Renewable Resources

Renewable resources are commonly understood to be the environmental components—wind, sunlight, water, forests, crops, fisheries, and so on—of complex socio-ecological systems that, if managed properly, can meet human needs for raw materials, energy, and food on a long-term, sustainable basis. Societal interest in renewable resources stems from increased awareness of the problems resulting from reliance on nonrenewable resources (fossil fuels and minerals). Overdependence on these resources contributes greatly to air and water pollution, global climate change, geopolitical conflict, resource wars, economic instability, and other major difficulties that many believe can be addressed only by a global transition to economies that are based on renewable resources. Practically and conceptually, such a transition requires an appreciation of the complex socio-environmen-tal character of resources and renewability. This entry ...

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