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The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Natural Resources (November 2018): The History of Natural Resource Discovery

By Brian Shmaefsky

The History of Natural Resource Discovery

It would take several volumes to cover the history of all natural resources. This essay focuses on minerals and fossil fuels, since these are the most susceptible to depletion as the global human population grows. Mineral and fossil fuel resources are fundamental for two reasons: they are essential for maintaining communication systems, global economic development, transportation, and urbanization, and they compete for and diminish the quality of other critical resources such as land, atmosphere, and water.