|This is a very
good question for discussion.
we mean by "natural resources"? The
term natural resources has undergone changes in meaning over
time. In the past, natural resources (the term) were
considered to be sources of useful commodities (physical
substances, such as food, grains, and metals; products; goods for
sale; articles of commerce - such as trees, fish, oil, natural gas,
and coal). In a limited sense, the term natural
resources is still used in this way. More recently,
however, the concept of natural resources has been expanded to
include the total natural environment - the entire surface layer of the
planet (including whole ecosystems). Human activities can
have an affect on these natural resources.
utilizing the definitions above, we would not be considering the Sun as a natural
resource, even though it is a resource supplied by nature. Or
should we? Solar energy from the Sun can be collected, bought and sold
as a commodity, and it can be collected on the surface layer of the
planet. But, solar energy is a product of the reactions within the
Sun. It is not the Sun. The Sun is made up of gases, and it is
the source of our light and heat.
Solar energy comes from thermonuclear reactions within the center of the
Sun, and a portion of that energy comes to Earth in the form of sunlight
which heats the earth. We have no control over the Sun. We cannot buy it, sell it or exploit it. The
Sun is not a commodity. The Sun, itself, is not a resource that we
can manage - or mismanage (fortunately). We can manage or mismanage
our forests, our fresh water sources, our fish stocks, our
ecosystems. We can manage or mismanage our non-renewables, such as
fossil fuels and minerals.
The sun is
4.5 billion years old. Astronomers
believe that the Sun will be a continuing source of energy for
Earth at least another 5 billion years. If we continue in the
current rate of global population increase and continue in the
exploitation, mismanagement and pollution of our natural resources which
we have control over, we (the human species) may not even be around to watch the sun become
Astronomers predict that in approximately 5,000,000,000 years the outer regions of the
Sun will expand and cause Earth's temperature to become too hot for life to
exist. The Sun will then be called a Red Giant. Then the Sun
will use up its thermonuclear energy and shrink to about the size of the
Earth. During this time it may throw off nova explosions of huge
amounts of gases, as it becomes what is termed a
billions of years of losing all its heat and energy as a White Dwarf, it will become
surrounding planets will be dark and cold.
for our space exploration and development programs, don't you think?