Defining the term renewable is in theory very simple. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary does so as, “capable of being replaced by natural ecological cycles or sound management practices." The same dictionary defines a natural resource as “industrial materials and capacities (as mineral deposits and waterpower) supplied by nature." In terms of real world applications of renewable natural resources the line sometimes blurs between the resource and the service it supplies to humans. Increasing awareness of the fact that most resources are finite has brought more focus on renewables. With this in mind, taking a step back to consider exactly what they are and their importance seems a productive venture for all of us to undertake.
The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension website states “We consider renewable natural resources to be: animals, insects, reptiles, plants, trees, water, grass, solar and wind energy." These sources are used both in the process of creating goods and as materials in the goods themselves. Energy sources such as certain methods of geothermal, hydro, solar and bio-fuel are considered renewable. The materials that make the technologies which allow us to use the energy may not be.
Taking advantage of things that can be replenished by nature or through adequate use means we do not have to continue looking for alternative methods to provide the good or service they are supplying us with. It also means less stress on the planet's natural cycles, which when interrupted can create endless problems through multiple complex feed backs.