September 2017

Sept. 7, 2017

Sand, spanning miles of beaches, carpeting vast oceans and deserts, is a visual metaphor for limitless resources. Yet researchers in this week’s journal Science seize another metaphor –  sand in an hourglass, marking time running out.

Sand is the literal foundation of urban development across the globe, a key ingredient of concrete, asphalt, glass, and electronics. It is cheap and easily extracted. Scientists in the United States and Germany say that easy access has bred a careless understanding of the true global costs of sand mining and consumption.