General Question

DaphneT's avatar

What is the most used natural resource?

Asked by DaphneT (5745points) February 20th, 2012

What natural resource is most used? For what purpose? Is it renewable? How is it measured?

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21 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

air, breathing, yes, volume

gasman's avatar

Water must be in the top 5.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Corn is used for fuel, sugar, glue, whiskey, beer, food, bread, vegetable, plastics, kitty litter, shelter, insulation and a couple other uses I can’t remember off the top of my head.

auhsojsa's avatar

Oil. Used and refined to several products. We go to war for it. It’s measured by the barrel. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

King_Pariah's avatar

Aside from air (breathing and whatnot) it has to be water. Key for survival, used in many products, and necessary for many power plants as water is needed for both cooling and steam.

Brian1946's avatar

Heat.
Staying warm and production.
I don’t think the solar and geothermal sources are renewable within the existence of this stellar system.
Degrees.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’d say it’s a tossup between air and water. I think carbon is in every living thing that we know of, too.

digitalimpression's avatar

Human Beings.

That’s the big question right?

Yes.

Everyone’s scale is different.

whitenoise's avatar

I would go for water:
Product…................unit…......liters of water
Apple…....................100 g….............. 70
chips….....................200 g….............185
cotton T-shirt…........ 500 g…...........4100
cup of coffee…........125 ml…............140
cup of tea…............ 250 ml…............ 35
egg…..........................40 g…...........135
apple juice…........... 200 ml…...........190
beer….....................250 ml….............75
milk….....................200 ml…...........200
orange juice…..........200 ml…...........170
wine…....................125 ml…............120
hamburger…............ 150 g…...........2400
microchip….................2 g…...............32
shoes…..................1 pair…............8000
potato….................100 g…................25

source: http://www.lenntech.com/water-food-agriculture.htm

marinelife's avatar

@phaedryx I don’t consider air a commodity. It’s not sold or traded and is considered free for the breathing.

john65pennington's avatar

Natural Spring Water.

phaedryx's avatar

@marinelife
The question was of natural resources, not commodities: “found in nature that is necessary or useful to humans.” (from the dictionary.com definition)

Section C, part 1 of the Clean Air Act: ”... ensuring that economic growth occurs in harmony with the preservation of existing clean air resources.”

buy bottled air ← It is sold and traded.

thorninmud's avatar

Strictly speaking, it would be solar radiation. All of our foodstuffs are basically so much repackaged sunlight. When we burn fossil fuels, we’re harvesting solar energy that was put in storage millions of years ago. All of the fresh water we consume was desalinated by solar energy. We have oxygen to breath largely as a result of the solar-driven process of photosynthesis.

CWOTUS's avatar

So far, @marinelife… so far.

phaedryx's avatar

@thorninmud wow, hard to argue with that

DaphneT's avatar

Lol. Thanks everyone, your answers certainly highlighted how little sleep I was operating with. All your answers were great. @phaedrx and @marinelife, while I didn’t specify commodity, it was helpful to be reminded that natural resources are or can be traded as such, if we aren’t careful in our politics.

So, if we take air, water and sunlight off the table, what would be the next tier or do I have to draft a new question?

Brian1946's avatar

My pick for the next tier is oil, because it’s still so widely used for vehicular requirements, the production of many plastics, and heating.

mattbrowne's avatar

Let’s add sodium and potassium. Essential for all animals.

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