Where Will Tomorrow’s Sand Come From?

Even though sand can be found in nearly every single country on Earth, the world could soon face a shortage. Usage around the world has tripled in the last twenty years, according to the United Nations Environment Program. That’s far greater than the rate at which sand is being replenished.

After water, sand is the second most used commodity on earth. It’s used in concrete, glass, computer chips, computer screens, tile, and more. When you look at deserts and oceans, you may think we have an infinite supply. But we don’t. According to this ten-minute video produced by CNBC, we’re using it faster than Mother Nature is creating it.

Seems Infinite But Isn’t

And not all types of sand are suited for all uses. Desert sand, for instance, is windblown and round. That makes it unsuitable for concrete. For strength, concrete requires the more angular type found near and in rivers.

One small part of the massive Hallett sand mine on the San Jacinto West Fork

A Short Course on Sand

If you want to understand more, I highly recommend this video produced by CNBC. It’s short – only about 10 minutes. But it’s packed with information that puts production, consumption, and environmental tradeoffs in perspective.

To see this video, click here or on the image above.

For instance, do you know how the “tragedy of the commons” can ultimately lead to the collapse of environments?

The video is filled with facts and answers that you can use to amaze friends and family.

  • Did you know that China used more sand in the last three years than the US did in the last century?
  • How much sand does it take to produce concrete?
  • Where will it come from in the future?
  • What impact will the massive infrastructure bill now pending in Congress have on sand production and therefore the environment?

This video will answer all those questions and more. I highly recommend it.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/14/2021 based on a tip from Chris Manthei

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