It’s always a risky business putting depletion dates to anything, because someone might find huge new reserves tomorrow. But it is a useful exercise nonetheless, a reminder that we live on a finite planet, and are dependent on resources that are non-renewable. I’ve written about it before, but this is a neater presentation than most.
By the time I reach old age, I am likely to have seen the end of oil, copper and silver and various rare metals. Gas may be on its way out. There will be consequences to this – rising prices, shortages, new technologies and desperate measures. Some think we’ll be mining asteroids or the sea bed. We’ll definitely be mining old landfill sites outside big cities. Hopefully we’ll have a design revolution and cradle to cradle manufacturing so that metals are re-used instead of being thrown away.
Personally, I’m not content to wait and see. I’d rather write about and campaign for that circular materials economy, and for good stewardship of the resources left. It’s one of the reasons this site exists.
(The graphic from a BBC education site, which for reasons unbeknownst, isn’t available in the UK. I got it from here.)