While not many people are making it known, we are facing a serious problem in the world right now. Something we use a lot of known as phosphorus is running out, and we haven’t found a substitute for it yet.
Back in July, a group of about 40 international experts took the time to warn us officially in a publication made in ACS. This making it quite clear that if we do not make changes right now to conserve phosphorus we will run out completely as time passes. Considering how wide-spread it’s use it, if we were to run out the whole world would change.
For those who might not know phosphorus is a mineral that is found in many places including within our bodies. It is found in fertilizers and comes from phosphate ore after having been mined. You would be surprised at its uses and as our supply of raw material in regards gets used up we aren’t sure where things will end up.
The sustainable exploitation of phosphorus (P) is essential for food and water security. However, our current poor management of this essential nutrient represents a pressing challenge, which causes global-scale pollution of water resources(2) while failing to achieve equitable access to fertilizers to support food production worldwide.(3) This is, in part, due to poor uptake of advances, for example, in new technologies to reduce losses of P from agriculture, in our understanding of P thresholds for ecosystem functioning, and in sustainable urban development approaches focused on nutrient recycling systems. We identify, here, a pressing need to develop a new generation of nutrient sustainability professionals working collectively to implement diverse and interdiciplinary approaches within large scale urban and rural planning, for example, following the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, to meet the diverse needs of communities and countries.
With demand for this mineral becoming more and more intense the issue we’re facing becomes more and more pressing. Considering how essential phosphorus is for our existence, this is easily something that could become a real crisis. With no international bodies governing global phosphorus resources, they’re being wasted and used to an extent that should not be happening.
Birgitte Svennevig from the University of Southern Denmark wrote as follows on the topic for Psys.org:
This has to change. There are only a few phosphorus mines in the world, and if we do not find a way to recycle our very limited phosphate resources, the world will eventually run out, and that will be a disaster: Without phosphate, the worlds’ farmers will not be able to produce enough food for our growing human population, says Kasper Reitzel, a phosphorus expert and associate professor at University of Southern Denmark. He is one of 40 international phosphorus experts stating that there is a pressing need to approach the phosphorus crisis.
To learn more about all of this please feel free to check out the video below. This is something everyone needs to be aware of. While it might not be affecting us right now, it will be in the not so distant future.