The importance of sustainable management of natural resources cannot be stressed enough. When it comes to our lives, natural resources have got to be touted as the basis of our lives. When it comes to eating food, drinking beverages, growing our own food, creating clothing, constructing houses and buildings, and creating transportation, we need natural resources to achieve any of it. Many people think that natural resources will just always be available for our use but that is simply not true at all. Not only are there many non-renewable resources that we use that obviously will not be available again, but renewable resources are also very limited. Each community needs to use natural resources in a very sustainable manner so that future generations have them available also. The importance of sustainable management of natural resources should be of the utmost importance for each and every one of us.
When it comes to the health and well-being of all humans, natural resources are at the center of it all. Think about the air we breathe, for instance. We cannot live without air which is a natural resource and an obvious example of the importance of sustainable management of natural resources. We need to be able to grow the plants that we eat and to have access to the clean water we drink. We need wood and other materials to even build a home or to heat our homes. In other words, we need natural resources to survive and to thrive.
Natural resources encompass all living as well as nonliving elements of our Earth’s system. This includes plants that grow throughout our earth, fish, soil, minerals, water, and even fungi. The best way we should consider this when thinking in terms of conserving natural resources is to access how much and how fast they can be depleted and if new ones can be regenerated. If they can be regenerated, how long does it take them? For example, plants and trees are renewable because they can be regenerated pretty quickly. Copper and oil are also renewable yet it takes them years, even decades, to renew themselves, so they are actually considered non-renewable in our lifetime.
All-natural resources make up our entire ecosystem that we as humans are also a part of. We each have different types of relationships with the natural environment around us, including in spiritual ways as well as cultural. We need to look at our natural environment in ways that go well beyond the economic concerns of it all. Without nature, human development is not possible yet the relentless requirements for the earth’s resources are actually accelerating the extinction rates of many things throughout the world’s ecosystems.
When it comes to the use of natural resources, it has long been perceived as one of the elements of human rights as well as for economic development. In the 1960s, these attitudes even led to the United Nations declaring that it is the right of people in nations to have permanent control over their natural wealth and resources but basically that they should be managed in a way that is in the best interest of national development and the well-being of the people who live in each area.
In other words, natural resources have long been viewed as major assets in the creation of wealth in the development of many areas. We have used multiple natural resources in our progress of industrialization in many cases, the levels of our use have been exploited to actually surpass the natural regeneration of each natural resource. This type of over-exploitation of our natural resources ends up threatening the health and well-being of the very people that are dependent on these resources as well as their livelihoods when it comes to various types of industry. An example of this would be fishery collapses. This means that more fish have been consumed by us or killed by us because of industries that are dumping chemicals into our waterways so that there may be not enough of them in the future for use in products or for humans to eat.
This is a dangerous and slippery slope we are all on when it comes to the importance of sustainable management of natural resources. It is something we all need to think about and do our part to conserve our natural resources as much as we possibly can, including eliminating or decreasing our use of products that are adversely affecting our natural resources.