Our plastics are loaded with rare-earth materials, and scientists don’t know why

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Some of the most precious material on earth is lurking in water bottles and other disposable plastics. What’s going on? Praseodymium. Dysprosium. Neodymium. These are the extremely precious, rare-earth materials that are inside every iPhone and similar electronics. To acquire them is not just costly, but has led to incredible levels of environmental destruction . Read Full Story

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The pandemic moved Earth Overshoot Day back. Now can we do it without destroying the economy?

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The day that marks the moment we’ve used up a year of the Earth’s resources is on August 22, the earliest it’s been in years. Our planet has a finite amount of resources, and they only renew so quickly—trees only grow so fast, you can only mine so many metals, there is only so much carbon that can be sequestered by our oceans. We are exhausting these resources before they can be replenished. Each year, the research group Global Footprint Network quantifies this by calculating Earth Overshoot Day, the date by which our demand on nature matches the amount that our ecosystems can renew in an entire year. It’s the day when we’ve used up our annual allotment of Earth’s resources—and it usually comes well before December 31. Read Full Story

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