LOHAS, or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability

One day, we are going to run out of non-renewable natural resources that we’ve been taking for granted for many centuries.  And this day might be closer than most of us think.

Let me first start with this iconography, which demonstrates how soon we will run out of such important things as oil (2050) and gas (2075).  Or, things like gold (2030). Or, Antimony (2025).  Or, Lead (2030).

We now face the following questions:

What are we going to do when all of these materials are not available to us anymore?  Are we going to continue to move forward or will technological progress slow down, or stop altogether?

Some may say, what is the big deal?  We will switch from fossil fuels to solar energy or something else “clean and renewable,” and the world will become a cleaner and better place.

This might be the case.  However, let’s not forget that oil, for example, is used not just to generate our energy, but to also make many other things we cannot live without.  This infographic says it all:

Can we easily adjust to not having these things?  Or quickly find a replacement technology to continue making similar things without oil?

While on my  trip to Japan this summer, I spent time with a now-retired professor Koji Kato, who was my host professor when I was a postdoc at Tohoku University in Japan back in 1993-96.

Professor Kato is a well-known figure in his field, the winner of multiple international awards and medals as well as the rare and prestigious Japanese Order of The Sacred Treasure for his long and meritorious contribution to Japanese society.  In the last years, Professor Kato’s interest shifted towards sustainable ways of life, and how to continue to advance technologically while running out of the Earth’s resources.  His biggest contribution to this field, so far, is a series of small, yet fully self-sufficient, homes built on the Hihon University’s campus – homes that are using solar, Geo-thermal, and wind energy, relying on rain water, and using a few other techniques to reduce their ecological footprint to, basically, zero.  This is one of them:

I might spend some time later on talking more about these houses.  But Professor Kato was the first person who brought to my attention the fact that we are going to run out of more than just oil or gas….  we are going to run out of almost everything important to us.  Except for silicon or iron, maybe.  And this is going to happen pretty soon−within the next few generations.  And we might be forced to switch to wood not just for fun, but out of necessity.

This entry was posted in Computers, Data Analysis and Visualization, Past, present, and future, Research. Bookmark the permalink.

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