This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.  

Natural Resources

Natural resources

The idea of a ‘natural resource’ draws upon the valuation of the Earth as a store of materials and habitats for human use. Therefore the definition of a natural resource depends on being identified as such by a human society which depends in turn upon its cultural attitudes towards it and its technological ability to access it. A mineral ore will not be identified as a useful resource by a society unable to raise the temperatures necessary to smelt it; a perfectly nutritious animal will not be eaten by a society for whom it is taboo or in whom it invokes nausea. Thus the phrase ‘natural resources are cultural appraisals’ is a staple of examination questions in this area of study.

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