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Things We Are Running Out of, Globally!

Updated: Feb 26

More on a Worldly Scale

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash


When I started this, my focus was on the simple things the pandemic had affected. As depressing as this was, it became more disheartening when I looked at this “earthly” list:

The element Phosphorus (P) on the periodic table.

The Periodic Table Phosphorus (media by Jeff Clos)


  1. Phosphorus — Although the timeframe is all over the board, the consensus is we are running out of Phosphorus. The current estimate is roughly 80 years of supply. Without Phosphorus, we would run out of food. It is an essential nutrient and key component in living things’ DNA. We require this key component daily to produce energy.

Overhead picture of a sandy beach.

Photo by Jim gade on Unsplash


2. Sand — I found this one odd as it would seem we have an endless supply of this. We have quite a bit of it on the beaches of the Great Lakes in Michigan. One need only takes a drive to a few of the sand dunes here in the lower peninsula. Imagine my surprise finding out this is not the case, as we use more of this than can be naturally replenished. It is used daily in the filtration of water, the manufacturing of glass, reclamation of land, and on a larger scale, construction.

Top Soil in front of a sprawling forest.

Photo by Trevor Brown on Unsplash


3. Soil — Around half of the world’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years, as estimated by the World Wildlife Fund. They estimate it takes 500 years for 1 inch of soil to form naturally. This directly affects the plants, which obtain most of their needed nutrients from the topsoil. This, and the loss of Phosphorus, as stated above, will ultimately affect the vast majority of global food production.

A rainbow-colored ,floating hot-air balloon against a blue sky

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


4. Helium — The element is extracted from deep underground. It is not just used in balloons. Helium is used for cooling magnets in MRI scanners and the manufacturing of semiconductor chips. The estimates peg this resource at running out in 30 to 50 years. While this element is exceptionally abundant out in Space, it is a finite resource here on planet Earth.

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