The Deadly Global War for Sand With Journalist Vince Beiser
- 11-05-2016 19:30 - 21:00
- AOTU Studio, Beijing
A discussion about the most important and yet most overlooked commodity in the world: sand. We use more of this humble natural resource than any other except water and air. Sand is the main ingredient of our cities. Every concrete building, every paved road, every window, every computer screen, every silicon chip, and much more is made from sand.
And incredibly, we are starting to run out of it.
Though the supply might seem endless, usable sand is a finite resource. (Desert sand, shaped by wind rather than water, generally doesn’t work for construction.) The worldwide urbanization boom of recent years—all those mushrooming megacities, from Lagos to Shanghai—is devouring sand in unprecedented quantities. Humans now use more than 40 billion tons of sand and gravel every year. China alone has used more sand in the last few years than the United States did in the entire 20th century. There’s so much demand that riverbeds and beaches around the world are being stripped bare, ocean beds denuded, and landscapes devastated. Governments are cracking down in response—which in turn has spawned a worldwide black market in sand, complete with violent gangs battling for market share. In China and elsewhere across Asia, people are being imprisoned, tortured and murdered over sand.
About the Speaker
Vince Beiser is an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles.
He has exposed conditions in California's harshest prisons, trained with troops bound for Iraq, ridden with the first responders to earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal, and hunted down other stories from around the world for publications including Wired, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Harper's, The Atlantic, California Sunday, The Nation, Mother Jones, Playboy and Rolling Stone.
Vince's work has been honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Columbia, Medill and Missouri Graduate Schools of Journalism, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Mental Health Association, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and many other institutions. He has also twice been part of a team that won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, the magazine industry's highest honor.
Vince went inside the world of illegal sand miners in India last year for Wired magazine (read The Deadly Global War for Sand), and is now working on a book about this critical but little-known issue.
About The Beijing Energy Network (BEN)
The Beijing Energy Network (BEN) is a grassroots organization help understand and tackle China’s energy and environmental challenges across a wide range of sectors. BEN organizes Beijing Energy & Environmental Roundtables, a regular speaker series that areopen to anyone who is interested. We ask that our speaker's remarks remain off the record unless otherwise permitted.
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This is not a Green Initiatives-organized event. To register for this event please contact the organizers directly.