Save The Earth Resource Depletion - PDF by dla17169


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									                                   Save The Earth
                                  Resource Depletion

Name: ___________________________                                           Class: ____________
Date: __________________________

In this Lesson:

In this lesson, you will learn more about the following:
    1) Introduction – What is resource depletion about.
    2) Different types of resource depletion
    3) Oil depletion
    4) Tree Depletion
            A) Impact of tree depletion
    5) Animal “depletion”
    6) Water depletion
            A) Sources of Water
            B) Causes of water depletion
            C) Impact of water depletion
    7) Soil Depletion
    A) Impact of soil depletion


                                    Resource Depletion


Resource Depletion is term used to describe the resources in a country or area being used
up and has no more of the current resource.

Resource Depletion includes the depletion of resources such as trees, oil, fish, fossil fuels,
etc. Once these resources excessive used to the extent that they cannot be replace in time
to fulfill the needs of mankind in time, they become exhausted and may eventually
disappear from the Earth altogether.

There are 2 kinds of resources, non-renewable and renewable resources. Renewable
resources such as wind, solar energy, etc are everlasting but are generally more expensive
than non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources cannot be reused after being
used for the first time, while renewable resources can be reused even after being used for
the first time.

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                                   Save The Earth
                                  Resource Depletion

This problem, resource depletion, may be due to the “over-populating” of the world, or
that there are too little resources in the world. Of course, the second option is most
unlikely. As from spring 2002, there are 6200 million people in the world and growing
too. The fact that there are too many people in the world consuming just a moderate
amount of resources in the world might most likely be the reason.

                   Different types of Resource Depletion:

    1.   Trees
    2.   Animals
    3.   Water
    4.   Fertile Soil


Oil is actually fossil fuel, natural gas, coal, etc. It is burnt in power plants to produce
steam so as to turn the turbines to give power to the city. Using oil to produce electricity
in actual fact makes even more air pollution. Some people are debating that the effects of
climate change will be a bigger concern than oil depletion, while others say that without
oil, it would be harder to combat climate change.

Actually, the effects of oil depletion are being felt now. The prices of oil have recently
rose to the extent that it has reached close to US$100 per barrel. (As of 4th Jan 2008). It is
because of oil depletion that the price of oil per barrel has risen to such prices as
mentioned above. People around the world are already feeling that the price has gone too
high. According to Matthew Simmons, the world is using 28 billion barrels per year. If
this continues, the oil reserves will run out very fast. This will eventually become a
global problem as everyone would be thinking about alternatives to oil.

To combat this problem, a protocol named The Oil Depletion Protocol was drafted to
help countries in the world combat with the growing crisis, so that once that day comes;
they would be able to combat it effectively. In short, not let countries “fall victim” to
such a crisis.


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                                 Save The Earth
                                Resource Depletion


Trees play an important role in our life. They provide us with a lot of things such as paper,
oxygen, etc. In short, they are very important to our survival on Earth. Right now, the rate
at which humans cut down trees far exceeds the rate of both natural reforestation or
managed reforestation. Currently, we are cutting trees so fast that we are actually cutting
12 million hectares of forest every year. If there are no steps taken to stop this action,
soon, we will lose almost all our forests in the world.

                      Impacts of excessive Deforestation:
   Actually, deforestation itself is not a bad thing. The problem now is that we are doing
   excessive deforestation, which means that we cut down more trees than we plant them
   which will eventually mean running out of trees to cut and affecting our future living

       1. The carbon cycle ----- Trees take in carbon dioxide and produces oxygen
          when photosynthesizing, therefore helping to control the amount of carbon
          dioxide in the air. So when excessive deforestation occurs, there would not be
          enough trees to help regulate the carbon dioxide content and the oxygen
          content in the air, resulting in the level of carbon dioxide in the air rising

       2. The water cycle ----- Plant takes in water and transpires. If there are fewer
          trees to transpire, the surrounding area will have lees moisture in the air,
          resulting in a hotter and drier climate in the future.

       3. Soil Erosion ----- The roots of the trees help hold the soil together, the
          branches and leaves of the trees also helps to shield the soil from rain or
          sunshine. With the trees gone, there won’t be anymore protection and there
          will eventually be soil erosion. Soil erosion can cause road blocks, can cause
          destruction to some small towns and cities and will also remove the fertile
          layer of soil when it occurs*.

       4. Destruction of animal habitats ----- Most animals lives in the forest. If the
          forests are excessively cut down, there will not be anymore place for them to
          live. Soon these animals will become extinct and will only exist in
          photographs or zoos or our memories.

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                                         Resource Depletion



Hunting animals for their meat or certain parts of their body has been carried out for
hundreds of years, since humans were just cave people. Instead of killing and hunting
these animals, why not conserve them, if we continue this rate of hunting, we may not
only upset the balance in the ecosystem, but also may make a species extinct, like in the
case of the dodo bird.


The Earth is about 70% covered by water, however, out of that 70%, only about 3% of it
is consumable water that we are able to consume. The present distributions of this
consumable water are 70% agriculture, 20% for industrial purposes and 10% for personal

                      Sources of Consumable Water in the world:

     1. Surface Water ----- More commonly known as freshwater water bodies, this
        includes water storage areas such as reservoirs and wetlands.
     2. Ground Water ----- It is basically water stored underground.
     3. Desalination ----- The process of turning saltwater into freshwater. It removes the
        salt from the saltwater using two ways, reverse osmosis and distillation.
     4. Glaciers* (May be classified as Surface Water) ----- This idea has not officially
        implemented and is still only a proposal.

                                      Causes of Water depletion:

There are some causes for water depletion, and they are:

     1. Overpopulation ----- With the population of the world still growing, the current
        supply of consumable water will soon not be enough to meet the world’s demands.

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                                   Save The Earth
                                  Resource Depletion

         Unless we can find an alternative water source, we will soon face a major

    2. Wastage of water ----- Water can be “recycled” too. For example, using the water
       used to wash the rice grains to water your plants, or perhaps using a pail of water
       and a cloth to wash the car instead of just using the hose to spray water at the car.
       Some people like to waste water even though they know they are doing it.
       However, wasting water like that is not helping in the water depletion problem.
       Taking water for granted is not a solution. What we can do is just to do simple
       water conservation, conserving water whenever possible. Even the small things in
       life matter. So doing so, we just might have enough water till we can find an

                     Impact of Consumable Water Depletion:

    1. Shortage of freshwater in countries ----- Currently, the world has more than 6.2
       billion population. Without proper water conservation, there would eventually be
       a shortage of fresh water in countries that are still developing, such as China and

             • This includes irrigation ----- Farming is one of the most important trades
               in certain countries. Without proper water supply, farming would
               definitely be harder and might not be able to provide enough food to sell.

             • Power plants and factories also need water for cooling purposes too. Lack
               of water would mean certain disaster for these factories and power plants.
               This could affect the production of electricity and may also affect the trade
               and industry of a country greatly.

             • Water for personal use ----- In developing countries such as China and
               India, growing population may pose a big problem when the shortage of
               water arrives. Without consumable water and proper sanitation of the
               water supply, many people are certainly going to suffer greatly.


                                Soil (Fertile) Depletion:

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                                 Save The Earth
                                Resource Depletion

For as long as we can remember, agriculture is a very important part of our survival. It
provides us a source of income, and also a source of food. Lately however, due to our
growing population, we have been using up the soil’s minerals at a very alarming rate.
Some areas are even experiencing low nutrients content in the soil.

This would eventually lead to poor quality of crops growing there and soon, we may
experience a shortage of food. Usually, the soil would replenish its nutrient content
naturally. However, the process takes quite a while; we are using the nutrients of the soil
up faster than it can replenish itself. In areas where there was once fertile soil, now it is
just a piece of barren land. An example is the “fertile crescent”, which is somewhere
around Iraq. It was once a place where many crops could grow, the soil was full of
nutrients, but now much of it is a desert.

Why is there Soil Depletion?

There are a few reasons on why the depletion of fertile soil happens. Some reasons
include soil erosion, salinization, etc. Soil erosion is due to deforestation, because the
roots of the trees are no longer there to hold the soil together, resulting in soil erosion.
Salinization is the process in which salt enters the soil. It is actually a natural process, but
over the years, human intervention is causing the salinity of soil to increase. By building
dams and reservoirs, we are disturbing the water cycle, increasing the salinity of some

                        Impacts of soil (fertile) depletion:

    1. Quality of agricultural products decreased ----- The quality of agricultural
       products relies on the nutrient content of the soil in which it is grown in. Due to
       the depletion of fertile soil, the nutrient content in the soil decreases, thus
       producing crops which have poor quality. Animals that eat the “low quality”
       plants will not have the required nutrients to stay healthy. In the long run, the
       health of humans will degrade due to this fact too.

    2. Shortage of food ----- When nutrients in the soil run out, the land is no longer
       suitable for the growth of crops. It may instead become a piece of barren land, not
       allowing anything to grow on it. If soil in many parts of the world starts to
       degrade in such a condition, we one day may not have enough fertile land to

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                                 Save The Earth
                                Resource Depletion

       produce enough crops to supply enough food to the world’s still growing

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