Abiotic resources are resources that are nonliving. These resources fall into the larger category of natural resources, which occur naturally in the environment and are not created or produced by humans or human activity. Human depletion of abiotic resources, such as water, soil, and minerals is a source of concern for humans, as these resources are not easily replenished and are being used above the rate that they can be naturally replaced.
Land is one of the must lucrative abiotic resources for humans, as property costs in urban and suburban development has rapidly increased in price and demand throughout cities and communities across the world. Land degradation as a result of extensive use of fertilizers and chemicals as well as development have rendered large portions of land unusable. Along with environmental harm, land degradation is also a large source of lost revenue.
Water is an abiotic resource that is of need to all living things. Yet, access to clean and safe water remains a challenge for members of developing nations. Even in developed nations, water depletion and pollution remains a concern. In the United States, farm animals require huge amounts of water daily, and farms tend to pollute nearby water sources from fertilizers and animal excrement.
Coal remains one of the major sources of heat and electrical energy in the world today, and will likely retain that role for decades to come. That being said, coal depletion is an issue that faces much of the world today, as a major source of energy could soon run out. According to David Rutledge, an electrical engineering professor at the California Institute of Technology, the U.S. has about enough coal reserves to last about 120 years.
Oil is also one of the most valuable natural resources to humans, as cars, planes, ships, trucks, and most other forms of transportation require oil. Oil depletion is therefore a major concern, as oil that took millions of years to form from decomposing plant matter is being extracted and burned in a matter of months. The top four oil consuming nations are the United States, China, Japan, and India.