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One For All: A Natural Resources Game

Renewable resources are natural resources that naturally replenish themselves, such as fish and trees. Humans can use renewable resources again and again if we manage them properly. But if we don’t give these resources an opportunity to reproduce, we can exhaust them quickly, especially as our demand grows. The tragedy of the commons theory asserts that individuals acting in their own best interest may deplete a shared resource at the expense of the interests of the whole group. When we manage shared resources, it is important that we use them cooperatively and sustainably rather than exploiting them for short-term gain. In the following activity, students play a game where cooperative decisions must be made if all participants are to benefit.

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