I love nature! Taking care of our world is of utmost importance!
How can we mine less so we don't keep destroying nature?
Hmm.....can I recycle this aluminum can? Can it be reused so we don't have to mine for more aluminum?
Sally is an environmentalist. As a scientist she cares about the natural world. But she knows that as populations increase, humans are using up a lot of those resources. Eventually we could run out. What would we do then?
Wow! Look at all that plastic in the ocean. I wonder if we could replace that plastic with something that's biodegradable?
But Sally is also a mining engineer. She knows we need to mine for the resources we value. Her job is to help mining companies lessen or eliminate damage done to the environment during mining. She also helps them to reclaim the area when mining is complete. However, if populations could be more careful about how they use resources, mining wouldn't need to happen as much. So how do we make sure we don't run out of nonrenewable resources?
Hi Chef Francois! Can I replace my metal fork with one that's biodegradable?
Oui Oui! Here's one made out of sugar.
One solution when it comes to mining is to reuse, reduce and recycle items made from materials that are mined for. Such as plastics and metals. Reusing these items means less demand for resources. If you can't reuse it then recycle it. That way recycling companies can reuse the materials in the item.
I'm sure this rock has molybdenum in it, but no need to mine for this if we just reuse molybdenum from old electronics.
Another solution is to replace items made from mined resources with other materials. For example, did you know that the plastic we use daily is made out of coal, natural gas and oil? Not only do we mine for it, but we could run out of those resources for energy. Plus it takes 450 years for plastic to degrade. A lot of it ends up in the ocean.
So what if we replaced plastic with materials that are biodegradable? For example, what if we replaced plastic forks, spoons and knives with cutlery made out of sugar cane? It decomposes within 80-90 days. You can also make them out of rice and wheat flour. This would further reduce our need for oil, coal and natural gas which we use for energy.
As an engineer and a miner, I know that we can all do a better job when it comes to sustainability. Prolonging the availability of our resources through reducing, reusing, recycling and rethinking what we make items out not only helps us, it helps our environment.