Water. Though it costs much less than gold, silver, and other “precious” materials, it’s the most vital to our survival. Water composes a high percentage of our bodies, is necessary for growing our crops and keeping our animals alive, housing marine animals, etc. Without water, we would die. Just look at what happens during droughts: people die because they can’t grow food or stay hydrated.
It’s a complex question with many answers as well as of opinion and perspective I suppose, though I’d have to guess clean water and oxygen, though even these are connected to a huge web of cause an effect. Oxygen is created by plants, which breathe carbon dioxide, which is emitted in by other organisms and present in the atmosphere.
I guess “biodiversity” is a cheap answer and might not count as a “resource,” but its principally what is fought to be preserved by green movements.
Although I suspect some people would say oil, I think without a doubt it is water. Humans are headed in a bad direction with regards to water. We don’t have enough clean water, as it is, and things are only projected to get worse with climate change, growing populations, and increased industrial pollution.
I immediately think of water also. Fresh water is actually very limited and the existing supply is getting heavily polluted, water stored in ice is melting earlier and because of so much impervious surface rainwater is being lost intead of captured. Air and atmosphere are also quite precious, while our sky seems infinite there is really only about a mile of air between land and sky, it is heavily polluted everyday and in the worst places in term of air pollution people die daily of respritory illnesses. Healthy soil is also precious. The most common agriculture methods strip soil of all it nutrients and allow a tremendous amount of soil erosion and loss.
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