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Global Sand Shortage

Discussion in 'The Green Room' started by Laika, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    In 1980 Milton Freidman made a joke: If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.

    Well, now its real. There is (apparently) a global sand shortage...

    The global sand shortage that people need to know about

    The United Nations Environment Programme estimated that in 2012 the world used nearly 30 billion tons of these materials just to make concrete – enough to construct a wall 27m high by 27m wide around the equator.

    ...

    The trade value of sand has increased by almost six fold in the last 25 years. In the US alone, where sand production has increased by 24 per cent in the past five years, the sand industry is worth nearly $9bn (£6.7bn).

    ...

    Despite this alarming turn of events, it is still difficult to imagine how sand can be in short supply when the world’s deserts apparently contain a never-ending supply of the stuff.

    But not all sand is created equal. The fine grained sand of the Sahara, for example, does not make an appropriate building material. Instead, sand miners must look to the banks of local rivers and coastlines, and this brings a whole host of environmental and human problems.

    Sand extraction in Kenya has been linked with damage to coral reefs, while in India it threatens critically endangered crocodiles and in Indonesia islands have literally vanished due to excessive mining.

    Sand extraction causes coastal erosion, destroys ecosystems, creates environments that facilitate disease transmission, and even sows the seeds for natural disasters.

    ...

    Finding sand alternatives is another option, but a complicated one. Sand is a special material because it has historically been so abundant and cheap. Producing a replacement with those qualities is difficult, but projects are under way to produce such a material.


    Does anyone have any thoughts on the global sand shortage?
     
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  2. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    Mea culpa. We had some concrete work done yesterday. The guys started with a pile of sand, sifted it into a basin, added other ingredients, mixed it with a trowel, and poured it into the holes drilled into concrete stairs that they were adding a railing to.

    Yeah, I know - not too relevant to your point or very interesting, but this thread hadn't gotten a response in 3½ hours, so yadda yadda and Bob's your uncle.
     
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  3. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Advocate of letting go of theism. Buddhist with an emphasis on personal understanding.
    It is only logical that at some point our scarring of the land will become its own limitation.
     
  4. BSM1

    BSM1 Who's a good boy?

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    So that's where all the sand went...
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    There's often complacency on utilization of resources and a failure to consider the consequences of their (mis)use. It doesn't help that there were some prominent economic philosophers in Western culture whose mottos were essentially "growth, growth, growth" and "resources are unlimited," neither of which are particularly realistic ideas.

    The original study referenced (published in Science) is there, by the by - A looming tragedy of the sand commons

     
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  6. Sanzbir

    Sanzbir Active Member

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    So it's not a sand shortage, it's a shortage of a specific type of sand.

    Clickbait title lol.
     
  7. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    It's more like "wtf am I reading in the news? I have to share this in case I've lost my senses!"

    It was a semi-reasonable assumption in 1776 when Adam Smith published the Wealth of Nations. Europeans may have had a foothold in America, but they hadn't discovered Australia or colonised Africa yet. But the sheer volume of resources we are now using as the result of Industrialisation means man is having a massive impact on the planet and those assumptions need to be changed. The question over whether resources were effective infinite or could be depleted were two sides of a debate in economics, but economists have basically forgotten about it and picked one side of the argument.

    It was Thomas Malthus who came up with the theory of over-population in 1798, expecting that the relationship between population and resources would come crashing down in a hell fire of disease, famine and war. It's what gave economics its title as "the dismal science". Malthus was right under certain conditions and his opponents were right about the long-term potential for technology to overcome those natural limits. Theoretically, its still possible we can go in to outer-space and bring back "stuff" or set up somewhere else like Mars, but that doesn't help any of the ecological systems on the planet because they are unique and effectively irreplaceable. We're screwing up the planet now so having faith that a solution will be found in 100 years is not that helpful if it gives us an excuse to do nothing.
     
  8. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Libertarian Gearhead
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    Plenty of sand in Revoltistan!
    I just had a new concrete floor poured.
     
  9. Sanzbir

    Sanzbir Active Member

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    In case it wasn't clear, I was referring to the article's title, not your thread's. :p
     
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  10. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Yeah. Reading it when I got up this morning was a complete mind ****. You might as well have been Orsen Wells on the radio telling me the Martians had landed and taken New York. :D
     
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