Sustainable use of resources

A small girl puts a bottle into a black plastic recycling bin
A recycling point in Eastbourne, Sussex

The world's natural resources have conflicting demands upon them and can be difficult to manage.

Conflicting demands for resources

  • The environment should be preserved.
  • Resources need to be retained for future generations to enjoy.
  • Humans need to continue to make and do the things that allow them to live comfortably.
  • LEDCs need to develop through exploiting their resources.
  • There should be a better balance between the consumption of those resources between LEDCs and MEDCs.
Wind Turbines on Ovenden Moor, West Yorkshire
Wind Turbines on Ovenden Moor, West Yorkshire

To conserve natural resources for future generations, sustainable management of the natural environment is necessary. Alternative resources might be developed in order to ease the strain on finite resources. However, alternative resources can be expensive and take time to develop. Existing resources could be used more efficiently, to prevent finite resources being used up so quickly.

Ways to limit the damage caused by humans to the environment include:

  • Sustainable resource management can help ensure that the use of resources does not cause an imbalance in the environment. Increasingly, sustainable practices are being encouraged to preserve animal and plant life for the benefit of future generations. An example of sustainable development is eco-tourism. Tourists are able to enjoy areas of natural beauty without requiring over-development that might harm the environment.
  • Recycling resources reduces waste. Used cans, bottles, paper and cardboard can be recycled and reduces the need to use extra resources.
  • Limiting carbon emissions generated from industrial and domestic use of fuels can assist in reducing pollution levels and limit environmental problems such as global warming and acid rain. Some nations, including the UK, signed the Kyoto Protocol to say they will try to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Resource substitution is another sustainable way in which resources can be managed. Renewable resources can be used instead of finite resources. Electric power can be produced with a renewable energy resource such as tidal, wind or solar power instead of fossil fuels.

Eco tourism resort in Belize
Eco tourism resort in Belize
Move on to Video
next