As the world population reaches 7 billion, many countries regions confront a scarcity of those basic resources essential for human life—namely adequate food and water. More than just humanitarian crises, resource scarcities and conflicts challenge American security interests in strategic regions such as the Middle East and Asia. Scientists and engineers have the skills and technologies necessary to mitigate scarcity, reduce instability, and fight resource security challenges.
Depending on lifestyle and consumption patterns, each person on the planet can generate tons of waste over the course of his or her life. The total amount of trash skyrockets with the farm, mine, and industrial wastes generated during the production of food, power, and consumer items.
“Working with Waste,” the 10 August special issue of Science, highlights the fact that trash can often be turned into treasure—a feedstock that the human race can’t afford to overlook as a burgeoning world population tries to use (and reuse) its resources more efficiently.
Scientists must sharpen their message and do more to engage the public as they seek to influence policy on issues such as climate change, representatives of AAAS and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre said in report issued 3 July at the Euroscience Open Forum 2010 (ESOF2010) in Turin, Italy.