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The Mindblowing Innovation You Can't Live Without: Low-Tech

Reducing the strain on the environment, and opting out of a "growth-at-all-costs" logic, may be the only path forward for the future. And it will require the smartest new ideas.

Dragonfly reception
Dragonfly reception
Paul Molga

PARIS — Experts no longer doubt that environmentally friendly behavior and the most groundbreaking recycling models, which some have dubbed the circular economy, won't be enough to ease humanity's pressure on our natural resources.

"The problem isn't the risk of shortage, but the disproportionate efforts that will need to be deployed to extract increasingly inaccessible raw materials," explains Philippe Bihouix, an engineer who specializes in mining resources. "The question of degrowth thus becomes whether we will be forced into it soon, or freely choose it now."

Indeed, he believes it's imperative that we choose it now. "It's a swarm of crickets descending upon the scarcest resources," he says.

This concerns one-third of metals, including titanium, 95% of which is used as a mineral-coloring agent in toothpastes, sunscreens, paints and plastics. Others are used in proportions too small to be recycled. Platinum in catalytic converters ends up on roads, and close to 3% of the silver (which some predict we will run out by 2021) extracted each year ends up in water treatment plants after having been used for bacterial protection in textiles.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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