What’s the difference between non-renewable resources and renewable resources?
Non-renewable resources are those which are only available in limited amounts or are being consumed at a faster rate than they can be renewed.
Renewable resources are resources that are replenished naturally over time. The rate at which we consume them does not affect their long term availability. For this reason, renewable resources are heavily aligned with the concept of sustainability.
Renewable resources are often spoken of more favorably because of the positive impact they have on the planet. Unfortunately, only a tiny proportion of Earth’s marketed energy consumption comes from renewable sources.
Why should we care? The answer is that our environment, our economic development and energy are all linked. Energy security is vital when it comes to improving economic development and quality of life. We must, however, find ways we can sustain economic growth without continually damaging our planet.
6 examples of renewable resources we need to consider:
Life on Earth would be impossible without water. It really is one of the most important resources on our planet. The energy of moving water is renewable. This comes in the form of tidal energy, wave energy and hydropower.
Air is another vital natural resource. Despite unhealthy amounts of pollution, natural processes such as photosynthesis constantly replenish clean air. It’s estimated that one acre of forest can absorb six tons of carbon dioxide. In exchange, it can produce four tons of oxygen. Incredible.
Biofuels such as ethanol can play some of the same roles as traditional gasoline and diesel fuel. They help reduce the carbon footprint of the entity that uses them. When biofuels are burned, plants take up the carbon dioxide that is released.
4. Solar Power
Solar energy reaches us via the sun’s rays. As long as there’s sunshine, solar energy will be around. Producing power with solar panels is both renewable and cost-effective.
5. Geothermal Power
This power comes from heat energy released deep within the Earth. This is the result of radioactive decay processes in rocks underneath the Earth's surface. Underground reservoirs of steam and hot water can be tapped to generate electricity.
6. Cultivated Plants
All plants that are cultivated for food, energy generation or manufactured products can be considered renewable resources. You could harvest two or more varieties of crops within a year and then repeat the cycle for several more years.
As we become more conscious of the need to protect our planet, the usage of renewable resources takes on greater significance. Recognizing what these renewable resources are is a great first step towards reducing our carbon footprint.
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