Earth resources are required to sustain life and provide infrastructure for living (for example, food, shelter, medicines, transport, and communication), driving ongoing demand for biotic, mineral and energy resources. In this unit, students explore renewable and non-renewable resources and analyse the effects that resource extraction, use and consumption and associated waste removal have on Earth systems and human communities.
Students examine the occurrence of non-renewable mineral and energy resources and review how an understanding of Earth and environmental science processes guides resource exploration and extraction. They investigate how the rate of extraction and other environmental factors impact on the quality and availability of renewable resources, including water, energy resources and biota, and the importance of monitoring and modelling to manage these resources at local, regional and global scales. Students learn about ecosystem services and how natural and human-mediated changes of the biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and geosphere, including the pedosphere, influence resource availability and sustainable management.
Through the investigation of appropriate contexts, students explore the ways in which models and theories related to resource extraction, use and management have developed over time and through interactions with social, economic, cultural and ethical considerations. They investigate the ways in which science contributes to contemporary debate regarding local, regional and international resource use, evaluation of risk and action for sustainability, and recognise the limitations of science in providing definitive answers in different contexts.
Students use science inquiry skills to collect, analyse and interpret data relating to the extraction, use, consumption and waste management of renewable and non-renewable resources. They critically analyse the range of factors that determine management of renewable and non-renewable resources.