The term depletion refers to the decrease in the amount of water, oil, coal, wood, and minerals. Depletion usually occurs when continue to consume natural resources at a faster rate. Let’s get into our depleted definition.
In simple terms, the word depleted means used up, exhausted or diminished in number. For instance, if people have used up/diminished most of their coal reservoirs, this suggests that they have depleted the coal reserves.
Having discussed the depleted meaning, it’s time to know what exactly is the natural resource depletion and how it affects us.
Natural Resource Depletion
A few centuries ago, humans learned to use natural resources at a relatively small scale. However, after the advent of the industrial revolution, we started to exploit the natural resources in an indiscriminate manner.
Basically, there are two kinds of natural resources. These include;
- Renewable resources
- Non-renewable resources
As the name suggests, these are the resources that we can use again and again. This is so, as these resources are capable of renewing their supply. Air, water, and sunlight are examples of renewable resources.
These are the resources, which don’t grow back. Therefore, once depleted, it is not possible to renew their supply. For instance, coal is a non-renewable energy resource.
This means that each time we use coal, its quantity is decreasing. As a result, lesser or no coal will be available in the future.
Explaining the Problem of Natural Resource Depletion
Although renewables replenish their supply after a certain period, it doesn’t suggest that these natural resources are immune from depletion. The reason for this is the unbridled consumption of these resources. We are not giving enough time for these resources to replenish themselves.
Besides, the gravity of the situation is evident from the alarming figures, which relates to the depletion of natural resources like gas, coal, and fossil fuels.
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Examples of Natural Resources Depletion
Below are the facts, which tell us how mercilessly and irresponsibly we are using our resources.
- Coal: This fossil fuel is a non-renewable natural resource. We started using coal as a source of energy centuries ago. Initially, the demand was quite low but as the industry grew, the consumption of coal also surged. According to some estimates, coal reserves in various countries are already close to extinction.
- Water: Although our planet earth comprises of 70% water, only a fraction of it is fresh water. According to the report published by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly 1.8 billion people will have no or reduced access to drinking water by the year 2025. Some people consider water to be renewable.
- Natural Gas: If the current production and consumption rate continues, it is estimated that natural gas reserves could only last for the next 60 to 70 years.
- Oil: There are only 188.8 million tons of oil reserves left in the world. If the demand continues to surge, it won’t be possible to use such reserves for more than 50 years or so.
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What are the Causes of Natural Resources Depletion?
Although there is a wide range of causes of natural resources depletion, listed below are a few of the most concerned.
Overconsumption and waste
With an improvement in the living standards of general masses, they started to consume natural resources at a great pace. For instance, the number of cars in any given city has increased to a considerable number. As a result, consumption of fuel also surged dramatically.
Since people can afford to buy the fuel, they frequently travel via their own vehicles. This isn’t consumption but the wastage of natural resources. This is so, traveling via public transport would tend to consume much less fuel.
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As the population grows, the demand and consumption of natural resources also increase. This results in depletion of these resources at a much faster rate.
Minerals and metals are in high demand these days. This means we need to mine these resources continuously. As a result, various ores and minerals are on the verge of depletion.
Technological and Industrial development
We have witnessed huge technological advancements in almost every field of our lives. Every luxury comes with a price. Similar is the case with the advantages of industrial/technological advancement. We have paid a huge price for the perks of such an advancement.
With an increase in the production of industrial products, the consumption of different resources also increased. This results in the fast depletion of these resources.
Erosion of Soil
Since we have consumed a lot of wood during the past few decades, forests are shrinking rapidly. Due to the menace of deforestation, we are facing another problem in terms of soil erosion.
This results in the dissolution and depletion of essential minerals and resources.
Effects of Natural Resources Depletion
The depleted natural resources cast a drastic impact on the environment as well as on our lives. Some of these effects are as under:
- Shortage: The natural resources like timber, water, and fossil fuels become scarce due to overconsumption. In the end, this shortage may result in depletion of such resources.
- Price increase: With the shortage of resources in hand, the prices of various commodities also increase. Hence, we experience a surge in the price of food, beverages, and electricity.
Also, when natural resources deplete we are naturally damaging flora and fauna around us.
Conclusion on Depleted Definition & Examples
In this article, we have discussed the depleted definition, which suggests that the availability of natural resources is diminishing with each passing day. The major cause of such a depletion relates to the overconsumption of such resources.
In fact, the issue of natural resource depletion is much more serious than we expect. The uncontrolled surge in the population and excessive use of resources are making things even worse.
Besides, we also need to act responsibly while consuming natural resources.
For this purpose, we should think about the concept of sustainable development. This type of development helps to meet the current needs without consuming the already scarce natural resources.
By following this approach, we will be in a position to meet our energy needs and preserve a considerable amount of resources of upcoming generations.
Check out our renewable energy dictionary for a list of further terms.
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