Monday, April 20, 2009

How long will it last?

While our dwindling energy reserves seem to get all the press, that may be the least of our problems. In a nutshell, we are running out of everything! This graphic (click to enlarge) shows just how critical the issue is and portends a poor future for humanity as we literally run out of the stuff we make stuff out of. Energy could be harnessed from eternal sources, like the sun, the wind, or the seas, but there is only a limited amount of elements in planet Earth and—what's worst—bringing them from other planets will prove impractical with our current technology or any technology in our near future.

In the meantime, copper—which is everywhere around you—will be gone in about 61 years; antimony—widely used in medicines—will be depleted in 20 years; while indium, rhodium, platinum, or silver—which are present in many essential consumer electronics—won't last much longer. And those estimations are only valid if we manage to consume half of what we are consuming now.

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