To what extent do changes in technology and society result in changes in the definition of resources

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Bethany Rossiter
To what extent do changes in technology and society result in changes in the
definition of resources?
A resource is typically defined as any aspect of the environment that can be used
to meet human needs. Resources can be classified in many ways such as by source,
such as where they originally come from, by how resources are used, how abundant
a resource is in terms of its distribution and its level of renewability. However,
there are problems with these ways of classifying resources due to technological
change which can drive an increase in supply as well as demand, along with changes
in society such as a recent rise in what humans demand. These can then lead to a
change in the definition of resources.
A good example of how changes in technology and society over time have led to
changes in the definition of resources is that of the value of food. For most of
history food has been necessary for survival, and the aim of technology was to get
enough food to survive. However, in most places around the world today,
particularly countries in the western world such as the UK and America, food is no
longer a necessity for survival, but is now used as a resource for pleasure and
leisure. This is due to factors such as a higher disposable income due to more
highly paid jobs and advances in technology such as more efficient methods of
livestock and agricultural farming. These have led to food that is not necessary
for survival become readily available in the form of fast food chains such as
McDonalds. The availability of fast food has also increased the amount of people
who eat for pleasure and ease, which is far different from eating to purely
survive. However, there are some areas in the world where food is still a resource
that provides for survival, such as the poorer areas of the world in sub Saharan
Africa. Here, the very aim of society is often just to get enough food to survive
for the day. There is a large difference in the availability of food around the
world and therefore a large difference in the meaning of food as a resource and
how food should be classified.
There have also been many changes in technology and society that have influenced
advances in energy supplies around the world. Even though oil supplies are
decreasing, there is the potential to extract more oil due to advances in
exploration, and extraction technology. This has been seen in the area 1002 region
of the Arctic national wildlife refuge (ANWR) in Alaska, where the demand for
more oil to be extracted has led to the use of new drilling technologies such as
horizontal drilling. This has enabled more oil to be extracted which has increased
the availability of oil as a resource. Also there have been changes in the use of
coal as a resource for energy, as back in 19th century England, coal was largely
used for heating homes, whereas now it is used mainly for fuelling power stations
to generate electricity. This was caused by changes in technology, which enabled
the extraction of oil and gas to become easier, leading to oil and gas taking over as

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Bethany Rossiter
the top energy sources to heat homes. However, these changes could have been due
to changes in the way society thinks about the environment and the potential for
climate change to be cause by increased pollution from fossil fuels such as coal.…read more

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Bethany Rossiter
land becoming a resource for tourism, and this resource has developed over time
due to changes in technology and society.
In conclusion, changes in technology and society have led to changes in the
definition of resources as resources have changed over time in terms of how they
can be classified, and how they are used by humans. Resources for food supply,
energy and tourism have all developed over time, from being hard to access to
becoming regular in their appearance in our lives.…read more

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