Low entropy accumulations of matter and energy are more economic for humans to exploit as natural resources. This accumulation of a resource takes place over time and the most concentrated resources, such as fossil fuels, are created over geological ages. As the most concentrated resources become depleted it may be possible for technology to enable the exploitation of less concentrated resources, such as low-grade metal ores or thinly populated fishing grounds. Analysis of the timescales necessary to create different types of natural resource reveals three distinct groups. Further consideration of economic characteristics of resources, including ownership and access, and rate of consumption relative to rate of supply confirms the grouping of resources into the three distinct groups. Rate of change of entropy as a resource is exploited is an indicator of its impact on the environment. Consideration of this again suggests three distinct groups of resources, and this paper identifies them as: continuous natural resources (CNR), such as solar power and wind power; potentially renewable resources (PRR), such as fish and forests; and non-renewable resources (NRR), such as fossil fuels and metals.
|Journal||International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Sep 2009|