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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial