On Wednesday, at the "Making Nature Useless," seminar sponsored by the D.C.-based think tank Resources for the Future, Iddo Wernick, a researcher at Rockefeller University's Program for the Human Environment, asked, "Can improving efficiency and changing consumer preferences overwhelm rising population and affluence to reduce the tons of material that Americans use? The world?" To answer this question, Wernick and his colleagues collected data about the consumption trends on 100 materials that have long been used in the U.S. economy. Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey considers the idea that "the way we will save nature is by rendering it economically worthless."
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