Sand Scarcity – In Search of Solutions
In 2014, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) put the sand crisis on the agenda with its report ‘Sand, rarer than one thinks’. It showed that sand is the second most used natural resource after water. Its use was multiplied by three in the last two decades to reach 40-50 billions metric tons per year. This is enough to build a wall of 27 meter high and 27 meter wide all around the world every year. Put in another way: right now every person on the planet ‘uses’ 18 kilograms a day! This has significant environmental impacts, although general awareness regarding these is still low. How should we deal with the rising scarcity of sand and the destructive effects of sand extraction?
On 7 May 2019, UNEP launched the report ‘Sand and sustainability: Finding new solutions for environmental governance of global sand resources’, in which possible solutions are gathered and presented.
Professor dr. Pascal Peduzzi is author of both UNEP reports. As the Director of GRID-Geneva, a center within the Science Division of UNEP, he leads a team of scientific researchers to quantify the effects of global change on population vulnerability and impacts on ecosystems.
We are very happy professor Peduzzi is willing to visit Wageningen to present the main findings of the latest UNEP report.
About Pascal Peduzzi
Pascal Peduzzi is the director of GRID-Geneva at the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), a team of 20 scientists who are transforming data into information to support decision-making processes. He holds a PhD and an MSc in Environmental Sciences, with specialization in remote sensing and GIS. He is coordinating the implementation of the World Environment Situation Room, a data platform for monitoring the state of the earth environment?. As a part-time professor at the University of Geneva, Pascal Peduzzi teaches courses on environmental sciences, modelling disaster risk, as well as on sustainable development.
His main areas of research are links between global environment, change and risk. He was one of the selected lead authors for the IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events, and was leading research on Global Risk Analysis for UN Environment, UNISDR and UNDP. He is also interested in computation of planetary boundaries, especially to bring this as a tool for monitoring country progresses. One of his specific interests is Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (EcoDRR). Pascal Peduzzi is also involved in identifying emerging environmental Issues, as the initiator of the Environment Alert Bulletin, and co-coordinator of the UN Environment Foresight report on Emerging Issues.
He is the author of various scientific publications and provided numerous conferences to governments, media and the general public to raise awareness on the consequences of human impacts on the environment.
About The World of Sand (21-28 May)
Sand. Ordinary and incredibly diverse. Beautiful. Omnipresent and becoming scarce at the same time. In this theme week, Studium Generale explores the many aspects of this versatile material. What it looks like, how it sounds, how we source it, what you can do with it and, especially, its growing scarcity and the consequences this has.
Did you know that sand is the most consumed raw material on earth after fresh water? And that your smartphone wouldn’t exist without it? It is used for buildings, infrastructure, glass, computers, cosmetics and detergents – omnipresent things in our daily lives. With visions of deserts in your mind it might be hard to imagine, but did you ever realize that sand is a finite source, and actually becoming scarcer? And that the increasing pressure on this resource may have serious implications, ranging from sand conflicts and ecological destruction, to compromised food production and flood protection?
Delve into the everyday and at the same time unknown world of sand, and explore its special nature and role from various angles. Admire its beauty and diversity, and find out why sand has so many different uses. Discover where we get it from and how we extract it. Learn about the social and ecological effects of sand extraction, and discuss what role science and policy could play in promoting sustainable sand use.