Are there any materials or substances we've run out of yet?

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a-witty-name
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#1
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#1
For a couple of decades it's been said we'll run out of a certain thing in a decade or two and we'll be screwed, like coal and whatever that material was they use for gadgets which China has most of. Have we basically run out of any yet, and had to change, or are we still waiting to cross that bridge when we come to it?
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a-witty-name
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#2
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#2
That a no then?
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Rakas21
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#3
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#3
(Original post by a-witty-name)
For a couple of decades it's been said we'll run out of a certain thing in a decade or two and we'll be screwed, like coal and whatever that material was they use for gadgets which China has most of. Have we basically run out of any yet, and had to change, or are we still waiting to cross that bridge when we come to it?
None, the UK actually has centuries of coal left and even decades of oil.
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username521617
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#4
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#4
Dodo meat.
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a-witty-name
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Dandaman1)
Dodo meat.
Yawn.
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MindTheGaps
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#6
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#6
No, nor are we likely to. With the exception of fuels, materials are usually not consumed. Minerals can be recycled pretty much indefinitely. Moreover, we are always working out better, more efficient ways to extract minerals from the ground, from deposits that would have been inaccessible not so long ago, if they had even been discovered.

As long as human ingenuity doesn't look like running out, we'll be fine.
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thunder_chunky
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#7
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#7
We've run out of funk.
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No Man
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#8
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#8
Plenty of places have lost/almost lost a fair number of decent water resources, but most of the places are in Asia and Africa (eg the Aral Sea, Lake Chad, and the number of highly contaminated rivers in China and the Indian Sub-continent)
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Mockery
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#9
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#9
Generally dwindling stock levels of materials leads to mounting pressure to be innovative and find other solutions. Therefore, they aren't used to exhaustion.
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kpofsuburbia
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#10
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#10
Money, according to the government, but then it's all their fault anyway.
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lucaf
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#11
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#11
dodo meat
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Axiomasher
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#12
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#12
(Original post by a-witty-name)
For a couple of decades it's been said we'll run out of a certain thing in a decade or two and we'll be screwed, like coal and whatever that material was they use for gadgets which China has most of. Have we basically run out of any yet, and had to change, or are we still waiting to cross that bridge when we come to it?
Materials will simply become prohibitively expensive before they are literally 'used up', the rich will always have what they want.

Aside from that we're losing biodiversity at an ever accelerating rate (the consequences of which are not easy to calculate) and we're also losing non-polluted environments to ever more polluted ones. In time we'll lose the oceans to acidification and suffer the consequences of sea-level rise, at least our grandchildren and their grandchildren will.
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uberteknik
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Rinsed)
As long as human ingenuity doesn't look like running out, we'll be fine.
Replace ingenuity with hubris or arrogance.
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tonberry
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Dandaman1)
Dodo meat.
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the bear
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#15
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#15
Whale oil... you can't buy it anywhere
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I am not finite
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#16
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#16
brains
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Clip
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#17
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#17
I'm pretty sure Helium is pretty much gone and is non-renewable.
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Davelittle
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#18
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#18
Can't wait until we start harvesting asteroids for minerals!

Pretty much unlimited resources available to us in space and still people claim it isn't "economic" to have a space programme, think long term people!
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a-witty-name
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#19
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#19
(Original post by lucaf)
dodo meat
Yawn again...
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Manitude
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Clip)
I'm pretty sure Helium is pretty much gone and is non-renewable.
Far from it. There's large reserves and it is possible to manufacture (although, that is expensive to do in large scale. You need a nuclear fusion reactor.) Although, if you let go of a helium balloon it will eventually pop in the atmosphere and almost all, if not all, the helium will escape to space and it is gone forever.

By 'large' I mean large enough for its most useful applications. Which basically means science research and medicine, not airships and party balloons. The department I did my undergraduate in had a lot of helium 4 and a LOT of helium 3 (which is vastly more expensive) in storage. They have a good system where they never wasted it, they just recycled what they used.
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