@ Babalaas - You make a good point about the sustainability of mineral resources, and you have an intriguing perspective on the role of sustainability in current events. This made me want to introduce a point to the discussion. The point that some of the most renewable resources we have are resources we have already mined. Almost all of the minerals that we take from the earth can be re-used, re-processed, and recycled. If humans are truly to be the world’s greatest species we have to outlive those great species that preceded us.
To do this we will have to manage all of our resources with impeccable precision. What good are our cities if we cannot build upon them in a hundred years? What good is our technology if we cannot find the raw materials to make the components? What good is a civilization that cannot feed, protect, and coexist with itself? Maximizing the efficiency and output of all of our resources can mitigate many of our most pressing social issues to date.
In that sense sustainability is still a science of the theoretical. True sustainability is a work in progeress, and has not been achieved yet. For a resource to be sustainable it must be sourced from long-term reserves, used efficiently to its maximum potential, and discarded without causing more damage than can be repaired in the resources life cycle. This is why sustainability is becoming an interdisciplinary science that encompasses all of the most important aspects of the major sciences while trying to learn from the mistakes of society.