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没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第1张图片
Image © Finite

下一个可持续发展危机:人类正在使用如此多的沙子,实际上可能已经用完了
The Next Sustainability Crisis: Humans Are Using So Much Sand That We May Actually Run Out

由专筑网缕夕,蒋晖编译

继水和空气之后,沙是世界上消耗最多的自然资源。现代城市的建设离不开沙子。仅在建筑行业,每年约使用250亿吨沙子和砾石。这个数字可能听不太现实,但当你发现身边的一切几乎都由沙组成的时候你会发现,这并不是一个别切实际的数字。
但它快要被用完了。

当你意识到制作混凝土和沥青需要沙子,制造地球上的每一扇窗户需要沙子时,你会发现这是一个可怕的现象。联合国环境规划署发现,从2011年到2013年,仅中国使用的水泥就比美国在整个20世纪使用的水泥还要多。2012年,全世界使用的混凝土数量足以在赤道周围建造一堵高达89英尺 和89英尺厚(27乘27米)的墙。

Sand is the most-consumed natural resource in the world after water and air. Modern cities are built out of it. In the construction industry alone, it is estimated that 25 billion tons of sand and gravel are used every year. That may sound a lot, but it’s not a surprising figure when you consider how everything you’re surrounded with is probably made of the stuff.
But it’s running out.
This is a scary fact to think about once you realize that sand is required to make both concrete and asphalt, not to mention every single window on this planet. The United Nations Environment Programmefound out that from 2011 to 2013, China alone used more cement than the United States had used in the entire 20th century and in 2012, the world used enough concrete to build a wall around the equator that would be 89 feet high and 89 feet thick (27 by 27 meters).

没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第2张图片
Image © Finite

我们很多人都有一个共同的误解,认为沙子是一种无限的资源,但现实并非如此。按照我们使用它的速度,像越南这样的国家,可能会在2020年差不多时候用完(如该国建设部估计的那样)。因为在施工中需要使用特定的沙子,但很不幸得是,沙漠中的沙子大部分都不符合施工需求,因为普通沙子太过于光滑细腻而无法粘合在一起。我们所用的沙子可能需要数年的时间才能形成,而我们目前的消耗量,让它变成不可再生的资源。

这个问题在过去十年左右才被提出。在去年的荷兰设计周期间,Atelier NL举办了关于该问题的研讨会并引起了媒体的关注Atelier NL Nadine Sterk和Lonny van Ryswyck认为:“随着现代世界的城市化进程的不断扩大,对这种平常的资源的需求也在增加”。“然而,沙的挖掘速度比它自身的更新速度还快,它正在从海岸线、河流和海床消失,对环境和人类系统造成灾难性影响。”

Many of us have the common misconception that sand is an infinite resource, but the harsh reality is that it isn't. At the rate we are using it, countries such as Vietnam could run out by as soon as 2020, as estimated by the country’s Ministry of Construction. A specific sand is required for use in construction and, unfortunately, the abundance of sand from the world's deserts is of very little use to us, as the grains are too smooth and fine to bind together. The usable sand we need can take years to form and with our current consumption, it’s just not sustainable.
This issue has only been raised over the last ten years or so. At last year’s Dutch Design Week, Atelier NLheld a symposium in which they discussed the subject and brought it to the attention of the media: "As the urbanization of our modern world expands, so does the need for this unassuming resource," said Atelier NL’s Nadine Sterk and Lonny van Ryswyck. "Yet sand is being excavated at a rate faster than it can renew itself. It is disappearing from shorelines, rivers, and seabeds, causing disastrous effects for both environmental and human systems."

没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第3张图片
Image Courtesy of Atelier NL

随着对沙子的需求持续增长,与之相关的全球性问题也随之增加。这个价值数十亿美元的工业正在造成陆地资源枯竭,沙矿工业转向不利的供应。根据2015 WIRED的文章,生态系统受到的大规模的破坏,在印度尼西亚已有数十个岛屿消失,越南、马来西亚和印度尼西亚等国家都对沙子的出口实施了限制或禁令。

然而,限制沙石出口只会助长火势。 非法采砂吸引了犯罪团伙在黑市上出售这些材料,并且已有无数的生命被作为抵押品为之丧生。除了“沙地黑商”的担忧之外,还有人担心更严格的出口限制措施会导致沙子价格飙升。当然,这并非新现象——我们在其他不可再生的资源上一次又一次地看到了这种模式。

As the demand for sand continues unabated, so do the worldwide problems associated with it. The multibillion-dollar industry is causing onshore sources to become depleted and sand miners are turning to less favorable supplies. Dozens of islands have already vanished in Indonesia, according to a 2015 WIRED article, and the damage to ecosystems has been so vast that countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia have all put restrictions or bans on exports of sand.
However, the restrictions on sand exports are only adding fuel to the fire; illegal sand mining has attracted criminal gangs to sell the material on the black market and countless lives have been lost as collateral. Further to the concerns of the “sand mafia,” are the worries that tighter restrictions on sand exports will cause the price of sand to surge. Of course, this is no new phenomenon—we have seen this pattern again and again with other non-renewable materials.

没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第4张图片
Image Courtesy of Atelier NL

如果我们想要阻止对生态系统和人们生活的进一步破坏,我们需要重新评估我们使用的沙子数量以及它的来源。在21世纪,随着建筑活动更加频繁,沙子的消耗量日益增加,因此几家公司和初创公司开始寻找替代品,使用通常被认为无法使用的“wild sand”。 Atelier NL在去年的荷兰设计周上展示了他们的“在沙漠中看世界”项目,呼吁人们在制造玻璃制品时可研究来自世界各地的沙子样品,最终目标是取消长途进口。结果很简单,不同地区的沙子它们的颜色和纹理都是独一无二的。

If we want to prevent any further damage to ecosystems and to people’s lives, we need to re-evaluate how much sand we are using and where it is coming from. In the 21st century, it is almost impossible to look beyond a world in which our previous sand resources are depleted, so several companies and start-up firms have begun to seek alternatives, using the "wild sand" that would normally be deemed unusable. Atelier NL, who presented their project To See a World in a Grain of Sand at last year’s Dutch Design Week, called upon people to send sand samples from across the world to study the varieties in their compositions when melted into glass, with the ultimate aim of discouraging long-distance imports. The results are simply beautiful, with colors and textures unique to their location.

没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第5张图片
Image © Finite

来自伦敦帝国理工学院的四名学生也一直在利用大量被忽视的“wild sand”沙子。初创公司开发了一种复合材料,名为“Finite”,由沙漠砂制成与住宅砖和住宅混凝土具有相同的强度。然而,与混凝土相比,由于使用有机粘合剂的简单工艺,它的碳含量不到一半,并且具有可重复使用的附加优势——为短期基础设施项目提供环保材料选择。

A group of four students from Imperial College London have also been taking advantage of the abundance of wild sand that is often overlooked. The start-up has developed a composite material, suitably named "Finite," made from desert sand that shares the same strength as housing bricks and residential concrete. However, in comparison to concrete, it has less than half the carbon footprint due to the simple process using organic binders and has the added advantage of being reusable—offering an environmentally friendly material choice for short-term infrastructure projects.

没有了沙子,我们是否还能生存第6张图片
Image © Finite

虽然这两种替代方案都处于发展的早期阶段,但他们希望找到解决该问题的办法。就像地球的其他不可再生资源一样,我们需要改变我们对沙地的看法。所以下次你决定在施工中使用它时,花点时间思考所有的影响,它不仅仅是在地球上的资源,也存在在人们的生活中。

Although both of these alternatives are in the early stages of development, they look to find a solution to this very 21st-century problem. Much like the earth’s other non-renewable resources, we need to change our perspective on sand. So next time you decide to use it in construction, take a moment to think about all of the implications, not just on the planet, but on people’s lives.


出处:本文译自www.archdaily.com/,转载请注明出处。

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