The Global Distribution of Resources

Everything accessible in our environment which can be used to fulfill our needs, provided, it is within the access to technology, reasonably economical and culturally acceptable is term as a ‘Resource.’

Human being uses the resources available in nature with the help of technology and create institutions to develop economically.

Resources can be categorized as Essential and Non-essential:

  • Essential Resources are those which are important for our survival — for example, food, water, and air.
  • Non-essential Resources are those which are important, but our survival is not dependent on them. These resources are used to enhance and improve our standard of living. For example- energy

Global Distribution of Food

Food is the most essential fuel to our body. Every living organism on this earth requires some kind of nutrition. That is why it is important that every being has access to food. The minimum amount of calories that are required in a day are 1,800. This is the lowest that is required for survival. But, some to some people, even this is not available.

Food insecurity – When people do not know how and when they are going to get the next meal of the day is termed as food insecurity. The lack of food creates mental and physical stress in people.

Food insecurity

Both excess and low consumption of food create problems.

  • Excess consumption leads to obesity and gives rise to other health issues directly or indirectly, affecting the economy of the country.
  • Low consumption of food leads to the problem of malnutrition and deficiency diseases.

Reasons for the shortage of food

Leading causes for hunger and food insecurity are poverty, climate change, economic and political disruption, land and water resources, and war.

Way out of the problem of food scarcity

  • Produce genetically modified crops that are strong and sturdier and can sustain the environmental degradation and further help in making the output less expensive.
  • Localization of food growing – Growing exotic crops on the land which are not really meant to grow on certain land takes a lot of effort and put pressure on land. The productivity is also not too high, which means it takes the space of an indigenous crop which has much more economic value and productivity. Thus, it is wiser to promote the growth of local crops in their respective regions.
  • Reduce wastage of food – One-third of the world’s food is wasted even before consumption. In developed countries, most of the food wastage occurs at customer’s side when the groceries go stale in their refrigerator while in developing countries the wastage is on farms when a heavy amount of grain is spoiled due to lack of storage facilities. So preventing the wastage of food should be our priority at both consumer level and in government policies.
  • Improve land water management – Practice conservation agriculture like reduced tillage, crop rotation, and mulching.
  • Mulching – A protective cover of bark, straw or plastic sheet placed on the ground around plants to suppress weed growth, retain soil moisture, or prevent freezing of roots.

Food resources in the UK

The UK is 76% self-sufficient in homegrown food. The country relies on imports, mostly for things which cannot be grown in the UK due to the climate. There is a rise in population, and with it, a shift in diet can be seen. People are used to eating non-seasonal diet all around the year unlike a few decades back when homegrown food was preferred. Even the food that can b grown in the UK is outsourced to other countries which not only can lead to making the country less self-sufficient but also put environmental impact and food shortages in the countries (e.g., Kenya) from where it is imported.

Water

Two-third part of our body consists of water. Water is among the basic need of our life. Nearly 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water. The distribution of water on earth is not equal. Only 3 percent of water is fresh, and the rest is salty making it almost impossible for us to use. Our body uses water to keep the circulation and keep us healthy and free from toxins. We use water to harness energy, in our industries and for irrigation in our farms.

Distribution of water

The water circulates in the environment through the water cycle.

Excess of water in any place causes flooding while the availability of less water leads to the conditions of drought.

We don’t have enough fresh water to fulfill our rising population. Shortage of water, i.e., water deficit and excess of water, i.e., water surplus has become a problem in many areas around the world. The major reason behind most of the water-related problem is climate change. Climate change is leading to heavy rainfalls in some areas while some remain without a drop of rain for years.

Water pollution

We are already living with a shortage of water resources and polluting the resources which are available to us is making the situations worse.

Fact – According to a study by Water Aid, around 700,000 million children die every year from diarrhea due to unsafe polluted water and poor sanitation.

More than one-fifth of the world’s population lives in water scarcity.

Water Resources in the UK

Although the UK is in overall water surplus category, still, the distribution of water supply is uneven. For instance, the regions in the west receive more rainfall than the regions in the East.

The climate change has been leading to warmer and drier regions which means providing proper water supply can become an issue in these areas.

The privatization of the water industry has helped in improving the efficiency of water management. The water is charged which makes people more aware of the need to conserve water.

Water transfer schemes have been implemented to transport water to the places which are suffering from a shortage of water.

Minimization of leakages is also one of the most important factors leading to water shortage. Many companies in the UK are continuously working to increases the efficiency of water transport and prevent leakage.

London is one of the driest capital in the world. Eighty percent of the water supply in London comes from the Thames and the river Lee. Climate change is leading to warmer days and is expected to lead to low water levels.

Energy

Everything we do in our life needs energy. Our body needs the energy to work and so does we need the energy to make other things work. In our daily lives, we use energy in the form of electricity. We use energy in industries, transportation, agriculture, and in powering our homes.

The global distribution of energy is not equal either. While some are using high-tech machines to make their lives easy, for some, lighting a bulb is a dream. We use food, air, water, sunlight to harness energy.

Food as an energy resource – Food like corn are used to make bioethanol which is further used as fuel for transport and industries. Food resources can be used as biofuels to reduce pollution.

Solar Power – Solar panels are used to harness energy from sunlight and is used as electricity in industries and homes. It is clean energy and causes no pollution.

Fossil fuels – Petroleum, Coal, diesel are the fossil fuels which are used in almost all the industries and are major energy resources of heavy industries.

Biofuels – Energy is also harnessed from the gas obtained from the decomposition of waste material. Use of biogas is the best way to utilize clean energy. Even some plants are also used to obtain the biofuel.

Energy Resources in the UK

42% of the electricity produces in the UK is obtained from fossil fuels, another 42% from natural gas and 9% from coal.

Renewable resources

Energy resources which can be replenished again and again and never runs out.
Use of renewable energy resources should be the main goal of any country if we want to keep using energy in the long run. However, this is not the case. Only 10 percent part of the UK’s total energy harnessed is from the renewable resources.
Fifty percent of the renewable energy is from Wind Farms.

Use of solar panels in homes are becoming common, and it is projected that 4 percent of the energy in the UK will be through these solar panels by 2020.

Consequences of exploitation of energy resources

  • Pollution of air, water and soil.
  • Noise pollution from trains, aeroplanes etc.
  • Harmful radiations from nuclear power plants.
  • Hydroelectric power stations need the construction of dams which leads to destruction of environment.
  • Maintenance costs of the structures which produce and transfer energy is very high.