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World Resources is the topic of the Weekly Chat for Module 03 during the weeks 7, 8, and 9.
Background: A resource can be defined as “something we use.” Shelter, clothing, transportation, heat, food, and so on are all resources. The word applies to the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land we farm, the ocean floor we drill, the space we use for living and recreation, and what we catch and remove from the ocean. Not only do people use more resources today, but they also use them faster than ever before.
There are three basic types of resources: renewable, nonrenewable, and perpetual. In human terms, wind, solar energy, and the movement of tides last forever, so they can be considered perpetual. Renewable resources are replenished through natural or human actions. For example, salmon is caught wild in the ocean or grown on fish farms. Creatures on land and in the ocean that give us food and other products are replaced naturally through reproduction. But renewable resources must be carefully managed. If a renewable resource is overused, it will not recover. Nonrenewable resources exist in finite amounts and once used are gone. Coal, oil, rocks, and minerals such as salt are examples of nonrenewable natural resources that took millions or even billions of years to form.
The ocean is not only fundamental to the very existence of life on earth, as it regulates our climate and provides water and oxygen to all life, but humans also use the ocean environment for recreation, extraction of resources, and commercial activity such as shipping. Yet, despite the tremendous significance of the ocean to us in our everyday lives, it can easily be argued that we are failing in how we handle the ocean as a resource. Fishing, human-induced climate change, and pollution today have left an indelible mark on virtually all of the world's oceans. According to a huge study that has mapped the total human impact on the seas for the first time, scientists have found that almost no ocean areas have been left pristine and that more than 40 percent of the world's oceans are heavily negatively affected by humans.
It comes down to each of us playing a part in making a difference in how we use and protect not only our oceans, but all earth’s natural resources. Building a sustainable future requires a shift in the ways we extract natural resources, a shift in the ways we use natural resources—and a shift in the way we think about products that are made from natural resources. In other words, every one of us has a role to play in making a sustainable future.
Some questions to possibly open the chat with or discuss prior to the LIVE chat!
What types of resources do you use in your daily life? Are these mostly renewable or nonrenewable?
Would you be willing to change your actions to use fewer resources? What suggestions can you make to reduce the amount of resources consumed in your life?
Are the world’s governments being active enough in conserving resources? Are you?