural resources that are available in limited quantity. These resources cannot be renewed or replenished in short duration. Therefore they are also known as exhaustible resources. Examples- coal, natural gas, petroleum etc.
- Nuclear energy
In the classification of resources, nuclear energy is classified as non-renewable. The fuel used for nuclear energy is generally uranium, which is in a limited supply. So we classify it as non-renewable. Production of electricity from nuclear energy does not release carbon dioxide. Thus, use of nuclear energy is safe for the environment.
2. Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are non-renewable resources. They are found deep inside the earth and are made by natural processes over many centuries. Their quantity is limited and they take thousands of years to get renewed. Example of fossil fuels is coal, petroleum, natural gas etc.
- Coal: It is also known as black diamond. Coal is used as a fuel, to generate electricity, and in factories and steam engines.
- Natural gas: Natural gas is used as a fuel called Compressed Natural Gas or CNG. Some wells dug into the earth produce only natural gas. Natural gases are a good alternative to petrol and diesel and it is used as Compressed Natural Gas. It burns easily and produces a lot of heat. It is a good source of hydrogen.
- Petroleum: Petroleum is also known as mineral oil or crude oil. This liquid mineral is refined to make fuels such as petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene. Plastic, cosmetics, and lubricants are also products of petroleum. It is found deep inside the Earth or under the sea floor. It is taken out by drilling wells deep into the Earth or under the seabed.