Assessing natural resources
PHS 100 Environmental Studies
Dr. David Terrell
Warner Pacific College
November 6, 2010
Assessing our natural resources is not as easy as it may seem. There are many factors to look at when considering this. What are the resources, how are they used, who uses them, how much are they used, etc. Putting a price on resources is not easy and what happens when those natural resources are threatened?
In order for society to assess our natural resources we have to understand what they are and how they help us in our everyday life as well as what could happen if they were threatened. The USGS web site says, “Natural resources - water, minerals, coal, oil, gas, living things, and the land itself - are this Nation's treasures. To be effective stewards of these valuable resources, our Nation must constantly advance our scientific knowledge and understanding. Decision makers must know how natural resources may be affected by changes in the demand for or use of them, and what affects these changes may have on our economy, our environment, and our quality of life. USGS natural resource assessment programs help ensure that our leaders have the information they need to make informed decisions about our natural resources, now and in the future.”
There are environmental regulations currently in place to help preserve the natural resources. There are regulations on when and when you can hunt and a limit of people aloud to do so. Limits are set in place for fishing as well with what you can catch in what season, and how much. There are logging laws to say where and how much logging can take place and laws stating that the trees must be replanted as well. There are many laws and regulations that are currently in place to help regulate how the natural resources are used but as times change these laws and regulations must be reviewed as any other laws to make sure that they stay up to date and current with the times and needs. There could be better laws in place regarding the chemicals that are aloud to be used on or around our resources as well as fed to the livestock.
When the natural resources become threatened, it can affect everyone in the nation and not just the obvious victims. Take the oil spill of 2010 for example; this was a great tragedy for all. It affected a huge amount of natural resources from the ocean waters, sand, dirt, wild life living in the area, to the jobs in the area, tourism of the effected states to the migration of birds. Who is responsible for the clean up of a tragedy such as this and what can be done to prevent this from happening again? There was tons of oil that was leaked into the earths resources by this tragic accident, what if not so much oil had been aloud to be carried by one vestal, would that had made a difference in this outcome? It is hard to say but the government should look into it since the planets natural resources are protected by the government. Kristina Alexander, a legislative attorney says in an article on fas.org that “while wildlife management is a state responsibility, the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act all bring certain species under federal protection. Natural resources are defined broadly by the act to include the following: “land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by the United States (including the resources of the exclusive economic zone), any State or local government or Indian
tribe, or any foreign government.” BP should not only get off with restitution for this tragedy but there should be harsher punishment involved as with any other event that have a great effect on the environment and natural resources, maybe it would cause greater awareness.
USGS (July 20,2005)
Assessing Our Natural Resources Providing Vital Information for Our Nation's Future www.usgs.gov/themes/factsheet/094-99/index.html retrieved Nov. 3, 2010
Kristina Alexander, Legislative Attorney (September 8, 2010)
The 2010 Oil Spill: Natural Resource Damage
Assessment Under the Oil Pollution Act www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41396.pdf, retrieved Nov. 3, 2010