The building blocks for everything on Earth are made from 90 different naturally occurring elements.
As Visual Capitalist's Carmen Ang and David Cole-Hailton shows in the graphic below, made by the European Chemical Society (EuChemS), of these 90 different elements, which ones are in abundance and which ones are in serious threat as of 2021.
On the graphic, the area of each element relates to its number of atoms on a logarithmic scale. The color-coding shows whether there’s enough of each element, or whether the element is becoming scarce, based on current consumption levels.
While these elements don’t technically run out and instead transform (except for helium, which rises and escapes from Earth’s atmosphere), some are being used up exceptionally fast, to the point where they may soon become extremely scarce.
One element worth pointing out on the graphic is carbon, which is three different colors: green, red, and dark gray.
Green, because carbon is in abundance (to a fault) in the form of carbon dioxide
Red, because it will soon cause a number of cataphoric problems if consumption habits don’t change
Gray because carbon-based fuels often come from conflict countries
For more elements-related content, check out our channel dedicated to raw materials and the megatrends that drive them, VC Elements.