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What are Non-Renewable Resources?

Non-renewable resources are resources that can be consumed fast than nature can naturally produce. This class includes fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and crude oil; minerals like gold and silver; building materials like wood; and sources of food like animals and plants. These sources, though essential to everyday life, are constantly under pressure due to the continued growth of the human population.

The use of fossil fuels as an energy source dates to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. During this period, developments like the steam engine made production on a mass scale possible, the development of electric generators for the generation of electricity, and the new forms of transport like the steam locomotive and automobile. To power these new forms of technology, fossil fuels like coal and crude oil were mined and pumped from the Earth.

Despite being a technological innovation, the use of fossil fuels is only a short-term solution that has allowed for environmental problems. As they are burned, fossil fuels release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, which trap more of the Sun’s radiation into on the Earth and leading to climate change and global warming. At the same time, these sources are limited and will eventually run out, some estimates for crude oil projecting 70 years.


Other Sources

Non Renewable Resource.” Investopedia. Accessed August 11, 2016.

Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Industrial Revolution.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed August 15, 2016.

National Geographic Society. “Non Renewable Resources.” National Geographic. Accessed August 11, 2016.