Originally Posted by Frenetic
My main concern in environmentalism is how we manage clearly limited resources, like copper, or that mineral that is needed to create efficient solar panels that is apparently only found in China (forget its name). And regardless of how much oil is still underground, having cars use alternative forms of energy isn't going to fix the thousands of other products that have oil as a manufacturing ingredient.
Mankind has proven to be pretty good at creating substitutes when the market demands it, but I'm not sure how well we'll fare if we don't prepare for the end of these mass-use resources early.
There are a number of rare earths that are used in many of the devices we use every day..tv's, cellphones, computers etc....and at least one I know of that is only found in China but I can't recall the name. Beyond that, China is stockpiling all of them for the future and driving the prices up. The U.S. and most of western Europe have enviro-guilted and regulated ourselves to the point where we'll be at the mercy of China if we want to keep our modern high tech society running.
edit- the term "rare earth" doesn't neccessarily mean that it isn't plentiful...sometimes just hard to get to.