What Resources Are We Running Out Of On Earth, & How Much Do We Have Left?

Some resources on earth are under more pressure and reaching low levels at faster rates than others.

In this guide, we outline some of the important resources which we might be running out of the quickest, along with estimates of how much of each we have left in terms of years.


What Resources Are We Running Out Of On Earth The Quickest (Or, Are Under Pressure)?

The following are some of the resources that have been identified by some publications as resources we are running out of the quickest, or that are under pressure, according to some sources:



Natural Gas

Phosphorus (estimated 50 to 100 years supply left)


Rare Earth Elements

– theguardian.com





Medical Isotopes



Coffee Beans



Wine Grapes

– businesspundit.com


*Note though – that these are generalisations only.

We wrote in this guide that you have to be specific about resource scarcity estimates, and even then – it’s only an estimate.

Only once an in depth analysis has been done can it be said for certain that a certain resource is running out, over a certain timespan, and in a specific location.

Note also that variables in the future that change may either increase or decrease supply and access to a resource.

If we see a particular resource is consistently declining over time without any potential for increase in supply, or real increase in supply, it might be said that resource is declining.


Remaining Supplies Of Other Key Resources

Of some of the key resources we use on earth, the following are estimations of how many years worth of supply we have of each (these are very rough estimates only, and are subject to many factors – they should not be taken as exact):

Freshwater & Drinking Water

Depends on the city or geographic location as to the amount of freshwater available, and how that freshwater is managed and accessed.

Places like Cape Town have already experienced water shortages due to severe drought and low rainfall, along with increases in human population (among other reasons).

Perth in Western Australia was facing a similar water scarcity situation but managed to implement things such as water desalination amongst other measures to secure drinking water supplies



The world already produces enough food to feed around 10 billion people, even though our current population is 7.7 billion.

Equal distribution of total food supply is an issue.

Future supply of food will be heavily influenced by food waste, availability of cold storage technology for developing countries, our diets, availability of arable land and topsoil, availability of water for agriculture, and other factors



Energy is location specific and depends on the methods of energy production each city uses, as well as other factors such as the development of renewable energy and nuclear energy


Fossil Fuels

Read more about coal, natural gas and oil reserves and years left of supplies in this guide


Agricultural Land & Arable Land

We are already using most of the available arable land in the world at the moment.

There is more land we can use, but whether it’s economically feasible to do so is in question.

Becoming more efficient with out diets and the foods we grow and produce can help



It’s estimated, due to soil erosion and land degradation, we may only have about 60 harvests left, or in other estimates, around 12 years left before we get to below 150mm of topsoil on average (what is considered the minimum by some for adequate agricultural production).

Current average topsoil levels are at around 203mm.

Sustainable farming practices can help restore topsoil, as well as land restoration 


Breathable Air

Oxygen levels produced by phytoplankton might reach dangerous levels by 2100 (if ocean temperature continues to rise).

In terms of air quality and air pollution, there are already cities in the world with hazardous levels of air quality when considering the human health impact they could have


Metals, Precious Metals, & Minerals

You can find links to guides about the supplies of gold, silver, lithium, uranium, and other metals and minerals in the linked guide immediately below


Read more in this guide about whether we will actually run out of the above resources on earth in the future, and what we will do if we do run out.

This guide also talks about the carrying capacity of Earth, which is relevant.



1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2011/oct/31/six-natural-resources-population

2. https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/ticking-timebomb-when-will-the-worlds-natural-resources-run-out/ss-BBMUmxi#image=1

3. http://www.businesspundit.com/resources-running-out/ 

4. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/will-we-run-out-of-resources-on-earth-future-what-will-happen-if-we-do/

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