Natural resources - reserves and distribution
Natural resources are materials found in nature that people can use and therefore are of some kind of importance to them.
One can differentiate between energetic resources, i.e. those that can be used to produce energy (such as gas and oil); and non-energetic resources (such as metals or soils). Another differentiation is whether resources are renewable, such as agricultural products or forests, or exhaustible, such as many energy sources and minerals and metals.
The economic and societal importance and the value of natural resources can change because of new technologies, a change in the way of life and the preference of people. The unequal distribution of natural resources worldwide results in economic and geopolitical power relations that have been and still are the cause of conflicting interests. The fairer the trade and agreements are about natural resources, the more peaceful and, ultimately, the more sustainable the solution to the related challenges. Conflicts—mostly diplomatic, but sometimes military— arise when it comes to determining access, control and distribution of a particular resource amongst participating actors. Often, resource production goes hand in hand with exploitation and human rights violations. Finally, in some countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, resource extraction directly finances armed conflict - see blood diamonds.