10 Things You Didnt Know The World Is Running Out Of

It turns out that, at least over the last couple of centuries, humanity hasn’t been the most thrifty species We’ve squandered a lot of the resources this planet has to offer and now it looks like we’re running out of some fairly essential commodities

So prepare to say goodbye to some of your favorite luxuries, this is: 10 Important Things The World is Running Out Of NUMBER 10: ANTIBIOTICS Medical research has come along way since the medieval days of leeches, barber-surgeons and witch doctors We are now able to transplant organs, vaccinate against certain illnesses and even completely eradicate deadly diseases like polio But could we be about to be thrown back into the dark ages of medicine? Well, thanks to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections, very possibly More than 50% of the US population receives a prescription for antibiotics every year They are used to treat a vast variety of conditions, ranging from skin infections to sore throats

But bacteria is getting clever, and is developing a resistance to these medicines at an alarming rate One by one, prescriptions that have been used for decades are becoming defunct Take gonorrhea antibiotics, for example It’s becoming increasingly hard to treat the sexually transmitted infection, which affects a horrifying 78 million people a year and can lead to infertility and increased risk of HIV The World Health Organization revealed in 2016 that there’s now only one or two antibiotics that can effectively treat the infection, and even they sometimes don’t work on certain strains

To make matters worse, there are currently only 3 new candidate drugs going through trials to replace those that we’re losing If none of those work, a lot of people could end up very screwed very soon NUMBER 9: CHOCOLATE Stock up on your M&Ms, Kit Kats and Mars bars, because chocolate’s days might be numbered That’s right, everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure is running out, and that’s largely because producing chocolate is just not financially viable Harvesting cocoa is bloody hard work, and farmers can earn as little as 50 cents a day doing it

Each new crop takes five years to grow and has to harvested manually, often in the boiling heat Because it only grows in latitudes within 10 degrees of the equator, there’s only a select few countries that are suitable The ones that are tend to be developing countries In fact, 70% of the world’s cocoa beans come from four West African countries – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon – who produce a total of almost 3 billion kilograms a year That may sound like a lot, but Americans alone consume 1

3 billion kilograms annually, so it’s looking more and more likely that that just won’t cut it any more Increasing fair-trade laws are also threatening this industry, which is propped up by child labor While these laws are obviously a great step forward for human rights and the well-being of workers, there’s a strong possibility they’ll put a lot of farmers, who can’t afford to pay higher wages, out of business I guess mankind has to decide on its priorities – welfare or Wonka Bars NUMBER 8: SAND This next one seems a little hard to believe

I mean, go to any beach and you’ll find a seemingly infinite amount of sand Deserts, too, are obviously full of the stuff So how could we be running out? The answer is simple: construction and I’m not just talking sand castles Sand is the most essential ingredient in the production of concrete, and humanity uses a hell of a lot of concrete A US Geological Survey found that sand and gravel use in American construction totals an absolutely insane 40 trillion kilograms every year But that’s just a child’s sandpit compared to how much sand China is using Between 2011 and 2013, China built 32

3 million houses and 45 million kilometers of road In doing this, they used more cement than America used in the entire 20th Century Even with these figures showing how much sand we’re using, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking that the planet should still be able to cope with demand After all, deserts make up 33% of the Earth’s landmass

But part of the problem is that only specific types of sand are suitable for construction Desert sand is predominantly eroded by wind rather than water, making it too fine to be used in construction At this rate, constructions workers will be needing to seek alternative materials within the next 50 years *NUMBER 7: FISH There’s something fishy going on with how we treat our planet’s marine life Each year, humans catch up to 2

7 trillion fish from the wild According to the United Nations, 17% of fish stocks worldwide are currently overexploited; 52% are fully exploited and 7% are completely depleted It’s estimated that we could actually run out of seafood by 2048 if we continue to fish at current rates That’s kinda problematic, considering that more than a billion people around the world depend on fish as their primary source of protein 120 million people are also dependent on fishing for all or part of their incomes

Aside from the consequences it would have for the human diet and livelihood, overfishing also has pretty dire ramifications for the ocean population In the last few decades, humans have fished various species to near or complete extinction For example, since 2006, numbers of the endangered Cassava croaker have dropped by almost 60% thanks to overfishing Other issues threatening the planet’s marine life include oil pollution, degradation of habitat and rising sea temperatures thanks to man-made global warming Considering how systematic and thorough the human attack on underwater life seems to have been, you’d be excused for almost suspecting it of being deliberate

NUMBER 6: GOLD Whether it’s being used for jewellery, super fancy food decoration or, in Donald Trump’s case – sink fixtures on a private jet, gold is definitely one of the most in-demand luxury commodities It’s one of the rarest elements in the world, making up about 0003 parts per million of the Earth’s crust If you took all the gold ever mined and melted it down, it would easily fit within an Olympic-size swimming pool It’s not really all that surprising, then, that we’re running low on it

In fact, according to Eugene King, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, we only have 20 years of mineable gold reserves left Once all possible gold has been mined, and we have a definitive and known amount in circulation, its value will skyrocket Currently, gold is worth $47 per gram Best estimates suggest that it could soar as high as $430 per gram And if you think that this would only affect miners, jewellery sellers and the rich elite, think again

The price of gold and the health of the economy are intrinsically linked Hyperinflation of gold could destabilize the economies of some of the world’s biggest powers This is because it encourages the wealthy to invest in gold instead of other commodities, like property, that would help stimulate the economy NUMBER 5: WINE Bad news for those who enjoy a glass of merlot in an evening or toast an occasion with a flute of prosecco… wine may also be on its way out Despite wine companies producing about 2

8 billion cases a year, it’s becoming abundantly clear that’s just not going to cut it any more That’s because demand for wine is totally overwhelming the industry In 2016, Americans collectively guzzled down 4 billion liters of the grapey goodness Studies show that so-called ‘millennials’ drink more wine than previous generations ever did, and wine companies are starting to feel the strain In the last few years, there was a 1% rise in global wine consumption, but production actually fell by 5% in the same time, dropping to the lowest it’s been since the 1960s

As with many other entries on this list, blame for this drop in production can be pinned on Global Warming Higher temperatures mean that grapes ripen and over-ripen quicker than they can be harvested, meaning more go to waste Freak weather, such as flooding, storms and harsh winters, also damage the crops So, maybe it’s time to start cutting down on the vino, or try getting used to the taste of vodka instead NUMBER 4: PHOSPHORUS You may not know all that much about phosphorus but, believe me, you’d miss it if we ran out

Phosphorus is an essential ingredient for all life on Earth All humans have phosphorus in our bodies, as it’s essential for the creation of DNA, cell membranes, bones and teeth 90% of the phosphorus that we mine from phosphate rock is used to make fertilizers If it were to vanish off the face of the planet, we pretty definitely wouldn’t be able to produce enough food for the world’s population Now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that very scary prospect could only be about 30 years away

There is a finite amount of phosphate rock on the planet, and we’ve been mining away at that at quite an impressive pace This is largely because of the pressure being put on agriculture by the world’s vastly growing population More demand for vegetables, meat and dairy has hiked up the demand for fertilizers Scientists are desperately looking are solutions to the shortage – researchers in Sweden have actually started designing toilets that will extract the element from our urine Yeah, you know things are getting bad when farmers consider using human pee to fertilize their crops… NUMBER 3: WATER OK, so I know what you’re going to say about this one… how could we possibly be running out of water? After all, it covers over 71% of the Earth

Well, despite the planet pretty much drowning in water, we still don’t have all that much available to drink 96% of the Earth’s H20 is salty and nearly 1 2 billion people around the world don’t have access to clean water And it’s not just in the developing world where this is a problem That pesky Global warming is wreaking havoc in the Western World, with higher average temperatures leading to droughts

There has been an undoubtable increase in the regularity of droughts, even in very recent years In the early 2000s, only about 20% of US land experienced ‘abnormally dry conditions’ By 2012, that figure had passed 50% According to the US Government Accountability Office, if the country was to experience even an average amount of rainfall over the next decade, it would lead to water shortages in pretty much every American state With pretty much every part of life on Earth reliant on water – from agriculture to the production of your smartphone – this international water crisis is, without a doubt, one of the most worrisome issues pressing humanity today

NUMBER 2: MEDICAL ISOTOPES A bit like with phosphorus, you’re unlikely to know all that much about medical isotopes But, again, a life without them would be pretty damn problematic Medical isotopes are substances that release short bursts of radiation before decaying into uselessness, a bit like Psy or Rebecca Black These isotopes are used in medical scanners to detect bone cancer or kidney and brain disorders More than 50,000 Americans go through essential medical procedures that rely on them every single day

In other words, they’re super useful But, scarily, we could be facing a massive shortage of these handy atoms Approximately 80% of medical isotope procedures use a specific substance called technetium-99m That particular isotope has a lifespan of about 12 hours That’s useful in one sense, because it means it can be injected into a patient to track their bodily functions, without causing any lasting damage

However, in another sense, it’s super annoying, as it’s totally impossible to stockpile the valuable commodity That means that it has to be produced fresh over and over, which used to not be a problem However, the world’s biggest producer of the isotope, Chalk River Laboratories hasn’t been operational since May 2009 Worryingly, none of the other companies have been able to pick up the slack NUMBER 1: SPERM Our final entry on this list could threaten humanity in a very literal sense… Because without sperm, how can humans have any future at all? Research led by Dr Hagai Levine from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem assessed data from nearly 200 studies from between 1973 and 2011

He came to the shocking conclusion that sperm counts among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have halved in the last 40 years Dr Levine warns that, should this trend continue, humans could actually become extinct within the next couple of centuries There is no specific reason why this decline would be happening, although Dr Levine argues it could be due to a combination of environmental and lifestyle factors Low sperm counts have been linked to obesity, smoking, stress and diet, as well as exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and plastics But how doomed are we? Are there any solutions to this seemingly catastrophic problem? Well, infertility treatments such as IVF can help in the sense that they can help each individual sperm target an egg more directly

But if the human sperm is on track for extinction, even that won’t be a long-term solution So, unless there’s a rapid turnaround in eliminating sperm-killing lifestyle factors, it looks like we’re kinda screwed

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