Geography Paper 1 Resource Depletion 2010

Part 2 of 2. Follow on from the development now this is the resource depletion which is about energy.

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Resource: A resource is anything that is useful to people.

Is anything a resource?

Water, air, soil, minerals, animals, people and anything else we use is a resource. There are organinc or living such as fish and inorganic resources such as minerals. People are resources as they use their brains and body parts for manual labour.

Resources such as coal, oil and natural gas took millions of years to form, once they are used they are gone. These are called non renewable resources.Living resources like fish and trees are renewable, they are renewable as long as we don't use too much of them. Air and water are what we describe as naturally renewable but can be made unusable by pollution. Non renewable resources that exist in a finite quantity ( not an endless supply) are called reserves. Resources are found all over the world. They are often owned by the land owner, a country or a company.

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Fossil Fuels and Minerals

Coal, oil and gas are non-renewable resources. They are created from the remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.

Coal: Coal is the most used fuel for energy. Some countries are more heavily depedant on it that others. Coal is a useful export for less wealthy countries like Indonesia and Colombia.

Oil and Natural Gas: Oil is produced mainly in LEDC's. This is benefitting then as they are able to export it to the MEDC's. However LEDC's may not have the technology to produce the oil easily and cheaply, which then takes the toll of them not being paid enough so the country still not having alot of money.

Minerals: Iron, Copper, Lead, Zinc, Tin and more all exist in limited quantities on the earths crust, but unlike fossil fuels they are not generally destroyed in use and could be recycled indefinetly. However articles made form these are often thrown away in rubbish sites so become unusable.

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Renewable Energy (Part 1)

  • Hydro-electric Power: HEP can be generated on a small scale, where water flows down a mountains side, or on a large scale like Niagara Falls.There are problems with this method: - expensive - few permanant jobs are created -people are displaced by the rising water. Little pollution. Help Control Floods. Dams are expensive to build. Floods Land.
  • Wind Power: Best places are in Wales, Scotland and Cornwall as they are the windiest. It is clean. But the turbines are large which are a eyesore and the huge blades are killing birds. It could produce 10% of the UK's electricity. Low running costs. No air pollution. Provides income for farmers. Effective in strong winds which is usually in the winter. Noisy, Expensive to build and maintain.
  • Solar Power: Has great potetial in places where ther is a lot of sun. This method can't be used in the UK and they are difficult to install. Energy can be varied depending on weather and reduced depending on the time of year. Good for small scale uses. No pollution. Limited locations. Expensive to set up.
  • Geothermal Energy: This is very important in volcanic countries like Iceland, Japan and New Zealand. Hot rocks below the surface heat water, and hot springs or steam are used to generate electricity. This method is free, renewable and constant but is only available to some people in some areas. Renewable, Reliable and non polluting. Limited locations with possible danger of earthquakes, eruptions and sulphur. Expensive to build and maintain.
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Renewable Energy (Part 2)

  • Biogas Systems: using animal dung and organic waste to produce methane, this has great potential in LEDC's where they reduce the demand for fuelwood.
  • Tidal Power: has potential in the UK and several schemes have been proposed. It is already sucessful in France. Unlimited Supply and unlimited supply and no pollution. Expensive to build.
  • Wave Power:has been successful in Scandonavia and has great potential along the British Coastline. Masses of free energy in waves. Expensive: equipment to survive servere weather conditions is still being developed.
  • Nuclear Power:is generated using uranium, it is in such small quantities that it can be reguarded as renewable. Can be seen as clean, little air pollution, government support, low running costs. Water pollution. Radioactive waste is very difficult to dispose of. Accidents can occur.
  • Biomass: includes vegetation and organic materials. Quick growing willow can be used in power stations. This gives off greenhouse gases but growing the crop absorbs them. Fuelwood and dung are often burnt in LEDC's resulting in deforestation and animal dung made be better used as a fertiliser for crops.Makes use of poor land. Large growing area needed. Specialist equiptment needed.
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Recycling: cuts waste disposal costs, saves energy, conserves resources, creates jobs, keeps streets clean and raises public awareness about resources.

Plastics that are made from oil can be recycled but have to be dealt wwith first. If the vaiue gained financially and environmentally is greater than the value of the resource lost then it is worth recycling. Glass is 100% worth recycling. All of the glass can be recylcled. Aluminium is very efficiently re-used.

Who is envolved with recycling?

  • Governements: Set targets
  • Local Authorities: Put it into practice
  • Environmental NGO's: make us aware of why we need to recycle

In Curitiba Brazil the poor people collect the rubbish from the streets that can be recycled and in exchange can receive bus tickets, money or food for doing so. This helps keep the area tidy and also helps the poorer community survive as they then have money to spend of food and their home.

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Renewable Resources

How do we use oceans?

  • For fish, so for a food supply
  • Gravel and Sand are used in the construction Industry
  • As a waste dump: chemicals, oil, radioactive materials and agricultural chemicals pollute the oceans and can turn a valuable resource into a health hazard.

How do we use Forests?

  • Provide Timber, Fuelwood and charcoal
  • Protect Water Supplies
  • Porvide a home for wildlife
  • Protect from soil erosion
  • Absorb Carbon Dioxide
  • Recreational Activities
  • Scenic Resource
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