The definition of biosphere is the ecosystem comprising the entire earth—its crust, waters, atmosphere and the living organisms that inhabit it and support life. According to the population clock, the number of people in the world today is about 7.7 billion and growing continuously. By 2050, it’s projected to be 9.8 billion, compared to 2.5 billion in 1950. We are in a continual contest with world demographics to ensure that food, water, shelter and natural resources—the essential elements to live and thrive—are available for us all. Demographics drive sustainability, and science is the solution to make sustainability happen.
A key to sustainability is migrating from non-renewable to renewable assets. Some things are in fact non-renewable with only a finite quantity available. When that’s the case, as with all natural resources, the mandate is to find, extract and use them safely and responsibly.
Energy has already started making the shift to renewables, with science supporting it. New technologies help to identify resource predictability—gathering data, utilizing artificial intelligence and analysis to reliably infer what is below the surface with pinpoint accuracy. It’s a precision process of imagining what is fundamentally invisible.
Once a resource is found, it must be extracted as responsibly and safely as possible. Science is making it possible for responsible enterprises to take only what’s needed in the most efficient, least wasteful way possible. Less waste in extraction is supported by less waste in manufacturing through new additive manufacturing techniques. 3D-printing uses the minimal amount of material required compared with destructive manufacturing techniques that remove unwanted material and create waste.
Today there is a trend toward frugality in making a product, generating a smaller environmental footprint. We strive to take less from nature and give back more. Besides the environmental benefits, sustainability is good business, too. According to global economic studies, companies that take environmental responsibility seriously have outperformed in their markets by 16% over a three-year period.
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