What makes a resource sustainable?

Sustainability is the main topic of our blog as an important topic in today’s environmentally-conscious world.

It is a term that’s often used in the zero-waste movements around the world, which promotes the idea of conserving natural resources, and reducing pollution from extraction, manufacturing and disposal. 

But what makes a resource sustainable?

This ultimately depends on the given resource’s rate of depletion, exploitation and its harnessing.

In other words, it is a resource that can continuously be replenished or exploited at a rate at which won’t lead to its depletion for future generations. 

Examples of sustainable resources

Here are some examples of sustainable resources and how they’re harnessed:

  • Solar energy: as the name implies, solar energy comes from the sun. It is usually harnessed through photovoltaic cells and solar panels that draw in light and convert it into energy which we can use for electricity, heating and other purposes. 
  • Wind energy: also known as wind power, this natural weather phenomenon is harnessed through the use of windmills to convert mechanical energy into electricity. Most coastal towns around the world have stronger winds and this energy can be converted and used to contribute to power stations, supplying light and heat to homes. 
  • Hydropower/Wave energy: whether in the form of waves that naturally occur in seas and oceans, or in dams which have fast-turning turbines, hydropower or wave energy is the use of the power of fast-flowing water which turns turbines and converts kinetic energy into electrical energy. 
  • Geothermal energy: found in lava mountains that form volcanoes as well as hot springs, geothermal energy utilises natural heat for human purposes such as heating or cooling buildings. 
  • Biomass energy: biomass energy can be harnessed through various sources including wood, manure, crops and even some types of rubbish. This type of waste is submitted to chemical and/or biological processes which release biogas that is then captured and used to create electricity. 
  • Trees: When forests are replenished, their trees can be a sustainable resource for human use.

Why sustainable resources are important for preserving the environment

Harnessing the power, energy and uses of sustainable resources is a fundamental step for preserving the environment because in most cases they can be replenished and won’t run out in the long run, helping us ensure there are sufficient resources for the generations to come. 

Today, many countries around the world are increasingly implementing and investing in sustainable energy resources in their energy mix, helping to reduce pollution caused by non-renewable resources such as coal or crude oil and the ultimate subsequent release of harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.