The Living World
21 Topics | 21 Quizzes

The Role and Significance of Key Resources

Key resources are resources that are essential for survival or to maintain an acceptable standard of living. Three key resources are water food, and energy.

An infographic with sections on Water, Food and Energy, essential for human survival and societal functioning.Under 'Water,' bullet points state that humans cannot live without water, making up two-thirds of the body, and it's essential for nutrient absorption, waste elimination, daily functions, and should be consumed at about 2 litres per day. Water is also noted for its importance in hygiene, sanitation, farming, cooling and goods production, accompanied by an icon of a water glass.The 'Food' section indicates that 2,000-2,500 calories are needed daily, with too few causing weight loss and health issues, and too many leading to weight gain and additional health problems. This is represented by an icon of a plate with cutlery.Lastly, 'Energy' highlights its use in developed societies for heating, education, healthcare, cooking and transportation. Electricity is cited as a key secondary energy source, derived from primary sources like wind and fossil fuels. The cost of energy is linked to the production costs of food and services, with a light bulb icon symbolising energy.

Unfortunately, these key resources are not evenly distributed and their uneven distribution causes uneven global development.


In High-Income Countries (HICs), the average intake of calories is higher than needed, contributing to obesity and related health issues. In Low-Income Countries (LICs), undernourishment is common due to insufficient calorie intake, leading to health issues such as stunted growth and a weakened immune system.

Almost 9% of the world’s population is at risk of life-threatening hunger, while one in four people are food insecure.


Water is essential for human existence, but water supplies are limited and unequally distributed. Some countries need to spend a lot of money to import water or bring it in due to a lack of natural water supplies. This therefore enriches those who have the resource readily available.

Water Footprints calculate the annual water usage needed to sustain a person, including hydration, crop cultivation, recycling processes and energy production. The global average is 1,240 litres per person. However, there are significant differences between higher-income and lower-income countries. The USA has a water footprint of approximately 2,483 litres per person, while Bangladesh’s is 896 litres.

Central Africa, Northern Africa, and the Middle East are the regions most affected by water scarcity. Meanwhile, Central Europe and the Americas have more readily available water supplies.


The wealthiest billion people consume 50% of the world’s energy, while the poorest 1% consume only 4%.

Newly Emerging Economies (NEEs) experience rapid increases in energy consumption as industrial activity and urban expansion occur. LICs tend to use less energy due to a greater reliance on agriculture and a lack of infrastructure, whereas HICs use the most energy.

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