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Using Earth’s Resources- What are Natural Resources-

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Online Content: How is coal formed and why is it considered a nonrenewable resource? (Site 1)

Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock with a high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons. Coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form. Coal contains the energy stored by plants that lived hundreds of millions of years ago in swampy forests. The plants were covered by layers of dirt and rock over millions of years. The resulting pressure and heat turned the plants into a substance now known as coal.

Online Content: Read the section titled "How Do We Get Natural Gas?" How do scientists determine locations for drilling for natural gas? Where are many natural gas drill sites located? (Site 2)

Natural gas is a gas that occurs deep beneath the earth’s surface. Natural gas consists mainly of methane, a gas (or compound) with one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Natural gas also contains small amounts of hydrocarbon liquids and nonhydrocarbon gases. Natural gas can be used as a fuel or to make materials and chemicals.

Online Content: What are three ways in which you can manage forests and trees? (Site 3)

There’s lots of reasons to use natural renewable resources! Two good reasons are suggested by the name. First, natural renewable resources are good to use because they are renewable. Let’s think about the gasoline we use in cars. Gasoline is a non-renewable resource, which means that we’re going to run out! Someday, there won’t be any gasoline left. We’ll have to think of something else to use to run our cars! If you use non-renewable resources, you’re using something that cannot be replaced and will, one day, no longer exist. Now let’s think about trees and wood. Wood is a renewable resource. So long as we take good care of the forests, we will never run out of wood! This brings us to an important point. You can’t just use renewable resources any old way you want to and think it will always come back! You have to manage your renewable resources! Managing resources just means taking care of them. For instance, managing forests and trees means that you have to take care of forest soils and water, harvest the trees correctly, and most times replant the trees you took. In other words, renewable resources are renewable only if you take good care of them! Of course, wood and trees aren’t the only renewable resources; Wind, solar power, and hydroelectric power are other examples of renewable resources! So long as we manage these resources correctly, we will always be able to use them.

Journal Activity: Discuss the formation of fossil fuels, and whether they are considered biotic or abiotic resources.

In addition, fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum are classified as biotic because they derive from organic matter, with coal believed to have formed from land plants and petroleum from plankton. Abioticnatural resources. Abiotic natural resources are those obtained from non-living sources.

Practice: Explain how fossil fuel use in the US makes us vulnerable to the demands of foreign countries.

The United States imports much of its petroleum from foreign countries who can set the price. This leaves the United States vulnerable to price spikes and artificial shortages as happened during the 1970’s oil crisis

Which of the following best explains why air is considered a natural resource?

a. Air is expensive to produce and keep clean.

b. Air is a raw material for biological processes supplied by the Earth.

c. Air can be processed to generate expensive chemicals.

d. None of the above

B. Air is a raw material for biological processes supplied by the Earth.

It is expected that US forests will _______.

a. not be able to meet long term timber needs

b. be able to meet long term timber needs

c. result in deforestation

d. provide increasingly cheaper timber

b. be able to meet long term timber needs

Explain how fossil fuels originated, and why this process results in them being considered nonrenewable resources.

Fossil fuels were formed from the remains of plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. When the remains of these organisms were buried they began to undergo transformations into fossil fuels. Fuels such as coal were formed from organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs, so the length of times involved in their formation are so long as to be beyond the life span of any species. This long formation time is why they are considered nonrenewable resources.

Cyanobacteria have been genetically modified to produce _______.
a. oil
b. natural gas
c. isobutanol
d. none of the above

c. isobutanol

Which of the following is an example of a natural resource?

a. water
b. ice
c. oxygen
d. all of the above

d. all of the above

Explain how humans react and adapt to the limited availability of water.

One of the easiest things people can do when water is scarce is limit its use. Lawns get watered less often, or only at specific times of day. Vehicles are washed less often or not at all. In addition, when water is scarce, wastewater is reused more often if it does not contain sewage. Even blackwater gets used more, but only after processing it to remove contaminants and pathogens

The US consumes almost _______ of timber annually.
a. 5 million cubic feet
b. 20 billion cubic feet
c. 40 billion cubic yards
d. 30 million cubic yards

b. 20 billion cubic feet

Distinguish between the fossils of ice age mammals found in the La Brea Tar Pits and the organisms that make up the fossil fuels of the tar.

The tar in the La Brea Tar Pits is a fossil fuel that began forming hundreds of million years ago from the bodies of marine organisms. During the last ice age, a few tens of thousands of years ago, mammals like mammoths and sabertooth cats, became trapped in the tar, leaving their bones behind. The mammals became trapped in the tar that already existed, and were not in fact part of what created it.

Explain the difference between actual and potential resources and why the distinction is important. Do the same for renewable and nonrenewable resources.

Student answers will vary but may include: Potential resources are those that may be used at some future point, but are not being used now, like actual resources. Renewable resources are those that are continually replenished while nonrenewable resources are produced over such long periods of time that they are not considered replenishable. The distinctions are important because resources that are actively being used, actual resources, impact people’s daily lives. And if these resources are nonrenewable, rather than renewable, they can only be used for a limited period of time.

The natural resources used by society are limited by various factors. Why is coal considered a nonrenewable resource?
a.Once coal is used up, it can never be replaced.

b.Coal is a nonrenewable resource, because it comes from the impact of meteors with the Earth.

c.Coal was a renewable resource, until it was mismanaged by humans.

d.Coal is considered a nonrenewable resource, because it takes millions of years to form.

d.Coal is considered a nonrenewable resource, because it takes millions of years to form.

Why does fossil fuel use in the United States make the U.S. vulnerable to the political wishes of foreign countries?

a. The US is a net exporter of fossil fuels.

b. Fossil fuels lead to global climate change.

c. The US imports much of its petroleum from foreign countries which set the prices.

d. All of the above.

c. The US imports much of its petroleum from foreign countries which set the prices.

In the long term, why is it important to reduce demands for timber?

a. Lower demand will prevent large increases in timber prices.

b. Lower demand will prevent large decreases in timber prices.

c. There will be large shortfalls in timber supplies.

d. There will be large surpluses of timber supplies.

a. Lower demand will prevent large increases in timber prices.

Which of the following is not a natural resource?

a. time
b. water
c. land
d. air

a. time

The USGS estimates that the United States uses less than 200 billion gallons of water a day.

False

The leading cause of limited water supplies is _______.

a. low precipitation
b. overuse
c. limiting use
d. government

a. low precipitation

Fish, trees, and animals are important wildlife resources that we depend on for survival. Fish are a main source of food for many of the people in the world. Trees have been used to build and heat homes, make paper, and provide food for centuries. Humans hunt land animals such as deer, fox, antelope, and buffalo for food and other products. What can we do to protect wildlife resources so they will be around for future generations?

harvest fast-growing trees, impose fishing limits, and impose laws to prevent poaching and illegal hunting

The asphalt in the La Brea Tar Pits is composed of hydrocarbons, but is not considered a fossil fuel.

False

How can reduced precipitation lead to limited water availability?

It may lead to overuse.

It makes water nonrenewable.

It contaminates current supplies.

It may lead to drought.

It may lead to drought.

The natural resources used by society are limited by various factors. Why is coal considered a nonrenewable resource?

a.Once coal is used up, it can never be replaced.

b.Coal is a nonrenewable resource, because it comes from the impact of meteors with the Earth.

c.Coal was a renewable resource, until it was mismanaged by humans.

d.Coal is considered a nonrenewable resource, because it takes millions of years to form.

d.Coal is considered a nonrenewable resource, because it takes millions of years to form.

Fossil fuels are an important natural resource used by society. Which of the following best describes fossil fuels?

a. They are any liquid fuel derived from once-living matter.

b. They are organic fuels derived from ancient plants and animals.

c. They are fuels in which dinosaur fossils are commonly found.

d. They are naturally occurring inorganic fuels like coal and petroleum.

b. They are organic fuels derived from ancient plants and animals.

Wild animals are not considered a natural resource.

False

The leading cause of limited water supplies is:
waste.

overuse.

water pollution.

reduced precipitation.

reduced precipitation.

Despite the energy crisis in the 1970s, the United States has

increased its dependence on foreign oil sources

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