Industrialization had a profound impact on the environment that will have lasting consequences. Whether it be the pollution of the air, the effect it has on living conditions in parts of the world (China for example), or specifically the effect it has had on the earth’s natural resources. These effects have been more often overlooked rather than directly addressed, until today.
Earth’s natural resources are finite, meaning that there is a limited amount of them. Yes, with time they can be replenished and restored back to their original amount, but this takes hundreds of thousands to millions of years to do. With how much we use these resources today, that is foolish thinking.
Nonetheless, the issue before us is that our primary resource that we use for manufacturing, coal, is depleting rapidly. The article “Depleting of Natural Resources” says this about coal, “This is the most used fossil fuel and a non-renewable energy source. Peak coal extraction is predicted between 2025 and 2048. In 2011, it was estimated that we have enough coal to meet global demands for 188 years.If the demand increases, the timeframe will decrease.” This is a very interesting dilemma. We need coal to produce the massive amount of resources that we use for every day life, but if there is any increase, the time we have to use coal starts to dwindle away.
This foundational use of coal is rooted in the industrial revolution. In the U.S. coal mines were set up as a means for work for the people who lived in those areas. These mines helped to support the large factories that were producing large amounts of resources to be used in America as well as to be shipped out for trade. This boosted the American economy significantly, but had irreversible effects on the environment and natural resources that we are dealing with today.
Further, the industrial revolution lead to the large-scale consumption of other fossil fuels (another word for natural resources). Things like petroleum, other ores, and oil/gas are also being depleted. In addition to fossil fuels being depleted, the use/burning of the fossil fuels are in turn polluting the air that we breath and are effecting parts of the atmosphere.
Taking that into account, we are currently working on alternative forms of energy that will replace coal in the future. For example, solar power, wind energy, and nuclear energy are a few alternatives to coal. These a far cleaner, meaning that they are safer for the environment, and they would start to solve the issues that we are having with pollution, environmental effects, and depletion of natural resources.
Natural Resources (Primary Source)