ImageSuppose you have a candy bar. You could eat the whole candy bar now, or you could divide it into pieces to eat later. Saving some of the candy bar to eat later would be a kind of conservation. You would be saving, or conserving, your candy bar so that it would last longer.

Conservationists are people who want to save Earth’s natural resources so they will last longer. Conservation is the protection and wise use of natural resources.


Natural resources are all the things on Earth that support life. Plants, animals, air, and water are natural resources.

Natural resources are also things that people use to make life easier. Your life is easier because you can ride in a bus powered by gasoline. You can cook your dinner in a microwave oven powered by electricity. People use natural resources to make gasoline and electricity. People use many natural resources to make their lives easier.

There are different kinds of natural resources. Some natural resources are renewable, and some resources are nonrenewable.


Renewable resources can be replaced. Plants are renewable resources. Plants might get cut down, but they can grow back. Animals are renewable resources. They can reproduce.

Solar energy is a renewable resource. Solar energy comes from the Sun. No matter how much solar energy you use, there will always be more. Wind, water, and soil are also renewable resources.


Nonrenewable resources cannot be replaced easily. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources. Coal, oil, and natural gas are fossil fuels. Fossil fuels come from plants and animals that died millions of years ago. We are using up fossil fuels much faster than Earth can replace them.

Ores come from rocks that formed millions of years ago. We use ores to make metals. Ores cannot be replaced.


Power plants burn coal and oil to make electric power. The furnace in your house burns oil or natural gas to keep you warm. The gasoline that a car burns comes from oil. Metals from ores are used to make bridges, soda cans, and cars.

Good soil is an important natural resource for farmers. Farmers use soil to grow food crops.

Water is an important resource for everyone. Farmers need water for their crops. Dams use water to make electricity. Fish need to live in clean water. You need clean water to drink. Clean air is also an important resource.

Many natural resources come together in beautiful wilderness areas. Forests, grasslands, and lakes are places that you can visit. You can hike, fish, and camp in wilderness areas. Wilderness areas are home for many kinds of birds, insects, and other wild animals.


Long ago, people did not even have to think about conservation. There were very few people.

Then, people learned to use natural resources. They learned that using wood, ores, and other natural resources could make their lives easier. People began to live longer. The number of people living on Earth grew and grew.

Today, billions of people live on Earth. All these people use more and more natural resources. People are using up fossil fuels and other natural resources faster than the planet can replace them. People cut down forests and destroy the homes of many plants and animals.

Conservationists look for ways to save natural resources. They try to manage natural resources so that people will have enough lumber, fossil fuels, water, and food. They look for ways to save endangered plants and animals.


People need to use renewable resources wisely. It’s important to plant a tree for every tree cut down.

Conservationists look for ways to protect wilderness areas. Governments set up national parks to preserve unusual areas. Families on vacation can then enjoy the parks and the plants and animals that live in them. Logging, mining, hunting, and other activities that use up natural resources are usually not allowed in national parks.

Even our endless supply of air and water must be protected. Factories, power plants, cars, and trucks give off smoke that pollutes air. Some factories dump chemicals into lakes and rivers. Polluted air can make you sick. You cannot drink polluted water. Fish die in polluted lakes and rivers. It is important to keep air and water clean.

Some places on Earth have plenty of water, but deserts and other places do not. It is important to conserve water so that everyone has enough to drink and use for watering crops.


One way to save fossil fuels is to use less of them. Engineers are building cars that use less gasoline. New furnaces burn less oil or natural gas to heat buildings. Energy-efficient refrigerators and air conditioners use less electric power.

Scientists are looking for ways to replace fossil fuels. They are experimenting with hydrogen and other fuels to replace gasoline. They are looking for ways to use solar power and the energy in the blowing wind. They are looking for safe ways to use the power that comes from tiny bits of matter called atoms.

Recycling is a popular way to conserve natural resources. Recycling means collecting things so they can be reused rather than thrown away. You can recycle paper. You can recycle glass and plastic bottles. You can recycle your soda pop cans. Everyone can do something to conserve natural resources.

Source: Microsoft ® Encarta