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Difference between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources

We have often heard terms like renewable and non-renewable resources in our geography lectures. We have often been taught about the earth's resources that are limited and are on the verge of vanishing from the planet. Still, these depleted resources are excessively used by humans leading to their extinction. People use these resources for their convenience that damages nature's resources, and the earth is not able to revive such resources. These resources are called non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources are depleting day by day due to their excessive use.

Renewable resources, on the other hand, are the resources that are able to revive themselves. That is why they do not get diminished or finished. There are certain differences between renewable and non-renewable resources based on certain aspects like sources, cost, environmental impact, etc. So, let us look at some fundamental differences between them.

1. Renewable resources are the ones that do not get depleted. These resources are in a condition to revive themselves. Non-renewable resources are the resources that are not able to revive themselves. They get depleted after their excessive usage and time.
2. Renewable resources include resources such as sunlight, wind, solar energy, thermal energy, etc. Non-renewable energy includes fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, etc., and various gases.
3. Renewable resources have a negligible impact on the environment. These emissions emit low carbons upon their usage. Therefore, these resources are not a threat to the environment. On the other hand, non-renewable resources have high carbon emissions upon their usage and burning. Due to the high carbon emissions, non-renewable resources are a threat to the environment.
4. The cost related to generate energy from renewable resources is relatively high. For instance, to generate solar energy or geothermal energy, a lot of technologies are used that are much costlier than generating energy from non-renewable resources. Non-renewable resources are not much costlier than renewable resources.
5. As discussed above, to generate energy, renewable resources are much costlier. The infrastructure required for renewable resources is expensive and is not easily accessible. On the other hand, non-renewable resources are cost-effective, and the infrastructure required is easily accessible. The non-renewable resources and their energy generation are pretty cheap and affordable.
6. For renewable resources, a large area is required. For instance, wind farms and solar farms are constructed in a large area so that energy is easily generated from these resources. For non-renewable resources, less area is required for generating energy. That is why non-renewable resources are comparatively cheaper as compared to renewable resources in terms of cost, area, environmental effect, etc.

So, these are some key points regarding renewable and non-renewable resources. Well, it is interesting to note that many debates have been recently going on about making uranium a renewable resource. But it has been concluded that uranium cannot be considered under renewable resources because it cannot revive itself.

There are many natural resources that were formed many years ago (coal, petroleum, oil, natural gas, etc.), and there are some resources that are present from the beginning (sunlight, water, wind, biomass, geothermal, etc). Humans are clearly dependent upon these resources for their day-to-day needs. But still, we misuse it; exploit these resources according to our convenience that leads to the depletion of resources.

Excessive use of renewable resources too can cause depletion in resources as well. The excessive use of these resources can result in a limited availability of resources at a particular moment or a given situation. For instance, the sunlight is always available to us, but its power to generate electricity reduces when there is a cloudy or rainy weather.

Many countries have resolved to save energy by collecting them in batteries and using them when required. For instance, solar energy is stored with the help of solar panels so that when the electricity goes off, the solar energy is put to use. Many villages and towns in India are making use of solar panels because there are several electricity cuts there. It is important to save the energy generated from these resources are used when required.

Well, non-renewable resources have a grave impact on the climate. For instance, when fossil fuels are burnt, carbon dioxide is released which, is harmful for the environment. The crisis that we are facing today is because of excessive emissions of carbon dioxide. According to some reports, if these emissions are not under control, then the temperature can rise up to 16 degrees. Due to this, there will be severe water pollution, air pollution, heat waves, etc.

Renewable resources and non-renewable resources are important for generating energy. But we must make sure that these resources are not overused. Renewable resources are abundant in nature, and non-renewable resources are limited. But there must be a cautious use of both the resources, be it an abundant resource or a limited resource. In order to make full use of resources, the energy resources must be stored so that they can be used at the time of requirement. Thus, both renewable and non-renewable resources should be cautiously used.

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