We're Running Out of These Elements - Here's How

Phones, TVs, solar panels, and electric car batteries are all made of some rare and unusual elements. As our modern world creates more and more of these technologies, will things go from "rare" to "nonexistent" and what will we do then?
Hosted by: Michael Aranda
SciShow has a spinoff podcast! It's called SciShow Tangents. Check it out at www.scishowtangents.org
Support SciShow by becoming a patron on Patreon: www.patreon.com/scishow
Huge thanks go to the following Patreon supporters for helping us keep SciShow free for everyone forever:
Eric Jensen, Matt Curls, Sam Buck, Christopher R Boucher, Avi Yashchin, Adam Brainard, Greg, Alex Hackman, Sam Lutfi, D.A. Noe, Piya Shedden, Scott Satovsky Jr, Charles Southerland, Patrick D. Ashmore, charles george, Kevin Bealer, Chris Peters
Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook: scishow
Twitter: scishow
Tumblr: scishow.tumblr.com
Instagram: thescishow




  • carbon naNOTUUUUUBES!

    Rachel LosaccoRachel Losacco49 minutes ago
  • ...or we could mine everything in space and not give up anything, which sounds more like past human behavior to me.

    Adam KelleyAdam KelleyHour ago
  • We’re also running out of the elements of surprise and originality in the USproject comment section. Every other top liked comment is a meme used a thousand times over

    Good ByeGood Bye2 hours ago
  • were getting to the point were we can mine some of this stuff from space. in short pulling down to earth what we need. tho this is likely a few decades of it likely to happen with in most of ower life times.

    Mad MachanicestMad Machanicest6 hours ago
  • Somebody might consider buying a landfill for future possibilities of using them as mines.

    Jeremy Heartriter2.0Jeremy Heartriter2.07 hours ago
  • Great info. However, the extreme jump-cut editing is massively annoying. All the presenters sound exactly alike which is also annoying. I would rather see a little personality come through. I can't continue watching this video.

    quayscenesquayscenes7 hours ago
  • Semiconductors and rare metals can be recycled, remember one you a resource it doesn't just simply disappear. Unless it's a fuel that obviously isn't a mere element or doesn't undergo radioactive decay. So to sum it all up we still have plenty of resources the problem being that reusing them isn't very profitable.

    D2005 Cre 27D2005 Cre 278 hours ago
  • asteroid mining

    kumoyukikumoyuki8 hours ago
  • Elements May becoming scarce on Earth for that is why maybe we should Outsource towards the stars and look at some of the asteroids in the Kuiper belt I'm sure there's a whole bunch of elements out there that we have no idea of and a whole lot of fun that we need so food for thought

    John RaffaelliJohn Raffaelli9 hours ago
  • So Thanos was right all along. Our resources are finite.

    JR BoydJR Boyd9 hours ago
  • i think the increase in price will increase the number of places willing to extract it in the end, so it is somewhat self regulating in the short term.

    YishayOfStormwindYishayOfStormwind10 hours ago
  • Aren't we supposed to run out of gasoline in 1999? Oh wait what

    RMMRRMMR12 hours ago
  • Here's my expert opinion which I never bothered sharing before, but will be sharing in the comment section of each science channel's version of this video over the next few weeks.

    Logan RevesbyLogan Revesby12 hours ago
  • Calls it Indium and then immediately says aluminum... AluminIUM... Can't you morons see that already?!?!?!

    Rowan StreeterRowan Streeter13 hours ago
  • When I was a kid in early 80s, teachers at school taught us that we were running out of oil. Now look at the world. The world is still full of oil. Obviously those fake teachers had nothing but arrogance to predict the future. What do those scientists know about the future? They do nothing but fear mongering for their own interests.

    H. KimH. Kim14 hours ago
  • these videos are great thanks for researching

    Shashank SamShashank Sam15 hours ago
  • You lost me at electric cars and climate change. Lol... You sound like a good tard influencer... I mean shill.

    bryphi77bryphi7715 hours ago
  • We still have a lot of sarcasm

    Being HumanBeing Human17 hours ago
  • It’s called space

    Sub To pewdiepie & mrbeastSub To pewdiepie & mrbeast17 hours ago
  • Let’s have machines do it all problems solved

    THE BUDDHA 420THE BUDDHA 42017 hours ago
  • So congo is next to recieve us democracy

    Pedja VukmirovicPedja Vukmirovic18 hours ago
  • The law of conservation of mass dictates that we will never run out of any elements. They may become difficult to obtain, but they will never disappear.

    Robert TheisenRobert Theisen19 hours ago
  • They haven't used arsenic in pressure treatment wood in the United States for about 20 years.

    JonJon19 hours ago
  • Just like beer bottles and cans, a recycle fee should be placed into the product retail value. When the device is returned, the premium will be returned. Those who could care less about a premium will still throw away their junk, but there will be an incentive for others to clean that up for profit. Add a refundable $100 to a phone and there won't be many phones escaping the recycling industry.

    James RyanJames Ryan20 hours ago
  • Asteroid mining?

    DedaBr1DedaBr121 hour ago
  • Thanks to Atlas Pro and channels dating farther back, this isn't news.

    Nekdo BrezIdentiteteNekdo BrezIdentitete21 hour ago
  • The crazy part is everybody tells us to reuse, recycle and re-purpose, yet every day these minerals are just thrown away and NOBODY recycles them at all!!! THEN there are guys like me, who every body gives me crap because I drive a 20 year old V8 powered truck.....but what they DO NOT UNDERSTAND IS, I reuse, recycle and re-purpose WAY MORE than your average person does in a single lifetime and I have been doing it since I was 14 years old and I am now 55 years old!!! And thus explains why I drive a 20 year old truck that doesn't LOOK pretty, BUT it runs like it did when it was new and I do upgrades and mods to it to make it "better than new" as I test new methods on it all the time!! In other words a lot of people "talk the talk" about how to "save" and "conserve" where I actually DO!!! And NOT for the reason you think.....you see for me it isn't about "saving the planet" as much is "I am flat broke and cheap"!!! So when I see busted up lumber or a broken computer I don't see "junk" laying there.....I see things I could build with it!!! And like I say I have done this for more than 40 years of my life.....so take that environmentalists that call me a "gross polluter"!!! I do more to recycle and reuse than anybody I KNOW!!!!!

    Greg BenwellGreg Benwell21 hour ago
  • We have to redirect Asteroids towards earth and then mine the impact craters. Or back to a landline.

    John SmithJohn Smith21 hour ago
  • I personally disassemble old HDD's and distribute each piece individually for scrap. I sell all the electric wiring (no matter whether it's gold, silver or copper) as well as the aluminum and the neodymium magnets. That's a win for us as a civilization, a win for the climate and a win for me cause I get to make some money out of spending some of my spare time taking hard drives apart.

    ArterexiusArterexius21 hour ago
  • Why not use alon as trensperent screens?

    MrYerak5MrYerak522 hours ago
  • Mining I N *S P A C E*

    Bearcat BenBearcat Ben23 hours ago
  • Oh gee... Recycling was the FIRST thing that popped in my mind before even watching the rest of the video...

    Holden SaaringHolden SaaringDay ago
  • Microsoft is already experimenting with glass for storing data

    AshruneAshruneDay ago
  • I hope one day we will be able to mine asteroids, or extract natural resources from other planets.

    General ZubbisGeneral ZubbisDay ago
  • This is one of the most compelling reasons why we must move out into space- new resources. Metals, in particular, end up over time in salts and residues that are unrecoverable on the ocean floor. So it’s compelling to find new deposits or our technological world gradually deteriorates, and with no means of rebuilding.

    rico567rico567Day ago
  • Appealing to science is fine, but be guided by the Word. In Genesis3, God commands Adam to make his living scratching the earth. A blessing and a curse. There are plenty of minerals in the earth, if Leftists quit blocking access? Clean yes, but dig.

    Tom NoybTom NoybDay ago
  • Stepping back from the hi-tec focus of this, they could have mentioned Phosphorus. There are various estimates of when the easily mined phosphate rich rock in the western sahara will be exhausted. Yes, that's correct: Phosphorus as in Phosphate as in fertilizer as in food, the Green Revolution. Personally I'd rather eat than have a smart phone to play stupid games on.

    Jon SwaffieldJon SwaffieldDay ago
  • "Ant-tim-moany"? Really? Where do they find these people? And we aren't running out since these elements don't leave the Earth - they simply get harder to find in more concentrated forms.

    Mike MondanoMike MondanoDay ago
  • Diamond sword to major steve

    Girom Christian CalicaGirom Christian CalicaDay ago
  • anarchy duh. im going to kill you & you & you & you & then you & you & you & probably get be killed in one of the processes while being successful at some or most in Killing.

    Wolfreign ValenfordWolfreign ValenfordDay ago
  • How do you recycle Helium? Isn't it lost forever once it's in the atmosphere?

    SaltpeterTaffySaltpeterTaffyDay ago
  • this is why asteroid mining will be important in the near future.

    Aaron EcuyerAaron EcuyerDay ago
  • 1st off "Emissions" don't cause climate change, BUT, i hear that in the USA, "SAID EMISSIONS" cause crusty socks....

    Andrew DillonAndrew DillonDay ago
  • Nuclear energy is way better

    Jakey PooohJakey PooohDay ago
  • we should outlaw the selling of smart tech to the 3rd world and save it for ourselves

    007kingifrit007kingifritDay ago
    • @John Smith sounds right to me!

      007kingifrit007kingifrit20 hours ago
    • But we will give them a $1 hour to mine our arsenic reserves.

      John SmithJohn Smith21 hour ago

    Aaa AaaAaa AaaDay ago
    • Its 10,000 per gram to ship in space. If the moon was made of Gold it would cost $15,000 an onze to go get a $1000 an once product.

      John SmithJohn Smith21 hour ago
  • We are running out or we are not. Your title and what you say does not align.

    Hobo AquaticsHobo AquaticsDay ago
  • Japanese are already making Olympic medals from old electronics. Of course, gold, silver and copper aren't in the rare metal list here but every country should be Japan on this issue.

    Catherine MaCatherine MaDay ago
  • Investments have been made to restart mineing and extracting of rare metals in the U.S. but china is ramping up supply and dumping it on the market to keep prices low. Just like dji did to every domestic drone maker in the America. Will this happen again??

    The RamThe RamDay ago
  • As long as you brought up "China" and then "recovering plastic from a milk jug"... www.statista.com/chart/12211/the-countries-polluting-the-oceans-the-most/

    Drive-By TrollDrive-By TrollDay ago
  • This is why I chose to build my own cell phone out of Legos.

    northerniltreenortherniltreeDay ago
  • Cry some more please

    Range RangeRange RangeDay ago
  • Said the same thing about fossil fules

    xxmyyoursxx123xxmyyoursxx123Day ago
  • you lost my respect by saying that recycling rare earths from discarded electronics would 'be a win for stopping climate change'. climate change has been going on since the earth formed, and people aren't going to stop it. please, stop your 'climate panic' pandemic. climate has always been changing you effing moron, and your little "sci show' logo is a poor disguise

    Terry SommersTerry SommersDay ago
  • we´re running out of beautiful men, like you!

    antisony2008antisony2008Day ago
  • Phytomining! Traffic trees to uptake CO

    TaxPayingContributorTaxPayingContributorDay ago
  • 8:58 and buy only the best models and not the cheap ones, since it will work and be supported longer.

    Denys KornevDenys KornevDay ago
  • Bad news about DRC since Russia is going to make a “friendship” with Africa.

    Denys KornevDenys KornevDay ago
  • Time to strip mine the moon

    ThraxThraxDay ago
  • If we're running out of Helium, why can I buy it for cheap at any Walmart or party store????

    janey0317janey0317Day ago
    • @Keallei Exactly! And we only have a finite supply of Helium

      janey0317janey0317Day ago
    • janey0317 its a real problem and I wish it would be stopped for recreational use. Nobody NEEDS a floating balloon.

      KealleiKealleiDay ago