The earth is home to 1.7 billion species of plants and animals. All living things depend on natural resources like land, water, forests, energy sources, and minerals for survival. Sharing these resources is a necessity.
Some natural resources like waves, forests, water, wind, or sun are renewable, meaning that they can be replenished naturally. Other resources such as natural gas and oil are nonrenewable. Once they are used up, more cannot be created.
We need to reduce our use of non- renewable resources, but even renewable resources need to be protected from damage that people can cause. For example:
• Forests: Although trees are a renewable resource, cutting down trees in a forest in an unsustainable manner can damage the soil, making it harder to grow new ones. Without trees, the plants and animals that live in the forest will die.
• Water: Most of our water comes from lakes or rivers aboveground or from large reservoirs of water underground. When it rains or snows, these resources receive new supplies of water. However, if
oil or chemicals spill into them we have less clean water to use.
— From Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Some people believe that the key to balancing our use of natural resources with the needs of people is an idea called sustainable living.
People who live sustainably look for ways to protect and preserve natural resources for future generations. They understand what ecosystems need in order to sustain and renew themselves. They feel that individuals, communities, and companies can make positive choices so we will all continue to have the water, materials, and resources our growing population needs.
Each of the following are examples of a renewable resource that humans can protect, use wisely, and/or damage. Choose one
and answer the question: What are sustainable ways to use this resource?
• Air • Forests • Fish
Record your findings using your writing journal so that you can reflect later.