We're Running Out of These Elements - Here's How



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    Phones, TVs, solar panels, and electric car batteries are all made of some rare and unusual elements. As our modern world creates more and more of these technologies, will things go from "rare" to "nonexistent" and what will we do then?
    Hosted by: Michael Aranda
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    Published on 6 months ago


    1. Anthony Skidmark

      I believe new inventions and different 'type' TV & solar panels/screens will come about. Look at the rate of improvement and change over the years... We all have eye implants in a decade and won't need screen. Energy will come from fossil fuel, nuclear, tidal, geo-thermal, wind, solar (different ways of harvesting), hydro-electric, bio-fuel etc. The biggest problem is that people are extremely wasteful, not recycling enough... AND MORE IMPORTANTLY: Things are build to break after some years, so we need new stuff, new stuff, new stuff... instead of building something like the NOKIA, that lasts for a life-time. Even though, I'm sure science & worker people are gonna invent new technologies and processing the physical things to acquire more resources. Might even get them from asteroids. For a green & permaculture hippie life-style, you don't really need most of this technology crap. There is no problem living without tech or even electricity. Only mininng, transport, hospitals, builders, doctor and some schools and road repair people need generating/usage electricity really etc.

    2. Marc Marmolejo

      Here is why the media is blowing up this covid19. In the next 30 to 40 years we are going to run out of several significant resources they need to get the population under control as horrible as it seems or we are going to need to significantly reduce population or the planet will be destroyed. If course the wealthy like Bill gates and top earners feel only them and their families and friends are entitled to the planet.

    3. John Smith

      I feel like if a substance is both poisonous and cancerous, that the poison would kill the cancer and the two would cancel each other out :)

    4. Jessica Evans

      Hey I've got 2 priceless broken phones. 10 bucks each.

    5. Ricardo Thomas Manuel Hernández

      To build on the end of this video y'all should cover how kids in India get those small trace elements in things like old computers by way of melting down the components while inhaling the toxic chemicals from the burn off.

    6. 3ds max

      Matthew McConaughey: Got any Indium? Me: No. Matthew: Be a lot cooler if you did.....

    7. Freeman

      This is really great explanation of why investing into recycling is one of the best things. Every government official should watch this.

    8. Animiles

      I still have my old slide phone as well as my 3 previous smartphones xD I'll keep those devices with me and I'll bring them to a recycling point once they're able to properly recycle them ^^

    9. planescaped

      Is it bad that I actually care less about the Democratic Republic of Congo being invaded for its resources than the middle east? >__>

    10. Been

      Imagine having a periodic table without tennesine that has oganesson

    11. blackened 1

      Arsenic is not used to pressure treat common lumber anymore. It is not the good old CCA stamp. More likely, a copper compound less toxic to the environment. Arsenic may still be used for railroad ties and other construction applications, but not for residential use.

    12. Kristina Xo-Ox

      How about we recycle our old lcd and solar cells to reuse the stuff. We pollute the planet by our stupid need to have the latest and greatest throwing out perfectly working outdated ones, it's dumb and wasteful and selfcentered...

    13. Man w/o a Plan

      I love your voice. Carry on.

    14. sween187

      One answer, alchemy, alchemy will soon become cost effective.

    15. John Hayes

      I've got dead lighters everywhere, I wonder if extracting cerium is possible

    16. Michael Sears

      We know how to seperate them. But can't combine them, it's a little shocking 😂 or don't understand everything here eats, shits, and pisses. A solid or gas for an excretion. Whether it took is a solid or gas. You breathe air take what you need in, put out what you don't. When you eat chicken, your body take what it needs and pisses and shits it out.

    17. Dan Customer

      Wile United States has been sleeping China has been cornering The rare Element market worldwide... and now has a stranglehold on it and use it as a bargaining chip or a threat whenever something doesn't go their way ! almost 95% of all recycle electronic debris is being bought up by China for a good reason wake up people !

    18. Hillary Clintub

      If we're using up elements, is the planet getting lighter?

    19. Anders Termansen

      We know the boomers is at fault but still blame the millenials.

    20. Girom Christian Calica

      <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="217">3:37</a> y'all greenpeace treehugging lefty hipsters better stop using iphones if you want to save the planet cause they're built out of rare earth minerals dug through environmentally damaging congo and chinese mines

    21. bob bobbly

      I bet no one knows the world is running short of sand to make concrete. needs to be the right sort,sharp......

    22. Plastix

      I just wanted you to know our chemistry teacher said this is our class project. Literally summarizing this entire video. Hooray.

    23. Catalyst - D B

      <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="288">4:48</a> Then the solution is to make our important technology using less nasty stuff but just as if not more efficient. That’s the solution. Both economically and medically.

    24. Catalyst - D B

      <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="275">4:35</a> Pressure treating wood using arsenic.... Who would’ve known? Delicious sweet sweet cancer. Para pa pa pa~

    25. Catalyst - D B

      The rarer these elements become the more expensive it will cost to produce products that use them.... if we use less rare much more abundant elements as alternatives for the applications that these rare elements fill, can that help to significantly reduce the cost of production and even make products immune to the rarity of these elements by eventually not using those rare elements at all as the rare elements become even more rare? From a economic standpoint, it seems like something to consider strategically to protect your cost of production from rising and rising.

    26. big mike

      Time to mine asteroids .

    27. Born BredBermudian

      They should have a program where people upgrading their phones can trade in their old ones. Instead of having to go through the landfills.

    28. Meldridge Reed Jr

      You should read "The Accidental Superpower","The Absent Superpower" and "Disunited Nations" by Peter Zeihan.

    29. LveMlike

      Ah this guy again I puke when I see his face

    30. 3nertia

      Maybe if we didn't have a consumer culture and weren't a wasteful species that makes people buy a new phone every year instead of just designing one that lasts as long as possible ...

    31. MrCaptainkirk1984

      So less regulation is the answer? Sounds like it to me.

    32. Kew Akl

      It is a dubious claim that we will 'run out' of any of the elements in question. It may become NON cost-effective to extract/refine diminishing amounts, but to run out... Dubious.

    33. Steve

      Mine the landfills!

    34. TheRunthis

      I feel like, the problem, albeit not immediate, is that we cannot yet create these elements on the atomic level completely yet. I think we are getting closer.

    35. Ged Woods

      Who’s we. I’m still on a iPhone 6’s with its original battery and always use the same lighter just top it up with bottled gas.

    36. Pervy Sage

      That's right electric cars actually have MORE of a foot print than gas and that's because of the strip mining required to make the batteries and the fuel used to make electricity. The USA uses a lot coal plants and coal doesn't burn even close to as cleanly as gas.

    37. JohnnyGotHisGun

      LCDs? I think you mean LEDs. LCD is inferior to LED. We figured this out in like 2009.

    38. Mohamed Ahmed

      We should turn to asteroid mining

    39. Jose Garza

      Where is Greta? We need her opinion on this. Oh wait, we are running out of materials to make phones, solar panels and other vital environmentalist propagandist products.

    40. The Great Mechanized Ape

      so we strip mine areas, using fosil fuels, destroying ecosystems, maybe clearing forests and leveling mountains to get induim/conalt at a very low return per ton of material mined, to build solar pannels and batteries with a shelf life of maybe 20 years at best? sounds green.

    41. Harlemworldboy

      Go to space and mine these elements.

    42. Brian Brewster

      There are some inaccuracies presented here. Molycorp's Mountain Pass Rare Earth facility in Mountain Pass, California is already mining REE and its MP Materials will start rare earth processing next year versus relying on China. Most pressure-treated lumber no longer contains arsenic. For many years, the only real choice of pressure-treated lumber was wood treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA). ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quat) currently is the most widely used wood preservative for residential applications. And, as for recycling materials, China managed to throw our country in a tailspin when it refused to recycle our trash going back about 2 years. Rarely do recycle centers collect discarded cell phones or batteries - which hold a remarkable amount of metals. This needs to change, too.

    43. Michael Evans

      The coup in Bolivia should fix it

    44. Love One Another

      We are getting elements from parallel realities now. Hop on the education train . If you know of alchemy you know antimony is the most valuable substance there is.

      1. Yoink Doink

        🤣🤣🤣 ur trolling

    45. Daryl S

      Declass everything. That includes Tesla patents still not public. Energy is in the air around us. It’s been suppressed. New technology will reduce demand for rare metals. Organic tech meld will change the future. Quantum energy is another...

      1. Hunter Smith


    46. Richard Robertson

      You appear so intelligent at first and most of your information that overlaps my education and training adds to your credibility, then you come out with a suggestion to stop "climate change" and I think, well, the guy may be well read but he fails to make logical occlusions. I stopped watching. Please get past your desire for wealth redistribution . . . that's the ultimate goal of the "climate change" crowd.

    47. Anibal Fermaint Gonzalez

      I'm surprised you didn't talk about copper and at least a little bit about glass towards the end.

    48. Anibal Fermaint Gonzalez

      The only rare earth metal processing facility in America was closed because it was hard. China keeps doing it. Now we just throw away most batteries in the landfill and only recycle the rechargeable ones.

    49. hustler3of4culture3

      What about extracting from recycled and old phones?

    50. João de Carvalho

      Asteroid and Moon mining is still decades away, but we will do that. If pollution is inevitable, better to do it on the Moon than here.

    51. WormholeJim

      There's a lot of info in this that doesn't show in the debate. The rare earth elements, for instance, and hw there are people concerned about China "sitting on most of the wold's availabe deposits" when it in reality is because China is the only producer that is willing be subjected to the environmental consequenses. Thanks for uploading this, it helps put nuance and more facets to the ongoing, rather toxic and two-dimensional debate running circles around the human impact on the planet.

    52. Roy McLean

      Climate change will reduce both the sourcing of these rare elements, but the demand as well... the burning question is whether we’ve reached a tech plateau. Lost Atlantis will be joined by Lost Apple...

    53. OverlyCautiousIndividual

      Lowkey surprised we haven't figured out how to synthesize these elements, or that the focus on doing as such hasn't yet shifted from mining them naturally, but maybe that's just me reading too much scifi?

    54. Jaydaks rules

      WHAT! lighter spark isnt from magnesium :( whole life has been a lie

    55. sinisterLMN

      Sounds like a job for (tears open shirt jacket and tie): “Asteroid Farming Man!”

    56. MegaGouch

      So western countries claim they have stop mining some of these dangerous elements, therefor saving the planet. Instead they just import them from countries who don't protect the environment or workers, and that is somehow ok?

    57. Andre Fouche

      Remember the climate will always change no matter what we do.

    58. Eugene InLaw

      Get to asteroid mining already!

    59. Alex Gee

      thorium cam hardly be considered radioactive, and both thorium and urainium are incredibly good at making energy.

    60. Cj's Bullshittery

      I really like this guy idk why

    61. Karl Tsang

      Guess it's time to turn to the alchemists again.....

    62. SuperAnime4444

      This is why I drop electronics at Best Buy's bins instead of throwing them into the garbage.

    63. psychotikpaisano

      Hmm. Titanium will spark if struck against another piece of itself

    64. Al Rats

      It's criminal that we have constructed a society where the end of life of products are not considered in the design of the product.

    65. Matthew Weisenburger

      Just another reason to travel to other planets

    66. Tonechild

      All of the elements are just made up of electrons and neutrons, so, just grab those and put them together, then you get whatever elements you need. Probably just need a lot of energy, which you can get from nuclear fusion, which by the way probably makes elements too.

      1. Hunter Smith

        Tonechild Prcpek with that is that is nowhere near cost effective. The necessary equipment to do that would cost more than any return you could get.

    67. Don Vergaz

      recycle much

    68. spijkerpoes

      Why no word on planned obsolescence? I'd have no trouble inheriting my parent's laptop if it functioned alright Like a voyager space probe

    69. ᖇᗩ乙0229

      Me, an intellectual: _We still have SUN_

    70. TRR47

      <a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="328">5:28</a> *shots fired

    71. Brynna Wenz

      God I recognize this guy from some old USsel channel but I can’t place it..

    72. Unotch

      Seems like a good time to invade the Congo!

    73. Chris Pierce

      Thanks scishow for depressing me before work..


      I have shares in many if not most of the companies that mine the elements mentioned. Most are money losing propositions that probably will go bankrupt. Losing money for their original shareholders. Picked up for a song and perhaps profitable for some private equity investors.

    75. V364N S7R0N6

      @<a href="#" class="seekto" data-time="447">7:27</a> he claims recycling the metals will help stop climate change...you can't stop the climate, brother.

    76. Darmok

      Two words: *asteroid mining*

    77. The One Minds

      Alchemy is the solution to all the problems listed here

    78. Frukwon 420

      tech companies should pay consumers to recycle their tech

    79. Lakshmi T

      Why are lanthanide series marked two periods up the group?


      Totally unrelated but the host looks so much like Chino Moreno singer from the Deftones! Great video, thanks!