Natural resources are the natural occurring elements of the environment. This is frequently known by the amount of biodiversity that exists in various ecosystems. Once it is derived from the environment for commercial purpose, it is called raw material. Many of such resources are our life line such as water, air and solar radiation. In fact, these are essential elements for the existence of all the flora and fauna. We have almost covered all the natural resources for commercial advantage. Now, we aim to include the resources of other planets in the bounty bestowed on us.
Natural resources may be classified into two segments. Biotic resources are derived from biosphere. Forests, marine organism, animals, birds and their products including mineral fuels come in this category. The other is abiotic which includes water, air, land and elemental ores such as gold, silver, copper, iron etc.
Those resources which have been identified and are being used by us are termed as actual resources. Potential resources are those which are still being explored for gainful utilization. Petroleum exploration in several countries and probing mineral wealth of other planets come under its ambit. Within the gamut of actual resources are those which have been developed, stocked or are in reserve. Potential resources may also be termed as a kind of reserved resources since science and technology are so developed that potential will eventually end up as an actual.
With depletion of non-renewable or exhaustible resources, we have concentrated our efforts to harness renewable or non-exhaustive resources for economic viability. There is immense scope available for their gainful utilization. Primarily, we find infinite capability in renewable resources like air, wind, water and sunlight to provide us alternate source of electrical energy.
There has been wasteful exploitation of natural resources in the past. This has been due to ignorance, carelessness but mostly due to greed. In order to get more profit with little labour or energy input, the waste to useful product ratio had been quite high. With danger of depletion in naturally occurring raw materials, ways and means are adopted to reverse this dangerous road map. Discipline of natural resource management, waste management within the umbrella of universal environment management made compulsory by the International Standard Organization, natural resources are getting the kind of respect it deserves. This was necessary lest global warming, climatic changes, Tsunami and the likes would become more aggressive towards annihilation of mankind. We have to save ourselves from becoming future natural resources.