Why Is Sunlight Is Considered A Renewable Resource?
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To put it simply, a renewable resource is a product that can be used over a long time and for many generations without the fear of running out. Unfortunately, there are very few truly renewable resources out there, and one of the most widely talked about is sunlight.
Sunlight is one of these resources that are considered renewable because it isn’t something we can take too much of. So we aren’t in danger of overharvesting sunlight because we are just using the energy that is already being sent to earth and converting it.
You may be wondering how sunlight is a resource, how it can be renewable if there is only one sun, or even what other renewable resources are currently available right now. If you want answers to your questions, continue reading below to find out more.
How is Sunlight a Resource?
Sunlight is a resource because it is made up of solar energy. This solar energy comes in the form of light and heat and is a byproduct of the sun.
This energy is already being used throughout our whole planet. Without the heat from the sun, Earth would freeze, leaving it so cold that nothing could survive, and even the oceans would become solid.
The light from the sun gives us energy (think of vitamin D). It also is heavily used by plants and is needed to produce oxygen. Without light, plants would die, which would leave our food chain without a base food and without something to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.
These two functions are what make it a resource. The definition of a resource is something that can be used for some sort of benefit. Sunlight is specifically a natural resource, which is a resource that doesn’t have to be changed or created by humans to be useful.
We think of things in a human-centralized fashion. So most resources are things we can use to increase economic gain and growth or make our life easier. Additionally, things we need to survive, like food and water, are also considered resources.
So sunlight is a good natural resource because it is necessary to keep us warm and give us food. However, it can also be converted into other forms of energy to help give us economic growth.
What Does Renewable Resource Mean?
A renewable resource can be used on repeat, either without limit or at a practical limit, without the danger of the resources running out because they are replaced naturally in a human’s lifetime or faster.
Sunlight is a renewable resource because we get energy from the sun daily. So we don’t get more or less on the earth based on the amount we use, and we don’t take any extra from the sun with our actions.
The sun will vanish at some point, as all stars explode, but it is billions of years into the future, and it won’t be caused by how much of the energy we harvest.
These are safer methods to get energy and resources because we can use and consume as much as we want and need without any problems or worries.
What Other Renewable Sources are there?
While sunlight is a big and probably the most well-known renewable resource, it isn’t the only one. Some others include:
- Water (though fresh water is finite, the movement of water can generate electricity and doesn’t actually reduce the amount of water available)
- Geothermal, or the heat that comes from the core of the earth
- Biomass is wood, wood waste, crops, and waste of crops, as well as byproducts of materials like clothing, paper, and sewage. This is burned or turned into a liquid to create energy.
These are common renewable sources that can be used without limit. Biomass is the one that could potentially be used quickly enough to no longer be renewable, but it would take a lot.
For this reason, people push for biomass to be a stepping stone to more renewable energy or to be used in conjunction with other renewable resources.
Is a Renewable Source Going to Last Forever?
It is unlikely that renewable resources will last forever. However, they will last far outside of our lifespans unless something dramatic happens. For example, there is no way we will suddenly run out of wind.
However, there is a finite amount of time for things like the sun. And honestly, the sun exploding will be what causes most of our other resources to go away. But that is billions of years out and nothing to be worried about or that we can control.
Other resources can be renewable if we use them right. For example, things like coal and minerals are technically renewable, but it takes thousands of years, so it isn’t practical for us to use them as a permanent resource as they won’t come back even in the next few generations.
However, with things like paper, trees can be considered renewable as long as we only harvest as much as we can reproduce. If we overharvest, then it becomes a finite resource like most other things, and it wouldn’t last forever.
Final Thoughts on Why Sunlight Is Considered A Renewable Resource
Renewable resources are the key to the future. They provide options for energy and heat allowing our growth without having to worry about resources running low.
Renewable resources like sunlight, wind, geothermal, and biomass all have the potential to keep us running forever.
However, it will take a lot to harvest all these resources in a renewable and efficient way. Right now, it isn’t practical to use most of these because the resources to get the energy aren’t sustainable, or there is a considerable loss of efficiency.