A resource is anything people use -- this depends on the
technology of the society whether something is recognized as a resouce or not.
Said another way, a resouce is not a resource until people learn to use
it. The coal fields of Europe lay unused for centuries -- the oil of the Middle East had to await the invention of the
internal combustion engine.
Knowledge of resources and how to use them had profound impact around the world.
Natural resources are things from the earth that people use. Some natural resouces
are renewable, that is they can be replaced as they are used, (agricultural products, forest products, fishing banks) and
others are said to be non-renewable -- once used they are gone forever (since their natural formation within the earth takes
great periods of time). Fossil fuels, and metal ores are examples.
Nonrenewable metals and other materials may be recycled -- the fossil fuels, once used,
are gone forever.
Resources such as air, water, and soil must be conserved by keeping them free of pollution.
The uneven distribution of resources has led to world exploration, colonization, and
world trade. Here, the geology of the world leads to an abundance of certain resources in some places but not in others.
Geography is interested in the location of resources and the interrelationships of these
locations to others throughout the world.
It might seem at first that those countries with great resources should be rich
countries and those lacking resources, poor.
Sometimes, that is the case, but not always -- other economic
and political conditions can and do affect resources or the lack of them.