Back in school, one chapter in geography class was given the utmost preference and importance. This was about renewable and nonrenewable resources. The core objectives of that chapter were to make the future generation aware of how renewable resources are abundant in supply in nature and how nonrenewable resources have a limited supply and sometime in the future, will vanish.
The main reason for the abundant supply of renewable resources in the environment is due to the various sources and forms. Renewable resources tend to reform and restock in nature automatically. Some of the famous renewable resources in nature are air, water, sunlight, etc. As we further approach the topic we’ll get to know about the various classifications and derivatives of renewable resources.
Nonrenewable resources on the other hand are some of the handiest and effective resources that make living much easier and convenient for us. The main issue with nonrenewable resources comes with their availability in nature. Once a nonrenewable resource is used up, it might take thousands or millions of years to replenish it, unlike renewable resources. World leaders and changemakers are striving every day to come up with sustainable methods and solutions to limit the usage of nonrenewable resources. Let’s get to know more about how these resources work and their significance in nature.
What are Renewable Resources?
Renewable resources are those resources that form in nature over time and it goes in the form of a cycle. Once a renewable resource is used up, one way or the other it is created or initiated automatically in nature. Renewable energy sources are being discussed and several innovations are being established to use them on a large scale and lower the usage of nonrenewable resources. These energy sources are environment friendly and they contribute largely to ensuring the environment stays green and lowering pollution.
The most common renewable energy sources are solar energy, hydro energy, geothermal energy, biomass, etc. Exploiting these forms of energy sources can be highly beneficial for us in alleviating the exposure of nonrenewable energy sources into nature, which causes a major disbalance in nature. With all being said, deriving energy from renewable sources requires a hefty amount of struggle and monetary investment. Renewable energy sources aren’t as efficient as nonrenewable sources but modern technology is defying odds to make them sustainable.
What are Nonrenewable Resources?
Nonrenewable sources are highly essential for day to day operations in any economy. Usage of nonrenewable resources causes an extensive emission of energy. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas is harmful and detrimental for the atmosphere and living beings. Fossil fuels take thousands and at times millions of years to form beneath the surface of the earth, but when they’re used a substantial amount is consumed for various purposes. The entire procedure of deriving energy through nonrenewable sources is time efficient and cheap.
The large-scale usage of nonrenewable energy sources such as fossil fuels is creating natural hazards like global warming. The burning of fossil fuel on a large scale causes the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere and the chain effect causes the global temperature to rise above average. Several researchers have deduced that the global temperature is rising 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade since 1982, which was 0.07 in the 1800s. The melting of ice caps in the polar region and the rise in sea level can be connected to the excessive burning and usage of nonrenewable resources.
Sources of Renewable Energy
Renewable resources can be extracted through numerous mediums and sources. Renewable resources are normally natural resources such as water, sunlight, air, etc. To harvest energy from natural resources requires advanced and cutting-edge technology. Generating energy from wind is a primitive form of extracting energy from a renewable resource. Windmills or wind turbines are set up in areas with high-speed winds and those areas shouldn’t have any obstruction to the flow of wind. Wind turbines consist of blades that rotate at high speeds to generate electricity.
Water is another source that can efficiently extract energy through water bodies. Hydro energy can be used to generate electricity on a large-scale with the help of dams. Electricity is produced when hydro turbines move at high speed due to the rapid flow of water bodies. The core of the earth is flaming hot hence the outer layers tend to heat up. The heat is trapped beneath the crust and it can be used to harvest geothermal energy. Renewable sources will definitely regrow but we need to be careful while using them.
Sources of Nonrenewable Energy
Fossil fuel is the most common form of nonrenewable energy source. Fossil fuels develop from the remains of plants and animals buried beneath the earth thousands and millions of years ago. The decomposed remains of plants and animals then turn into coal, natural gas, crude oil, etc. These natural resources are extracted from underground through advanced instruments through drilling and mining. So, the entire process of extracting the final product from the initial item causes pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases.
Renewable energy sources are less expensive to develop and use for day to day operations. They’re vividly available and easy to extract from nature. The various forms of nonrenewable resources will come in handy, starting from cooking to running a vehicle. In the recent past, several accidents and hazards have occurred while extracting coal or crude oil from water beds. An explosion in a coal mine and oil spillage in oceans are a few examples of the trouble created by nonrenewable resources.
Adverse Effects of Excessive Usage of Nonrenewable Resources
The main concern in today’s world is to ensure a safer planet and balanced ecosystem for the betterment and survival of the human race. Governments and world leaders are preaching to shift energy consumption towards renewable resources through sustainable methods and inventions. Nonrenewable resources have been exploited massively into the environment leading to several calamities and hazards including global warming. This leads to a burning issue regarding the emission of greenhouse gases due to the huge amount of fossil fuel intake.
Pollution occurs on an extensive level due to the consumption of nonrenewable resources. Nonrenewable energy sources not only pollute the air, but it also damages the water bodies through water pollution, it fills up landfills due to dumping and wastage, and many more. Getting access to fossil fuels is in itself dangerous and detrimental to nature. The process of extracting or mining from deep into the earth can cause explosions inland and spillage of oil in water bodies.
Ways to Mitigate the Consumption of Nonrenewable Resources
The three common R’s in society, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, should be more in practice to mitigate the consumption of nonrenewable resources. Due to the massive emission of greenhouse gases and an adverse impact on nature the consumption of nonrenewable resources needs to be reduced. The first step of this movement starts from the reduction in the usage volume. This will lead to a lower emission of harmful gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Solar-powered generators can be installed to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity.
The concept of reusing is vast. The idea is to reuse materials and items, which we tend to throw away or destroy after using them for once. An enormous amount of fossil fuel is used or energy is consumed to produce certain materials, so the best way is to reuse these items so that the production volume is lower. Lastly, recycling damaged goods or parts of a destroyed material that can be useful in the production of another good should be recycled. Campaigns should be conducted to create awareness about the three R’s and their increased practice in society.
Adapting to Large-scale Consumption of Renewable Resources
The only efficient way to combat the ongoing climate and environmental hazards is through adopting the usage of renewable resources on a large-scale. Changemakers are coming up with revolutions to normalize living in a green environment. An environment with less wastage, recycling materials, reusing old goods, and reducing the emission of harmful gases by burning fossil fuel on a limited amount. Developed countries such as Australia and China are being fully powered through renewable energy sources. Efficiency is a big question when it comes to large scale consumption of renewable resource for daily activities.
In developed countries, housing societies are being built that will completely operate through renewable energy sources. Several villages in India and Sri Lanka are being run through solar energy, during the day time the solar panels store energy from the sunlight, and during the night time that energy is used to power the entire village. Adapting to an extensive intake of renewable resources in the environment can significantly reduce the drastic climate changes that we’re encountering, it can also reduce the emission of greenhouse gases as a result maintain a clean and green environment.
The Future through Renewable Resources
The rate at which modernization is occurring globally can lead to two outcomes. The first one can be that we ran out of fossil fuel and a worldwide crisis occurs. Secondly, we can experience another revolution through the exponential expansion in the consumption and usage of renewable resources. According to experts, renewable energy sources can operate the entire world by the year 2050, isn’t that amazing to hear? The main issues of cost and accessibility can be easily dealt with in the near future by lowering the manufacturing and installation costs.
A single wind turbine can harness electrical power of approximately 250 W to 7 MW, but this efficiency can be increased by up to 130%. In the upcoming days, a single wind turbine can harness power of approximately 140 MW. Vast investments are being made for the large-scale consumption of geothermal energy. It will effectively reach the developing countries by the year 2030 with the ability to heat up the entire country of Kenya. The future is highly promising in terms of using renewable resources and cutting down the consumption of nonrenewable resources.
Downsides of Renewable Resources
One thing we should remember that there are always two sides to a coin. We’ve been mostly discussing the benefits and prospective sides of using renewable energy sources, but this form of resources can also have an adverse effect on nature. When it comes to setting up wind turbines for cultivating energy through wind, a considerable amount of land is filled up causing the natural habitat to be affected and also leading to pollution in the land.
Building dams in the middle of a large water body is disastrous for marine wildlife. Various kinds of fishes have to shift their habitat since the dams are built after occupying a major portion of a water body. When it comes to harnessing electricity through biomass because it requires feedstock from several derivatives. While collecting and gathering the feedstock natural habitat is damaged and pollution also occurs. On top of that, the expenditure in harnessing energy through renewable energy sources are considerably higher when in comparison with nonrenewable energy sources. Another major limitation of renewable resources comes from their unavailability and inaccessibility geographically.
In the end, it is our duty to take care of our planet and keep it safe and clean for future generations. There’s no denying the fact that nonrenewable resources are optimum and efficient for industrialization but the detrimental effects are cautionary. The only way we could help ourselves is by revolutionizing the consumption of renewable resources. Reduce, recycle, and reuse needs to be more in practice and a global awareness should be raised. There will be several challenges in order to establish a green environment and solely relying on renewable resources for a living but to have a brighter future this is the best alternative in hand.