It turns out we’re running out of this critical element that’s necessary for fertiliser.
And if we run out, we’ll be set back 50 years in agriculture — and that means billions of people without food.
So we thought we’d break it all down.
Phosphorus-based fertiliser enabled us to feed a global population that has tripled since WW2... and will increase 33% by 2050
Phosphorus is technically a renewable resource... but it takes 10 million years to return to the soil
90% of global reserves is controlled by five countries: Morocco, China, South Africa, USA, and Jordan
Oil shortages recently caused an 800% spike in phosphate prices... contributing to high food costs and worldwide riots
Phosphorus was the Greek name for the morning star, also known as Lucifer.
The element was discovered in 1669 when a German alchemist boiled down 50 buckets of urine in search of the Philosopher's Stone.
Phosphorus was used in incendiary bombs in WW2. It also has industrial applications, such as in laundry detergent.
But the most important use (90% of consumption) is in fertiliser.
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