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

  • Published: 07 November 2019
  • 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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Comments • 1 696

  • Anibal Fermaint Gonzalez

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

    • 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.

      • hustler3of4culture3
        hustler3of4culture3  13 ore fa

        What about extracting from recycled and old phones?

        • João de Carvalho
          João de Carvalho  Giorno fa

          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.

          • WormholeJim
            WormholeJim  Giorno fa

            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.

            • Roy McLean
              Roy McLean  Giorno fa

              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...

              • Scarleto
                Scarleto  Giorno fa

                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?

                • Jaydaks rules
                  Jaydaks rules  Giorno fa

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

                  • sinisterLMN
                    sinisterLMN  Giorno fa

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

                    • MegaGouch
                      MegaGouch  2 giorni fa

                      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?

                      • Andre Fouche
                        Andre Fouche  2 giorni fa

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

                        • Jebediah Clang
                          Jebediah Clang  2 giorni fa

                          Nomophones b!tches. Get used to it. Hahaha

                          • Eugene InLaw
                            Eugene InLaw  2 giorni fa

                            Get to asteroid mining already!

                            • SPOOKS
                              SPOOKS  3 giorni fa

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

                              • Cj's Bullshittery
                                Cj's Bullshittery  3 giorni fa

                                I really like this guy idk why

                                • Abby Leonard
                                  Abby Leonard  3 giorni fa

                                  Basically stop using electronics or your killing the planet and causing global warmins

                                  • Karl Tsang
                                    Karl Tsang  3 giorni fa

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

                                    • SuperAnime4444
                                      SuperAnime4444  4 giorni fa

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

                                      • psychotikpaisano
                                        psychotikpaisano  4 giorni fa

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

                                        • Al Rats
                                          Al Rats  4 giorni fa

                                          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.

                                          • Matthew Weisenburger
                                            Matthew Weisenburger  4 giorni fa

                                            Just another reason to travel to other planets

                                            • Tonechild
                                              Tonechild  5 giorni fa

                                              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.

                                              • El Asesino
                                                El Asesino  5 giorni fa

                                                recycle much

                                                • spijkerpoes
                                                  spijkerpoes  5 giorni fa

                                                  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

                                                  • ᖇᗩ乙0229
                                                    ᖇᗩ乙0229  5 giorni fa

                                                    Me, an intellectual: _We still have SUN_

                                                    • TRR47
                                                      TRR47  5 giorni fa

                                                      5:28 *shots fired

                                                      • Brynna Wenz
                                                        Brynna Wenz  5 giorni fa

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

                                                        • Unotch
                                                          Unotch  5 giorni fa

                                                          Seems like a good time to invade the Congo!

                                                          • Chris Pierce
                                                            Chris Pierce  5 giorni fa

                                                            Thanks scishow for depressing me before work..

                                                            • STEPHAN FEIBISH
                                                              STEPHAN FEIBISH  5 giorni fa

                                                              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.

                                                              • Steve Mclean
                                                                Steve Mclean  6 giorni fa

                                                                When we run out of helium., that is when we all die.

                                                                • Lorenzo Robles
                                                                  Lorenzo Robles  6 giorni fa

                                                                  @7:27 he claims recycling the metals will help stop climate change...you can't stop the climate, brother.

                                                                  • Darmok
                                                                    Darmok  6 giorni fa

                                                                    Two words: *asteroid mining*

                                                                    • The One Minds
                                                                      The One Minds  6 giorni fa

                                                                      Alchemy is the solution to all the problems listed here

                                                                      • Frukwon 420
                                                                        Frukwon 420  6 giorni fa

                                                                        tech companies should pay consumers to recycle their tech

                                                                        • Lakshmi T
                                                                          Lakshmi T  6 giorni fa

                                                                          Why are lanthanide series marked two periods up the group?

                                                                          • DEATHWISH -CHRIS
                                                                            DEATHWISH -CHRIS  6 giorni fa

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

                                                                            • Ben Johnson
                                                                              Ben Johnson  6 giorni fa

                                                                              Global warming is a con, by the way.

                                                                              • Hans Hoerdemann
                                                                                Hans Hoerdemann  6 giorni fa

                                                                                What's wrong with his ear lobes?

                                                                                • Daniel Law
                                                                                  Daniel Law  6 giorni fa

                                                                                  I look forward to mining asteroid.

                                                                                  • Harry Helen
                                                                                    Harry Helen  6 giorni fa

                                                                                    Damn. This means we can’t make the Death Star. I’m so sad.

                                                                                    • Armando Flores
                                                                                      Armando Flores  6 giorni fa

                                                                                      Unlimited universe and we're running out of elements. Smh

                                                                                      • Red Jew
                                                                                        Red Jew  3 giorni fa

                                                                                        The universe is running out because the population is growing and we are using too much resources.

                                                                                        • Rose Gott
                                                                                          Rose Gott  6 giorni fa

                                                                                          Thank you, handsome science guy!

                                                                                          • Adam Salazar
                                                                                            Adam Salazar  6 giorni fa


                                                                                            • Cole Chapman
                                                                                              Cole Chapman  6 giorni fa

                                                                                              Obviously the solution is to print out more elements duh.

                                                                                              • mikitz
                                                                                                mikitz  6 giorni fa

                                                                                                I used to mining anti-materia. The mine blew up, once I materialized the proceeds.

                                                                                                • 989533234564
                                                                                                  989533234564  6 giorni fa

                                                                                                  assuming we cant just get them from space in the future once the price is high enough there will be people willing to mine in dangerous conditions to extract the materials even if they try to make doing so illegal, if the price of arsenic was say $200/kg and there were deposits near me with around 1kg of arsenic per ton of ore mined id be right out there with a pick axe and a gas mask id like to think im a decent enough chemist so unless the extraction of the metal requires electrolysis at 2000k ish like with something like sodium or aluminium i could probably do the extraction on a small scale too can't be much worse than working with mercury or lead.

                                                                                                  • Marco Cardin
                                                                                                    Marco Cardin  6 giorni fa

                                                                                                    Metals can be recycled but it's almost impossible to recover helium and that's a huge trouble!

                                                                                                    • tentimesful
                                                                                                      tentimesful  6 giorni fa

                                                                                                      China has probably has the most minerals as their prices stay low, in made in China products... Samsung and others are bringing products that cost 1000+ dollar smartphones , which is a joke... But in real life we will run out of things we can't make out of nothing, iron wolf ertz, uranium, oil etc... World should keep hold on what brings us to forward without those minerals and fossils...

                                                                                                      • oliver franklin
                                                                                                        oliver franklin  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                        The future is bleak for your kids

                                                                                                        • Jimme2020
                                                                                                          Jimme2020  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                          Asteroid mining would solve all the problems......

                                                                                                          • Betty Hancock
                                                                                                            Betty Hancock  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                            Wonder how much of these things are on the moon? Or asteroids

                                                                                                            • Betty Hancock
                                                                                                              Betty Hancock  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                              I don't think we're going to have to worry about all this electronics and solar panels much longer. Hopefully.

                                                                                                              • Rich
                                                                                                                Rich  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                Graphene will be the material of the 21 century.

                                                                                                                • Mr Monstah
                                                                                                                  Mr Monstah  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                  Graphene is like really easy to make though

                                                                                                                  • Ravi Rajyaguru
                                                                                                                    Ravi Rajyaguru  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                    Thanos did have a point though.

                                                                                                                    • Lobster Johnson
                                                                                                                      Lobster Johnson  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                      So this is what the Incubus singer is up to these days

                                                                                                                      • Gitana Maldita
                                                                                                                        Gitana Maldita  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                        Good motivation for asteroid mining?

                                                                                                                        • Randy Wiggins
                                                                                                                          Randy Wiggins  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                          Radio Shack had a battery return policy alleged to be recycled but bet they were tossed. Recycling only makes sense in bulk . Car tires still a problem.

                                                                                                                          • Wayne Shilcock
                                                                                                                            Wayne Shilcock  7 giorni fa

                                                                                                                            China owns most of the rare minerals, so war with China then.