We’re using more and more resources. Why it’s time to do something about this!

We know the planet Earth as our home. The only known home in the universe to any lifeform. And while we’re busy looking for an Earth 2.0, it’s ironic how we’re depleting the resources we already have.

We’ve all heard speeches by Greta Thunberg and the UN mission to save the planet. But the root of the problem still stands. We’re using more and more resources. It’s time to do something about this!

What can you do? How can we make sure we don’t end up leaving behind nothing for our future generations? The answer lies in our day-to-day activities. But before we do that, we need to understand precisely what it is that we’re doing wrong.

In this article, we’ll discover all the little things we are doing wrong. And how to make subtle changes in our lives that will help save the planet.

What do the numbers mean?

If we condense the total history of our planet to one calendar year, how long have we existed? You’d be surprised to find out that we, the modern human, have only been around for 37 minutes!

There’s something even more surprising. A species (us) that has only spent such little time on a planet that’s been around for so long has used up one-third of its resources. That too in just 0.2 secs, according to this calculation. If that’s not bad enough on its own, the UN suggests we’re making way for our very own mass extinction.

But don’t worry, all isn’t lost yet. There are still a few things you can do to prevent this from happening.

How severe is the problem?

If we look at the bigger picture, the human race has been around for 315,000 years. Out of this time, things took a turn for the worst in the past 30-50 years. This is the time where we went completely overboard. We ended up using more resources than we ever did in history.

The World Counts gives an estimate of the number of planets, a.k.a earths, we need to sustain the human race. At this point in time, we need about 1.8 earths. If things continue going the way they’re going; we’ll need two earths by the year 2030.

But there’s a catch! We only have one Earth. The question now is, what can we do to turn the tables? How do we flip the odds in our favor?

How much are we consuming?

Before we go on to unravel measures of fixing things, let’s step back. Let’s have a look at how many resources we actually consume.

A 2017 study estimated that the annual use of all the natural resources by humans per year is approximately 88 billion tons. To put things into perspective, here’s a list breaking down all the categories of natural resources we’re exploiting:

  1. Biomass = 22.5 billion tonnes
  2. Fossil fuels = 15 billion tonnes
  3. Metal ores = 9.1 billion tones
  4. Non-metallic minerals = 41.7 billion tonnes

If we don’t change our ways, these numbers will have doubled by the year 2050.

The top five depleting natural resources and the solutions

So what resources are running out the fastest? And what can we do about it? Here are the top five depleting natural resources and the solutions.

1) Water

We’ve all been taught that the Earth is 70% water. But how much of that can we actually use? Unfortunately, out of the total amount of water, only about 2.5% is fit for direct consumption. The rest is salty seawater which we can’t use.

According to researchers, the year 2025 will bring about a severe shortage of water. People with agricultural land will suffer a lot. But our troubles don’t just end there. If water isn’t available for agriculture, you can expect a lack of food and drastic famines.

Lucky for you, there are ways to use water a lot more responsibly than you realize. Let’s have a look at how that’s possible!

Potential solutions

Water preservation

The best way to preserve water is to use only what you need. You don’t need a two-hour-long hot shower; all you need is 5 to 10 mins. Don’t leave the tap running while brushing teeth. Use buckets instead of running water at car washes. Water your plants in the morning or evening, when it’s most effective.

All these little changes in habit will certainly go a long way.

Water filtration

We’ve already established that seawater is unfit for drinking. But what if we told you that there’s a way you can change that? The solution to this is water filtration.

Progressive countries with limited natural resources, like Singapore, are already using this method on a large scale. If they relied on the country’s natural water supply, meeting the people’s needs would be next to impossible.

The best part is that you can do the same at your home as well. Use a whole house water filter for producing your very own drinking water. (Want to know more? This guide helps you find the best whole house water filter.) And use water filter bottles when on the go.

Filtering yourself allows you to enjoy safe drinking water at home without purchasing bottled water. This measure isn’t just great for efficient water consumption. The good news is that you also end up reducing your carbon footprint by reducing plastic water bottle waste.

2) Oil

Did you know that we might run out of oil in the next 46 or so years if consumption doesn’t reduce? This is a recurring fear among people in the oil industry. It could even lead to global conflicts and outright wars. But it’s less than ideal for you individually as well. Most of our vehicles and industry runs on oil. One can only imagine the chaos the lack of oil would cause.

Potential solutions

How can we fix this? Among other measures you can take, these are the three most effective solutions.

Electric vehicles

With technological advances, battery-powered cars are easily available. All you need to do is plug it into a charging station similar to a fueling station. The best part is it’s either free charging or extremely cheap.

Reduce the use of private cars

Perhaps the easiest and financially sustainable solution is reducing the number of trips you make in your car. Take a walk or use a bicycle. It’s also great for your health. Plus, most countries have extremely advanced public transport. You can save yourself some cash while you save the planet.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is something we should all be looking into on a larger scale. Industries and individuals alike can shift to solar, wind or hydro-powered equipment.

3) Natural gas and coal

Similar to oil, natural gas and coal are running out as well. In the longer run, this could mean total chaos.

Potential solution

Like oil, the best way to combat this issue is the use of renewable energy — both on individual and industrial levels.

4) Fish

Fish are high in proteins and fibers and have numerous health benefits. Besides that, fish makes a major portion in many people’s diet. However, fishermen have reported alarmingly low numbers of catches lately.

This is largely because of water pollution and the overfishing we’ve been doing. The fish haven’t been able to reproduce, and numbers have thus declined on a drastical scale.

Potential solution

Making use of scientific research in the field of fish farming and lowering the level of pollution in sea, rivers and ponds can go a long way.

5) Phosphorus

Why do we need phosphorus? Phosphorus is a major fertilizer component. And without fertilizers, many of our crops would simply die. Without crops, hunger and famine is a very sad fate we’re heading at.

Experts predict that the Earth’s phosphorus stores might fully deplete within the next 50-100 years.

Potential solution

The best we can do in this case is preservation. Since phosphorus is scarce, we should prioritise its usage.

Earth is our home – we need to look after it

The most important thing we still need to understand is that the Earth is the only place we can call home. While the search for a new home continues, we need to make sure we use the resources we have responsibly.

The good news is that it isn’t too late yet. Just a few changes in our lifestyles can be enough to guarantee a future for those who will come after us.