The Problem With Endless Supplies of Resources is That They Don’t Really Exist

The other day, while making my way home I caught a glimpse of Toray’s desalination advertisement.

It was one of those moments that at first I was not sure what I was looking, or the greater meaning, until the very end where the advert cuts out with the ocean in the background and makes reference to it being an “endless resource”.

A message supported by on their website where they say the ocean (through the use of desalination) will provide an endless supply of high-quality potable water (to the world).

Endless?  As in the Aral Sea sense of the word “endless”, or in the venture capital backed cleantech bubble endless?

Either way, this recent advert is just one in another example for me of where the view of “solutions” is pointed in the wrong direction.

That, instead of understanding the value of the resources, and developing systems and pricing structures that put in place the highest measures of efficiency and protection for those resources, we are still accepting of systems that are fundamentally designed to exhaust resources as an acceptable practice.

It is as if the resources we have are a technology in themselves, like your iPhone or Pentium Porcessor, that have a “shelf life” where obsolence is part of a “natural process” where new products are launched.

The problem is once the water, coal, arable land, or rare earth metals are gone, they are gone for good.

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