May 7, 2010: Protecting resources now protects a precious future, by Megan Thoman

What is the greatest problem future generations will face?  This is one of the many questions young people now ask.

One answer to this is not having enough resources to continue living as people currently do.   Water, fossil fuels, trees, metals and minerals are all resources that humans take from the earth and use in our everyday lives, and the constant advancement of society continues to deplete these limited supplies.

Water covers around 70 percent of the earth’s surface, but only about 2 percent of it is drinkable.  Out of that 2 percent, much is trapped in glaciers or ice caps and is impossible to reach.  So we end up with less than 1% of the water on Earth safe and available to drink and even that amount is slowly decreasing.

Progressive industrialization and rapidly advancing science have led to a dramatic increase in  water pollution, which not only affects the water we drink but also water for the plants and animals we ultimately use as food. Being mindful of how much water is used and how it used is an important habit to gain.

Fossil fuels, metals and other products that are retrieved from below the ground are decreasing at a threatening rate. The use of fossil fuels and metals has continued to increase, and their limited reserves have only decreased.

Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources and once they are gone, they cannot be replaced within one’s lifetime.  Metals can be recycled, but will deteriorate when exposed to the atmosphere, and each time they are recycled a little bit of their original mass is decreased.  Looking at how these resources are used and being sensible about how they are used will be beneficial in the long run.

Depleting non-renewable resources is one thing, but it really says something when even renewable resources are beginning to run low. The rain forest that provides for a majority of the world’s wood supply is disappearing at a rate of one and a half acres per second; the trees are being cut down at a rate faster than they can be replaced.  It’s not about becoming a tree hugger, but being careful of how fast the earth’s resources disappear is good idea so that future people have a chance to live rich lives.

It is important to remember that while Earth has been good to humans so far, if we take too much from the Earth, it will eventually stop offering us its precious resources.  Remember Mother Earth is literally the ground beneath our feet, so be good to it, and it will be good back.

— Megan Thoman, the daughter of Lowell and Mary Thoman, is a senior at Concordia High School and a member of the Hollis Hustlers 4-H club.

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