Natural Resources in a Planetary Perspective

November 18, 2015
Editor @17Goals

Professors Vala Ragnarsdóttir and Harald Sverdrup, both currently based at the University of Iceland, recently produced a remarkable, book-length academic paper, which provides a comprehensive briefing on the state of many of the world’s key basic geochemical resources — including things we don’t usually spend time thinking about, such as phosphorus, essential to our basic biology. It’s a small, finite planet. What are we running out of? What do we need to conserve? Meeting the SDGs will require resources, so serious students of resource availability should certainly absorb the basic messages in their landmark study. Here is a short snippet from their abstract; the whole paper/book is available free online in PDF format.

v3n2_cover_184One of humankind’s biggest challenges over the next century is to provide adequate resources for civilisation. Geochemistry plays a central role, from the processes that accumulate elements into orebodies, to developing exploration techniques that are used to find them. Geochemistry is also important for the processes that win the resources and redistribute them with the accompanying risks of environmental contamination and threats for human health.

In a recent report published in the Geochemical Perspectives journal, we summarize the current and future availability of many of the key natural resources that we depend upon in our daily lives.

Our main findings are that the world is heading towards a restricted access to the key resources that are used by humanity today and these restrictions will have a profound impact on the world economies and lifestyles of future generations. The challenge is to accept this knowledge, and to find the necessary solutions and adaptions for the future while we still have time and possibility to so. History will judge how well we responded to current resource challenges.

Read the full report here. 

 

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