What Are Natural Resources?

Natural resources are the things that humans need to survive and thrive, like food, air, water, and shelter. Some of these resources can be replenished, while others cannot.

Non-renewable resources are those that take a long time to renew, usually millions of years. Examples include fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and minerals such as uranium.


Water is a naturally occurring substance that is found in all of the earth's atmosphere and in the oceans. It consists of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, each of which forms polar covalent bonds with other water molecules.

This enables it to dissolve a wide range of other substances, including solids and liquids. It is one of the most abundant and essential compounds on earth, and life depends on its aqueous solution.

Water is an important resource for human health and well-being, as it helps prevent dehydration, provides relief from constipation, enhances arousal and alertness, and supports the functioning of the body's musculoskeletal system (joints). It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy environment by protecting against flooding and helping maintain clean water supplies.


Air is a mixture of gases that includes oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and very small amounts of water vapour and other gases. It also contains tiny solid particles called aerosols.

Air sustains life on earth because it carries oxygen to our lungs and helps our cells create energy in the form of ATP. Without this energy, the cells of living organisms would die.

Air also helps keep our planet warm. It contains carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that absorb infrared radiation released by the sun, keeping the surface of our earth warm.


Soil is one of the most important natural resources on the planet. It provides a medium for plants to grow, a habitat for animals, and stores water for use when it rains or snow melts.

Soils are complex ecosystems of air, water, minerals and microorganisms that react in incredible ways with one another. It also helps control where water goes, recycles nutrients, purifies and decomposes waste, and filters pollutants.

Soils are made up of mineral particles that vary in size and chemical activity, depending on their parent material and environmental conditions. The largest are sand particles which range from 50 to 2000 micrometres (1000 micrometres equals 1 millimetre). Silt and clay are the next smallest.


Minerals are solid substances that form under a variety of geologic conditions and display a highly ordered internal atomic structure. This crystalline structure allows minerals to express their atoms in specific patterns.

Most minerals are formed by one of four processes: igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, or hydrothermal. Igneous minerals crystallize from a melt; sedimentary minerals form from molten rock; and metamorphic and hydrothermal minerals are chemically precipitated from solutions within Earth.

Almost everything we use in our everyday lives - from the iron in steel and copper used for wiring and pipes to graphite in pencils to talcum powder and cosmetics – comes from minerals. The same is true of the materials that power our world: electricity, fuel for transportation and heating our homes, and plastics.


Energy is the capacity to do work, whether it is a jet plane carrying hundreds of people or a baby's body growing bone cells. There are different kinds of energy, including kinetic (motion) and potential (stored) energy.

Kinetic energy is found in objects that are moving, such as a spinning top or a falling apple. Potential energy is stored in things that aren't moving, such as water and wind.

There are also many forms of energy, which can be converted to another form at different efficiencies. These conversions follow the Law of Conservation of Energy.