Eric PIRARD / Full Professor

University of Liege / Geological Engineer – Mineral Resources- Geostatistics

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We live on a planet with limited resources in terms of minerals, and metals, but despite a lot of alarming messages there are still plenty of resources to be discovered.
So my main concern is not so much related to a possible shortage in a foreseeable future, but to our unsustainable “take-make-dispose” behaviour.
I wish we will be remembered in the future as the generation that really initiated a more circular economy and not as the BIC generation.
Therefore we need to tackle the challenges of the circular economy in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way.
We will need to mine more metals to make the e-mobility and the energetic transition a reality, this will require innovation. Even more important, we will need to completely redesign our products to make them last longer, be easily repairable and recyclable at a minimal energetic cost. As consumers we will need to slow down the loop by cherishing vintage products and refraining from buying new ones.
In my way of living I try to be as moderate as possible in heating (pulling on a sweater if necessary), I refrain from abusing of water resources (taking a shower every two days is reasonable), I try to avoid non-indispensable options such as air conditioning and fragile electronics in cars, I fight against hyper packing of goods, I make use of collaborative websites to find ways to repair equipments, etc.
My car is now 10 years old and has a small petrol engine. I will keep it as long as possible!
If we want to achieve a more circular economy, we definitely need to take strong political decisions banning some products which are fragile, impossible to repair, contain embedded electronics or composite materials which are not mandatory. We need to impose taxes on non-removable batteries, non-replacable consumables, etc. I call this a degraded value tax (as opposed to the classical VAT!). The functional economy seems to be a very promising model to slow down consumption and dispersion of resources.
Again the main problem is not the availability of resources, but the way we use them.
Our planet is like a big play dough game…if we mix up all colours (resources) it will be the end of the world. Let’s delay the entropy (or should I write anthropy ;-).

Originally posted 2019-04-19 00:53:01.