Report

Metal Minerals Scarcity: A Call For Managed Austerity and the Elements of Hope

March 10th 2009 - 12:00
 If we keep following the ruling paradigm of sustained global economic growth, we will soon run out of cheap and plentiful metal minerals of most types. Their extraction rates will no longer follow demand. The looming metal minerals crisis is being caused primarily by the unfolding energy crisis. Conventional mitigation strategies including recycling and
substitution are necessary but insufficient without a different way of managing our world’s
resources. The stakes are too high to gamble on timely and adequate future technological
breakthroughs to solve our problems. The precautionary principle urges us to take immediate action to prevent or at least postpone future shortages. As soon as possible we should impose a co-ordinated policy of managed austerity, not only to address metal minerals shortages but other interrelated resource constraints (energy, water, food) as well. The framework of managed austerity enables a transition towards application (wherever possible) of the ‘elements of hope’: the most abundant metal (and non-metal) elements. In this way we can save the many critical metal elements for essential applications where complete substitution with the elements of hope is not viable. We call for a transition from growth in tangible possessions and instant, short-lived luxuries towards growth in consciousness, meaning and sense of purpose, connection with nature and reality and good stewardship for the sake of next generations.

Michel Rademaker is the Deputy Director of HCSS. He has a degree in Transport and Logistics, which he obtained at the University of Tilburg. He has fifteen years of hands-on experience as an officer in The Royal Netherlands Army, where he held various military operational and staff posts and also served a term in former Yugoslavia. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Rademaker went on to work at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as a project and program manager and senior policy advisor for ten years.