Earth Science

Natural Resources

Availability of Natural Resources

Study Tip
You can apply the principles of supply and demand to how certain parts of the world export and import natural resources.

Supply

The availability of natural resources depends on supply. Many important resources are nonrenewable, so once they are used up they will be gone forever. The earth’s supply of diamonds is limited, and most have already been mined. However, there are also non-renewable resources that exist in abundance such as sand and gravel. Running out of sand and gravel is not an issue.

Study Tip
You can apply the principles of supply and demand to how certain parts of the world export and import natural resources.
Study Tip
The same way a person may cast a shadow over another person when they stand under the sun, planets or celestial bodies that have aligned themselves cast shadows over one another as well.

Price

The price of natural resources depends on the supply of them as well as the ease of locating and extracting them. The price of oil has increased over time as the earth’s supply is used up. Resources that are difficult to use will not be utilized until there is a practical price.

Politics

Politics can affect the availability of natural resources. If a particular country has a lot of a resource, it can export it to other countries. If a country needs a particular resource, it can import these resources. Exporters and importers may encounter difficulties in negotiating prices. Since the exporter usually sets the price, the importer may encounter difficulties to adapting those set prices to match the conditions of their economy.

Oil import estimates in barrels per day in 2006.

Waste

Waste is the result of overconsumption. Often, items made from natural resources are easier to dispose of than fix when they break. As a result, waste is created. Discarded materials cause pollution to land, water, and air. Today, e-waste (from electronic waste) is a big form of waste because many consumers buy new electronic devices regularly and dispose of their old ones. Currently, there are efforts being made to recycle electronic devices by reusing valuable parts and materials in new technology.

Earth Science

Concept Check
  • What factors affect the supply of a natural resource?
  • What factors affect the price of a natural resource?
  • How is waste created and how can we reduce it?
  • How does politics affect the availability of natural resources?