Rhode Island's most valuable natural resource is water. Others include soil/land, forests, wetlands, animals (especially aquatic species), and plants (especially native plants). There are/have been quarries in operation as well.
I have noticed as I index news items that I don't use the Natural Resources category very often. Instead, find out about Rhode Island's Natural Resources under the categories listed above.
Natural Resources is really a supercategory, and an important one. How can we describe Rhode Island's natural resources and what should we do with them? It depends on how the term is defined.
Business websites define them as "Asset or material that constitutes the natural capital of a nation. Natural resources require application of capital and human resources (mental and physical labor) to be exploited (extracted, processed, refined) for the realization of their economic value" (Source: BusinessDictionary.com).
Wikipedia's entry on Natural Resource defines the term as "all that exists without the actions of humankind." It provides a broader perspective beyond exploitation and utilitarianism, introducing consideration of resource depletion, renewable resources, and resource protection and management.
Humans are emotionally connected to the earth, to PLACE, which is discussed in "Environmental Meaning and Ecosystem Management: Perspectives from Environmental Psychology and Human Geography," a frequently cited article by Daniel E. Williams and Michael R. Patterson (1996).
"Place constitutes a concrete focal point where natural forces, social relations and human meanings overlap and can be integrated in theory and practice."