The Star Trek franchise has been providing interesting insight into humanity’s potential future since the mid-1960s. Taking place from the 2100s to the 2300s, the film and TV series depict not only a glimpse of the hyper-intelligent technologies humans (and aliens) will be capable of inventing, but also a habitable environment built with a variety of metals.
For this envisioned high-tech future to become a reality, however, civilizations must first study how we can help our planet sustain life for a longer period of time. After all, if we strip away all the natural resources and destroy the earth’s ecosystem, there will not be a place for humanity to reside, let alone advance its technology.
With many scientific theories stating that the earth will one day become uninhabitable, it is crucial to make as many preservation efforts as possible.
Why “Sustainability” is an Important Concept
Though sustainability has numerous definitions, when discussing the future, the term most often refers to maintaining the planet so that upcoming generations can utilize it.
According to the resolution of the UN’s World Summit on Social Development, the three pillars of sustainable development—economic development, social development and environmental protection—should be interdependent and mutually reinforce one another. These three components can exist only if there is a balance among them. For example, there is no need for a commercial fishing industry if there isn’t an ocean.
In other words, it is crucial to utilize sustainable materials that help reduce our ecological footprint to meet the needs of the environmental pillar of sustainability. Stainless steel is one such material, thanks to its closed-loop production and reuse system.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Stainless steel is a commonly used metal alloy known for its corrosion resistance and recyclability. Its various types and metallic compositions also make it useful in many industries such as construction, healthcare, food and beverage and household products, among others, serving widely applicable purposes. Its ubiquitous usage helps play an important role in creating a sustainable future.
As a readily available and relatively durable resource, stainless steel is not only ideal for manufacturing many different goods and architectural components, but is also environmentally friendly. Though stainless steel has a long lifespan to begin with, it is theoretically 100 percent recyclable, even at the end of its life cycle. Just about any stainless steel object contains an average recycled content of approximately 60 percent!
Because of its high reuse and recycle rate, stainless steel impacts the planet very minimally in terms of initial production and reproduction. In fact, recycled stainless steel doesn’t go through any degradation and stays in a sustainable, closed-loop.
Perhaps in the future, we will all eat food that is stored in stainless steel refrigerators with stainless steel spoons, in skyscrapers built with stainless steel.
Live Long and Prosper
To truly “live long and prosper” (in the famous words of Spock), we must devise a viable plan to develop a sustainable future for both present and next generations. To do so, humans must utilize existing resources such as stainless steel in the least detrimental way possible.
Although common use of starships like the Enterprise might be a bit more futuristic than what the creators of the Star Trek series originally imagined, there is definitely hope for significant technical developments to be made in due time. As long as our planet survives, that is.