The planet can only support so many people before natural resources begin to become depleted and cannot support human needs, called Earth’s carrying capacity for humans. Many geographers and other scientists believe that humans have grown beyond earth’s carrying capacity; a concept called overshooting. In less developed countries, this has occurred because of population growth; in more developed countries, it has to do with our consumption of natural resources. A natural resource is something found within the natural environment that is accessible and economically valuable to humans, including food, water, soil, plants, animals, and minerals. However, most resources are not renewable, and humans are either consuming them faster than the planet can replenish them or in the case of water and air are polluting them.
Introduction to Human Geography by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.