Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age
Yale University Press
A natural resource strategist investigates the growing global demand for rare metals and what it means to the environment and our future
Our future hinges on a set of elements that few of us have even heard of. In this surprising and revealing book, David S. Abraham unveils what rare metals are and why our electronic gadgets, the most powerful armies, and indeed the fate of our planet depend on them. These metals have become the building blocks of modern society; their properties are now essential for nearly all our electronic, military, and “green” technologies. But their growing use is not without environmental, economic, and geopolitical consequences.
Abraham traces these elements’ hidden paths from mines to our living rooms, from the remote hills of China to the frozen Gulf of Finland, providing vivid accounts of those who produce, trade, and rely on rare metals. He argues that these materials are increasingly playing a significant role in global affairs, conferring strength to countries and companies that can ensure sustainable supplies.
Just as oil, iron, and bronze revolutionized previous eras, so too will these metals. The challenges this book reveals, and the plans it proposes, make it essential reading for our rare metal age.
David S. Abraham is a natural resource strategist who currently directs the Technology, Rare and Electronics Materials Center. His writing has appeared in the
New York Times and the
Los Angeles Times.