[INFOGRAPHIC] Oil, Rare Earths and More: How Long Will They Last?
By sheer limitations of the human brain, it can be hard for us to look past the time span of our own lives—short as they are.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s true. Imagine what technology will look like 100 years from now. What about 500? Imagine what transportation will look like then.
Today there are more innovative technologies arising in the world of transportation, so by virtue of the year that you’re breathing in, you might be able to picture subsea, high-speed trains. Maybe you pictured Elon Musk’s Hyperloop.
But I’m willing to bet that at least some of you pictured flying cars—or some variant thereof. Moreover, if you asked someone living in the 1950s that same question, they would undoubtedly have pictured just that. That’s ultimately a very narrow view of what future transit might look like and it draws off of the fact that cars are what we’re used to.
It’s only natural that we have a hard time fully envisioning things that we haven’t experienced (it’s the same reason you can’t imagine a new color—seriously, try it.) But that presents us with serious limitations, especially in the worlds of energy and computing.
While the concept of “peak oil” is still hotly debated, it’s difficult— really impossible— for anyone to assert that petroleum is an infinite resource on our planet called “Earth.” If we look far enough to the future, it’s easy to see that eventually we’ll run out. But what’s even more important to understand is that oil is far from the only resource that we will eventually run dry on—and not even close to the most imminent.
The following infographic from VisualCapitalist.com depicts the estimated amount of time that we can still count on the resources that we depend on every day. And that’s not just fuels we’re talking about—after all, antimony for batteries, lead for a lot of stuff, and indium for solar panels are all expected to be depleted by 2030. Somewhat ironically, so-called “rare earth” elements are the most abundant, but I digress.
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All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.