Compare renewable and non-renewable resources. What are the benefits of renewable resources?

5 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I assume that you are asking about renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.  Renewable sources of energy are those that humans do not deplete when they use them.  Examples of this are things like solar power, wind power, and hydroelectric power.  When we get electricity from the wind or the sun, we do not decrease the amount of power that we can later get from those same sources.  Nonrenewable sources are things like fossil fuels that are depleted when we use them.  When we burn a barrel of oil, we decrease the amount of oil that exists in the world and the amount of energy that can be gotten from oil.  This is the fundamental difference between these types of energy sources.

While renewable resources are sometimes difficult to tap, they carry major benefits in both the long and the short terms.  In the short term, moving to renewable energy sources would help the economy.  More jobs would be created because we would need people to install solar panels, to build and set up wind turbines and to do a plethora of other jobs that would be involved in setting up new sources of energy.  In the long term, one major benefit would be to the environment.  When we burn fossil fuels, we pollute the air, leading to problems such as global warming.  If we would make greater use of renewable sources of energy, we would cut down on our impact on the environment.  We would reduce global warming as well as reducing the types of air pollution that make it harder for us to breathe and to enjoy the outdoors.  Another benefit would be that we would have less dependence on oil from unstable parts of the world.  If we reduce our consumption of oil, places like the Middle East become less important to us.  We would be less likely to have to spend lives and money trying to keep stability in that region if we were not dependent on their oil.  In these ways, renewable resources are better for us than nonrenewable resources.

madscientist7's profile pic

madscientist7 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Renewable resources are items consumed that replace themselves at a constant rate, such as oxygen, water, food (both plant and animal), and forestry.  One of the benefits of renewable resources is that what is taken can be replaced.  So, you cut down a tree, another tree will grow or can be planted to replace the one you cut down.  However, one thing to consider is that the resource is renewed at its own rate.  Looking back at the tree example, you can replace the tree you cut down; however, it will take 10+ years for the tree to regrow. 

Nonrenewable resources are items consumed that do not replace themselves, such as oil, coal, and certain earth minerals.  Once these are consumed, they are gone forever because the earth has already produced the amount of these items it will produce.

User Comments

udonbutterfly's profile pic

udonbutterfly | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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A renewable resources is defined as a resource that is replaced by the environment over short periods of time. Whereas non-renewable resources are resources that are difficult for the environment to replace and once they are gone they are usually gone for good. Some examples of renewable sources would be plants, and hydraulic power. Non-renewable resources would be coal and fossil. The thing with nonrenewable resources is that it's difficult depend on them with todays growing society since it takes billions of years for it be created and once it's gone it will be gone for a long time. Whereas with renewable resources it can be produced in a timely manner catering to todays growing society.

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ssandhu05 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

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The benefits of renewable resources are that can be used and then recycled to be used again. They are also sources that can be restored faster than they are used, so there is no worry about it running out. The impact of renewable resources are positive for the environment since they can be grown again through some sort of organic and natural way. Examples of this type of resource: sunlight, wood, water, biofuel, air, agriculturally grown foods, etc. However, because renewable resources are able to replenish themselves faster than they are used, water and wood can be argued their place as renewable. 

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agoriancrow | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

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Well, renewable resources are resources that can be easily replaced. For an example, trees are renewable resources because we can plant more. Non-renewable resources are resources that cannot be easily replaced. Eg. coal; coal takes millions of years to form. Not only they are better for the environment (less pollution caused by the burning of coal), renewable resources boost economies, and are available throughout the world.