This is now the world’s greatest threat – and it’s not coronavirus

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An environmental worker stands near an excavator amid waste at Tianziling landfill in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China August 7, 2019.

Affluence is the biggest threat to our world, according to a new scientific report.

True sustainability will only be achieved through drastic lifestyle changes, it argues.

The World Economic Forum has called for a great reset of capitalism in the wake of the pandemic.

A detailed analysis of environmental research has revealed the greatest threat to the world: affluence.

That’s one of the main conclusions of a team of scientists from Australia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, who have warned that tackling overconsumption has to become a priority. Their report, titled Scientists’ Warning on Affluence, explains that true sustainability calls for significant lifestyle changes, rather than hoping that more efficient use of resources will be enough.

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Why the world is running out of sand

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It may be little more than grains of weathered rock, and can be found in deserts and on beaches around the world, but sand is also the world’s second most consumed natural resource.

A South African entrepreneur shot dead in September. Two Indian villagers killed in a gun battle in August. A Mexican environmental activist murdered in June.

Though separated by thousands of miles, these killings share an unlikely cause. They are some of the latest casualties in a growing wave of violence sparked by the struggle for one of the 21st Century’s most important, but least appreciated, commodities: ordinary sand.

Trivial though it may seem, sand is a critical ingredient of our lives. It is the primary raw material that modern cities are made from. The concrete used to construct shopping malls, offices, and apartment blocks, along with the asphalt we use to build roads connecting them, are largely just sand and gravel glued together. The glass in every window, windshield, and smart phone screen is made of melted-down sand. And even the silicon chips inside our phones and computers – along with virtually every other piece of electronic equipment in your home – are made from sand.

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7 things you didn’t know the world was running out of

Helium is a highly necessary commodity in the modern world.

Almost everyday we are told about the unsustainable pressure we’re putting on our natural resources. And while it prompts visions of oil, fresh water, and coal, you’d be surprised at how many of our creature comfort commodities are dwindling just as quickly.

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7 Billion

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Sometime this year, the world’s population will pass the 7 billion mark. By 2045, that figure is expected to be 9 billion. National Geographic is beginning a year-long series on how the world’s population came to be, where we are headed, and the challenges that come with so many of us living together. Those challenges include energy consumption, education, birth control, natural resources, immigration, and more.

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Finding Green In The City

Nanhu

Chongqing in China is growing fast – so is the pollution

Apart from a few lower members of the animal kingdom, no-one other than human beings build cities.  They are totally artificial constructs and in them we live artificial lives. We travel differently, eat different food, receive water and energy through pipes and wires, live in different kinds of buildings, do different jobs.

 

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