Magazine article Geographical

Making Rare Earths Rarer

Magazine article Geographical

Making Rare Earths Rarer

Article excerpt

It seems to be taking the human race an awfully long time to figure out that the Earth and its resources are finite entities. Those first photographs from space of the little blue marble sitting in a sea of black, which supposedly provided an impetus for the formation of the environmental movement, should really have done the trick, but we still go around pretending that everything from fish stocks and oil reserves to the oceans and the atmosphere have a limitless capacity to fulfil our desire to plunder and dump. Just witness the staggering, mind-boggling stupidity of the comments made recently by BP chief executive Tony Hayward in an interview with the Guardian about the Deep Horizon tragedy: 'The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount and volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.'

But it increasingly appears as though we've all been born into the period in human history when we start bumping up against the planet's limits in earnest. …

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