Environment
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17 Things the World Is Running Out Of

Updated October 18, 2018 82.3k views17 items

Rapid population growth, climate change, high demand for food, manufacturing, and the economic crisis have left the world in dire shortage of a number of critical things. Some of these, like water, soil, and antibiotics, are things we can't live out. Others, like bacon, bourbon, and coffee are things we could actually live without, but the survivors would envy the dead. Here are also the cutest animals that are endangered and foods we love that might be gone soon

The importance of conserving resources and reusing when possible has never been higher. While the bad economy is starting to abate, we're just starting to see the effects of global climate change. And our insatiable appetite for stuff, particularly electronics, is having a profound impact on the cost of materials. Sometimes, these shortages can be reversed, such as when high demand naturally goes down, or better alternatives are introduced. But other times, they just get worse.

Be prepared to horde everything on this list. Because if it's not going away, it's getting more expensive and harder to get.

Photo:
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    Sardines have always been a fickle fish, prone to booms and crashes. But recent overfishing, temperature changes in the Pacific Ocean, and a lack of reproduction have put the entire population at risk. A recent fishing season in Western Canada brought back zero fish.
  • Photo: flickr / CC0
    6

    Burial Space

    Not to be glib, but some of these shortages have the potential to cause a great many deaths. Sadly, room to bury our dead is another thing we're running out of.

    Before the Industrial Revolution, the deceased were usually buried in family or church plots. But with urbanization came larger graveyards. Now there's less land for new cemeteries, and many existing ones will be full within decades.

    Alternatives include multi-story underground vaults, reuse of graves, cremation, or just doing it Black Death style and throwing bodies into pits.

  • Photo: Heartlover1717 / Flickr
    7

    Helium

    How can something that's all around us be in short supply? Thank a combination of increased demand and government meddling. In the recent past, the US government had a supply of a billion cubic meters. In 1996, they started selling it off, which depressed prices. Then they stopped selling it. . . which shot prices up.

    Not only that, but we're running out of it - meaning it has to be either recycled or captured from wells - both of which are extremely expensive.
  • Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY
    8

    Tequila

    A 2007 virus wiped out 20% of blue agave plants in Mexico. Then farmers began burning their agave fields to replace it with corn, which is much cheaper and easier to grow. As a result, prices exploded by 500% and supplies crashed. Independent farmers are picking up the slack, but it takes over a decade for a blue agave plant to bloom, so tequila is going to be rarer and more expensive for a while.