GED Earth Science

Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Natural Resources

Renewable vs. Nonrenewable Natural Resources

Part of the GED Science test is Earth Science. To learn more about this topic, one of the concepts you need to learn is renewable and non-renewable natural resources.

There are things that people use every day that they thought would be there forever. That is why some people abuse and waste these resources on useless things. An example for this is fossil fuel where gasoline and diesel are derived.  According to some estimates, by 2025 all of the current fossil fuel reserves are going to be drained. That is bad news if you own a car since, without fossil fuels, there won’t be gasoline or diesel to run it.

Fossil fuel is called a non-renewable resource. As the name implies, non-renewable resources are finite, meaning we could run out of them in the future. On the other hand, resources like water are renewable because it is constantly being recycled.

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Non-Renewable Resource

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The earth provides its inhabitants with lots of gifts that we can use to advance our civilization and keep us alive.  Fossil fuels are only one of those gifts – it gives humans a source of energy in the form of gasoline and diesel. But it does not last forever because it takes earth millions of years to create fossil fuels from bones of dinosaurs and other ancient animals, but we already used up almost all of it in just 200 years.

Other resources that earth made for thousands, even millions, of years are the different metals we use for development like iron, copper, zinc, nickel, and others. Because we used them faster than they can be made, they are sure to be all used up at one point. That is why they are called non-renewable.

What you have to remember to determine if something is non-renewable is that these things take thousands and millions of years to make. If earth can run out of something, then that something is a non-renewable resource.

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Renewable Resource

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Renewable resources are resources that are constantly being reproduced naturally. A tree, for example, can be cut to make homes, but another tree grows to replace the one that has been cut. A cow can be killed for food, but new cows can be raised to replace that one that’s been turned into jerky or steak. Anything that can grow from the earth is natural resources.  Plants, animals, fishes are all renewable natural resources.

Another group of natural resources is those that are renewed naturally by earth processes such as water and oxygen. Water is an important renewable resource. When you use water, it flows to seas or treatment plants and evaporates under the sun. Then it turns into clouds, which will soon fall as rain, and you can use it again. Oxygen is another very important renewable resource that you can’t live without – literally! We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, then the carbon dioxide we exhaled is used by the plants and released again as oxygen that we breathe. Oxygen is renewable as long as trees are around.

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Protecting Non-Renewable Resources

Because we can run out of them, we have to do everything we can to keep non-renewable resources from disappearing. That is where conservation and recycling come into the picture.

Conservation means minimizing the use of a resource so they don’t disappear fast. Conserving fossil fuel means using your car less so that you don’t use gasoline. Keeping electricity usage low also helps conserve fossil fuel, since producing electricity uses fossil fuels.

Recycling is another way to conserve non-renewable resources. Metals that are used in electronics, for example, can be recycled. For example, if your TV stops working, the copper and zinc and other materials on it can be used to make other appliances so that the copper and zinc still under the earth are preserved for future generations.

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Protecting Renewable Resources

Wait, do renewable resources need protecting? Yes, they do. That is because many of the natural resources can also run out if human beings abuse them. Think of the animals that were made extinct because of hunting and you get the point.

Oxygen, for example, is renewable only as long as trees are around and as long as the trees remaining on the planet can cope up with the massive amount of carbon dioxide we produce as a species.

Protecting our oxygen supply means protecting forests and jungles from being denuded because of over logging.  That is why it is important to appreciate conservation of forests. Remember this, trees are renewable but forests and jungles are not.

Fish, a very important food resource are renewable, but the seas and oceans are being destroyed by oil spills and chemical run-offs from factories.  Rivers become poisonous and so do lakes. If the places that fishes live are getting smaller, that means only a few of them can live.  But then again humans consume so much fish as food, so soon we may run out of fish because of overfishing. Protecting fish, therefore, means protecting the seas, oceans lakes and rivers and not overfishing.

Not only does the understanding of renewable and non-renewable resources help you pass your GED test, it also helps make you more responsible for using these resources. To increase your knowledge, take GED Science practice tests and sign up for GED classes.

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The Four Spheres of Planet Earth

The Four Spheres of Planet Earth

One of the topics under the GED Science Test is Earth Science. It covers the four spheres of planet earth.

The Earth, the planet we call home, how much do you know about it? Sure, you know that it looks like an imperfect circle, a little flat at the top and a little bulged on the sides. You know about the sea and the sky and about the land that you stand on. But there is more to our home planet than those things.  For example, have you ever wondered what is in the center of the earth or what it’s called? And most importantly, will you be able to answer if this topic appears in the GED test? All these questions will be answered once you understand the earth and its four spheres – lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.

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All the four spheres of the Earth, the lithosphere is one of the most mysterious. What’s ironic is that it is also the sphere where we live. The lithosphere is composed of the crust, the mantle, and the core. The crust is composed of soil and rocks and those buildings we built on it. The crust is more or less 40 kilometers in thickness.

Below the crust is the mantle which is a giant river of molten rock and silica flowing under the crust and over the core. With a thickness of about 2,660 km, the mantle’s movement inside the earth is so strong that it could move big continents at its will. The continents of the planet float helplessly on the mantle and when these big pieces of the crust collide, you will experience an earthquake. The mantle is also the main actor in the creation of volcanos.

Below the crust is the outer and inner core. Rotating in the absolute center of the earth in opposite directions, the inner and outer core power up the processes that make our planet dynamic and supportive of life. Without the core, we would have less gravity. Without the core, the processes that created the conditions that started life would not exist and we would not be here.  The core also creates the magnetic field that protects the planet from harmful radiation from the sun and other sources. The most amazing thing about the core is that scientists say it spins 5,000 times faster than the spin of the earth. Imagine how fast that is.

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The hydrosphere is composed of water in all its state – liquid, solid and gas. That means the seas, oceans, rivers, and lakes, as well as water underground all, belong to the hydrosphere since they are water in liquid form. Glaciers, icebergs and the snow piling up on the road during winter is part of the hydrosphere as a solid form of water.  Finally, the water vapor, steam and clouds being the gas form of water are also part of the hydrosphere. The thickness of the hydrosphere extends several kilometers into the lithosphere and 12 or more kilometers into the atmosphere.

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The biosphere consists of all living things on the planet. From the lowly bacteria under the earth’s crust to the fierce lion stalking in the savannah to the human beings living on the international space station in space, as long as something is living, it is part of the biosphere. Within the biosphere, living organisms live and build their own ecological communities based on the ecosystem they are on. These communities are called biomes. The biosphere extends to wherever a living thing is found.

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The most popular among the four spheres of the earth is the atmosphere. Extending from 1 meter below the ground to ten kilometers above ground, the atmosphere has a very big influence in human life. First, it is important to acknowledge that the atmosphere refers to air including the oxygen we breathe and the various gases that make up air. The more carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere, the less oxygen we breathe. But that’s not the only way the atmosphere affects us. Weather and climate are conditions affected by the atmosphere. The wind you enjoy or the tornado that you fear, are all created in the atmosphere.

The atmosphere is also at the receiving end of human abuses. Every time you burn something, the smoke (carbon dioxide) goes up into the atmosphere and makes it dirty. Every time you drive your car, it releases various gasses that go into the atmosphere. As the atmosphere is filled with pollution, humans experience acid rain, smog, and extreme weather conditions. In the end, whatever we do to the atmosphere will come back to bite us in the hand.

The lithosphere, the biosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere make up the planet we call home. We affect these spheres, in the same way, affect us. Now that you know the four spheres of the earth, you will be able to answer when it appears on your GED test. Learn more about it by signing up for our GED online classes and taking GED science practice tests.

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