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Resources of the Earth

The Earth is the only planet throughout the universe which supports life. The distance from the Sun makes the Earth a place where different life forms can exist. For these life forms to exist, the Earth has the features and the products. These products and features of the Earth that allow the existence of life and satisfy the needs of living organisms are called natural resources. The resources of the earth are the land, the water and the air. The outer crust of the Earth is called the lithosphere.


Objectives of this chapter

 To know about renewable and non renewable source of energy
  • Water cycle
  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Carbon cycle
  • Nitrogen cycle
  • Water cycle
Water covers 75% of the Earth’s surface and it is called the hydrosphere. The air that covers the entire Earth is called the atmosphere. Living things are found where these three exist. The Earth where the atmosphere, the hydrosphere and the lithosphere interact and make life possible, is called the biosphere.

Types of Natural Resources 

Land and water are natural resources. So are biological resources on land and in water such as trees, fruits, animals, fish, etc.

Other resources are air, sunlight and climate.

Mineral resources are natural resources too. They include oil, coal, metals and nonmetals.

These resources are used by man to make food and fuel.



Raw materials for the production of finished goods

All the food we consume comes from plants and animals. These biological resources depend on other natural resources such as air, sunlight, soil and water. Since man has progressed, mineral resources have become part of his modern living even though they are not as important as biological resources. Mineral fuels including coal, oil and natural gas are used to provide heat, light and to generate power. Minerals also serve as raw materials for its finished goods such as cars, refrigerators and machines.
So the wealth of a nation depends to a certain extent on the natural resources it has. Developed countries such as United States or Australia are rich in natural resources, whereas most developing countries have fewer natural resources. However, some countries like India, China and Indonesia do have many natural resources.


Renewable and non renewable resources
Our resources are divided into two groups - renewable and non-renewable.
Renewable resources
Renewable resources are those that will either never run out (e.g. the Sun) or are renewed through relatively rapid natural cycles (e.g. ground water replenished through the water cycle). 

Non-renewable resources 
Non-renewable resources are those which once used up are exhausted, e.g. coal, oil or natural gas which take millions of years to be formed and hence are not renewed once used up. However, some non-renewable resources can be used again and again, e.g. metals.

Find out various non conventional energy resources used in your town. Note down their number and applications. Prepare a table as given below.


Based on the above discussion we can further divide renewable and non renewable resources as shown.   


In this cycle, hydrogen is the main element that circulates in the form of water. It is also called the hydrologic cycle. 


Water is an essential component in the process of living. A large amount of water is present in all living cells. You may also recall the considerable amount of water you depend on in your everyday activities. Utilization of water as a natural resource and its cycling back to water bodies are, therefore, very significant. Water evaporates from oceans, rivers, lakes as well as from the lithosphere. Water also evaporates from plants (transpiration) and the surface of animal bodies. Condensation of vapours at low temperatures causes vapours to form water droplets.

The rains then precipitate down to the oceans, rivers, ponds and lakes. Water also enters the soil and gets stored as 'water tables'. Water tables help in adding water to the springs and wells. Due to the processes of vaporization and condensation, fresh water is available to plants and animals. Sometimes you must have shared the concern and panic among people when the monsoon fails to arrive.


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