Brown,W.M., III., Matos,G.R. and Sullivan,D.E.(1998): Materials and Energy Flows in the Earth Science Century A Summary of a Workshop Held by the USGS in November 1998. U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1194, U.S. Department of the Interior/U.S. Geological Survey. 76p.

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Contents

Overview .....................................................................................................................................1
@A Fresh View of Earth Systems Management ............................................................1
@The Government Role .....................................................................................................3
@Research, Policy, and Corporate Issues .....................................................................3
@The EPA, World Resources Institute, and the World Bank ......................................4
@Examining the Issues in Materials and Energy Flows ...............................................5
@USGS Activities in Materials and Energy Flows .........................................................6
@Directions and Opportunities for Research ................................................................7
Introduction ................................................................................................................................8
@Challenges for the USGS in New Fields of Study .......................................................8
@Agenda Design .................................................................................................................8
@The USGS Perspective ...................................................................................................9
Industrial Ecology and A New Vocabulary for Emerging Fields of Study .......................11
@Do We Like Where We Are Putting Things? .............................................................11
@Industry within Ecology and the Flows of Toxic Materials .....................................13
@Sustainability and Ecological Footprints ...................................................................15
@The Role of Federal Science ........................................................................................16
@The Flow of Mercury in South Florida ........................................................................17
@Nitrogen and Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico .............................................................19
Major Issues in Materials and Energy Flows ......................................................................20
@Research Issues ............................................................................................................20
@Policy Issues ..................................................................................................................22
@Corporate Issues ...........................................................................................................24
National and International Activities in Materials and Energy Flows .............................25
@The Federal Interagency Working Group on Industrial Ecology,
@@Material and Energy Flows ...................................................................................25
@Sustainability Indicators and Our Materials Endowment .......................................26
@The National Research Council and Materials Flows Accounting .......................28
@Integrated Science for Ecosystem Challenges ........................................................29
@The Environmental Protection Agency and Industrial Ecology .............................29
@Resource Flows: The Material Basis for Industrial Economies .............................31
@Expanding Measurements of National Wealth ........................................................32
Creating the Future: Industrial Ecology in the Earth Science Century ............................33
@Applying Industrial Ecology .........................................................................................33
@The Earth Science Century ..........................................................................................35
@@Geology for a Changing World ...........................................................................38
Responding to the Challenges: The Work of Breakout Groups ........................................39
Research Activities and Opportunities within the USGS ...................................................43
@The Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem ................................................................................43
@Merging Economic Modeling with Energy and Minerals Programs .....................44
@Water as a Material: Water Use in the United States, 1950.1995 ........................45
@Global Implications of Minerals and Materials Analysis in the USGS .................48
@Urban Dynamics and Resources Demand in the Eastern United States .............49
Directions and Opportunities for Research in Materials and Energy Flows ..................50
@An Ecosystem Focus for Materials and Energy Flows ............................................50
@Spatial Aspects of Materials and Energy Flows ......................................................52
@Water: The Largest Materials Flow ............................................................................54
@Environmental Geochemistry and Earth System Services .....................................54
Why What We Do Is Important: Reaching and Exceeding the Workshop Goals ..........55
Selected References ...............................................................................................................56

Appendix 1. Workshop Announcement and Agenda ........................................................57
Appendix 2. List of Speakers and Participants ...................................................................60


Overview

A Fresh View of Earth Systems Management

For the 21st century, the USGS and many others throughout government, academia, and the private sector carry a hopeful vision of better solutions to the problems of depleting natural resources and creating excessive wastes. Despite growing numbers of people and their associated demands for materials, energy, living space, and a healthful environment, there is cautious but broad optimism about meeting these challenges.
The optimism stems from realizing scientific capabilities to understand global materials and energy flows, and recognizing that our societies can create remarkable efficiencies, both in the way we use materials and energy and how we reduce and treat waste products.

For this effort, investigators are engaging in whole system views of the human condition using the tools of materials and energy flows accounting
and industrial ecology. Materials and energy flows accounting involves a thorough and holistic view of the materials flow cycle, wherein materials are tracked throughout their life cycle from extraction, through manufacturing, consumer use, reuse, recycling, and disposition. The energy
inputs and losses associated with these activities are critical to comprehending the full picture of the materials flow cycle. Such accounting provides the data for industrial ecology and economic of human activity with the rest of the environment. Industrial ecology is the gScience of Sustainabilityh that views and analyzes industrial systems in much the same way that biological sciences treat ecosystems. Industrial ecology aims to understand human systems within an ecological context and design the use of materials and wastes so as to minimize their impact on the Earth. Socolow (this volume) described how practicing industrial ecology integrates industrial systems with the natural world. What industrial ecology offers the world is a fresh view of environmental management that sets priorities for concern, gives strong messages for rational policymaking, and transforms those who damage or destroy the environment into agents of positive environmental change.

Embracing principles of industrial ecology moves people toward creative solutions to problems of materials use efficiencies and eliminating waste. Cohen-Rosenthal (this volume) noted that these principles include connecting individual firms into industrial ecosystems, balancing inputs and outputs to natural ecosystem capacities, reengineering industrial use of energy and materials, and aligning policy with a long-term perspective
of industrial system evolution. He explained differences between engineered and self-organizing industrial ecology. He showed practical ways to achieve new mechanisms, new hypotheses and goals for materials reuse, and he posed new questions for reducing materials impact. There is a
hierarchy of materials transformation, from genesis and design for durability to waste disposal and releases to the environment. This hierarchy suggests a broad range of new technologies and business opportunities at all stages of materials transformation.

The principles of industrial ecology also lead to the reorganization of individual manufacturing facilities, and systems of such facilities, or eco-industrial parks. We are in a period of discovery with respect to organizational intelligence, and creating or nurturing businesses likely to participate in eco-industrial development. The discovery and consequent development must be based upon sound data, and developing new data on materials and energy flows at the local and regional levels. The development must relate to existing companies and resource-use patterns, and must be connected to market demands for environmental characteristics to be successful. There are now several experimental eco-industrial development sites in the United These sites have in common a trend toward maximizing cooperative endeavors, and attempting to operate in particular materials/ energy domains wherein a variety of alternative gupstreamh and gdownstreamh connections can be made.

The views expressed by the workshop participants are also vital to the intentions of sustainability. Sustainability is an overarching idea that encompasses meeting the mutual goals of economic development and environmental protection for the purpose of fulfilling everyonefs basic needs. The terms gsustainabilityh and gsustainable developmenth have evolved in the global policy arena since the terminology was first treated by
the United Nations in 1972, and have become heavily integrated into shaping policies of the public and private sectors in the 1990fs. Many participants referred to sustainability in their presentations, and provided a variety of explanations of the term. Palmer (this volume) discussed sustainability as the level of consumption of natural resources (water, food, soil, minerals, wood products, energy), and production of waste products that can be continued indefinitely by the human population. There is an gecological footprinth of humans, which is the impact of people
on the ecologically productive area of the Earth, and which can be roughly calculated. According to Palmerfs ecological footprint calculations, in the world of 2050 with a global population of about 10 billion, our current levels of consumption of natural resources are not sustainable.

The U.S. Interagency Working Group on Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIfs) has been studying SDIfs since the beginning of the Clinton Administration. Heintz (this volume) related how the group is oriented toward producing a fully integrated set of indicators that show trends toward or away from sustainable development worldwide. Developing SDIfs is important not only to focus on how well societies are doing now
in terms of sustainable development, but also to focus on longterm endowments and liabilities. Thinking in terms of endowments
helps people understand the idea of the stewardship and trusteeship for which societies throughout the world are all responsible. Fundamental to this thinking is that the materials now considered as waste should rather be considered an endowment of raw materials for the future. Thus, societies move away from producing waste and move toward systems that become more sustaining by using the endowments of their own or other
systems. The attention being given to recycling, reuse, remanufacturing, deconstruction, and similar processes is the beginning of a recognition that materials extracted from the Earth and processed into various forms are still all around us, and are in fact an endowment. This generation and future generations will have the opportunity to draw upon these; therefore, these materials need to be included in our accounting. The new message of sustainable development, and the focus of work on sustainable development indicators, is on endowments to ensure that what is
passed along to future generations is as good as or better than what was passed along to us. Part of the full range of endowments,
processes, and current results directly involves activities of the USGS. Some of these are investigations of water use, exotic species, and the beginning of land-use change, and they encompass the intensities of use of materials and energy.

The U.S. Interagency Working Group on Industrial Ecology, Material and Energy Flows (IE Group) was established by the Presidentfs Council on Environmental Quality in March 1996. Berry (this volume) described the IE Groupfs overviews of the way material flows have changed society throughout human history, and materials flows in the 20th century. The IE Group stresses solutions to materials flow problems under the headings of recycling, remanufacturing, redesigning, and rethinking. Recycling deals with reprocessing and using materials from discarded products to manufacture new products, or reuse them. Remanufacturing treats disassembling and cleaning discarded goods, reconditioning and adding replacement components, is intended to dramatically improve efficiencies of materials and energy uses in products and processes. Redesigning also makes recycling easier, and makes disposal less environmentally damaging. Rethinking asks us to consider ways to provide goods and services to meet human wants more efficiently. The IE Group encourages human societies to move toward sustainable solutions to our materials and energy flow problems. The pathway to sustainable communities, cities, and regions involves pollution control, process integration, whole-facility planning,
and industrial ecology. The IE Group advocates seeking less energy intensity and less material intensity per unit of product or service, while achieving lower levels of environmental toxicity and risk.

The stage is set for the 21st century to be the century of the earth sciences in much the same way the 20th century has been the century of physics. Humankind has emerged in the past few decades as a powerful and, in some respects, a dominant geologic force on the planet. Our need for, and reliance upon, natural resources, our concern for environmental quality, our concern for human health that in many cases may have a basis on geologic phenomena, and our rising concern for the health of the planet all point toward the potential emergence of the earth sciences. Bohlen (this volume) argued that indeed the earth sciences should play a role in shaping the most important debate of the next century.what will be the global population, what will be the standard of living, and what will be the state of environmental health. This debate will not be decided in some grand forum, but rather by thousands of decisions made around the world by those who might not even realize they are engaged in the debate or even having an influence on it. Bohlenfs essentials of the Earth Science Century are (1) a priority emphasis on the surface of the Earth as a coherent air, water, and land system; (2) unification of geologic, biological, and ecological sciences within a social science context; and (3) new and higher levels of collaboration of practitioners within the earth science community. Areas ripe for advance include understanding the Earth in real time, the structure and function of ecosystems, forward modeling of complex systems, the connectedness of seemingly unconnected processes, the implications of surface processes for the origin of life and extinctions, and understanding the surface and near surface of the Earth.

The USGS is building its scientific strategy to meet the needs of the Earth Science Century. One goal of this strategy is to advance the understanding of the Nationfs energy and mineral resources in a global geologic, economic, and environmental context. The United States is among the worldfs leading producers of energy and mineral resources, and the Nationfs economic security depends on maintaining adequate supplies from domestic and nondomestic sources. The Nation constantly faces decisions involving the supply and use of raw materials, substitution of one resource for another, and the environmental consequences of resource development. With respect to materials and energy flows, the USGS maintains a unique role within the Federal Government and the private sector in comprehensive assessments of mineral and energy resources.

A goal advocated by workshop participants is a much higher level of Earth systems management than has heretofore been practiced. Earth scientists and others recognize that humankind is becoming more and more of a dominant force with respect to the surficial processes of the Earth. Human beings modify the Earthfs hydrological systems, extract minerals, move soil and rock, enhance erosion, dredge, farm, manufacture, pollute, dissipate, and dispose on massive scales. Traditionally, our societies have focused on such activities in broad financial terms, and have neglected a comprehensive understanding of the materials terms.the actual factors that diminish our chances for good stewardship of our planet and for supporting economic opportunity for our people. For the future, a comprehensive understanding of materials and energy flows on a global scale is essential.not only to recognize the scope of human activities on the Earthfs surface, but also to manage those activities for sustainable economies and a sustainable environment.

This volume represents an effort to bring together the industry, academia, and international organizations about roles of the USGS in materials and energy flows research. The participants met in November 1998 to identify problems and explore partnerships by (1) examining the importance of materials and energy flows in United States and global economies; (2) reviewing national goals and policies that are based on materials and
energy flows and sustainability precepts, and (3) envisioning integrated approaches to materials and energy flows research.

The Government Role

The USGS, other government agencies, and the private sector have tracked materials and energy flows in a variety of ways and for different time periods for more than a century. The new and challenging undertaking for these entities is analyzing this vast body of information in the long-term, national and global context of industrial development, economy, and social change.and doing it in concert with each other. There are many roles in this undertaking, and there is a great mix of participants poised to take the work well beyond the realm of traditional Earth science investigations.

The role of Federal science in materials and energy flows research is a gbig pictureh understanding of processes. That understanding is necessary in making informed decisions about resources with sustainability as a priority. Materials assume a role of increased importance as population grows,
and the built environment grows in a corresponding fashion. Attempts to maintain growth of the built environment under current practices risks unsustainable resource use which in turn can lead to ecosystem decline and habitat destruction. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Federal agencies like the USGS to pay particular attention to the growth in materials and energy demands foreseen in the coming century, and the consequences
of those demands. Schaefer (this volume) argued that materials flow analyses probably should be an integral part of all USGS activities.

A real opportunity exists for an increased government role in supporting industrial ecology and more efficient uses of material and energy resources throughout the economy. Berry (this volume) discussed how the government might maintain and enhance the function of long-term collection and analysis of critical materials and energy flow data. The government could develop its research priorities in this arena in consultation with industry, nongovernmental organizations, and other key stakeholders. Government agencies might rethink regulations with respect to (1) definitions of waste, (2) incentives and disincentives for the more cost-effective use of materials, and (3) supporting recycling and emanufacturing. Agencies could set examples in revising their procurement policies, and develop guidance on what constitutes environmentally preferable products. The government also has major education functions, and can examine the impacts of taxes, subsidies, and various marketbased incentives on materials use, disposal, and efficiency.

In January 1998, the National Research Council (NRC) held a Workshop on Material Flows Accounting of Natural Resources, Products, and Residues in the United States. The NRC study arising from the workshop intends to assess the utility of materials flow data for making informed decisions about materials use and the expected consequences of alternative decisions. The study will consider types of data that are readily
available and types of data that should be obtained. Information on specific materials would be used as examples to illustrate how materials flow and reservoir data would be useful to various ate organizations in making materials and process choices. Schiffries (this volume) noted that potential applications of materials flow information include developing suitable national indicators of materials and resources efficiencies, assessing the national capability for substituting materials a quickly as they are needed, and increasing the efficient use of materials by industrial
sectors. Other applications include changing materials use and processing methods to mitigate environmental impacts, and managing undesirable materials that are removed from the natural environment together with desired materials. The NRC also will examine designing disposal sites, such as landfills, to make materials more easily extractable at a future date, improving recycled material source-user relationships, and making quality
and quantity more predictable.

The Federal Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (CENR) has developed an initiative on gIntegrated Science for Ecosystem Challenges.h Fenn (this volume) described how this initiative incorporates materials flow in the context of developing, coordinating, and maintaining a national infrastructure to provide scientific information needed for effective stewardship of the Nationfs natural resources. Examples include materials flow research within USGS programs on abandoned mine lands, wetlands loss studies in the oil fields of south Louisiana, and natural resources damage assessment studies in Texas. CENR priorities for FY 2000 include studies of invasive species, biodiversity, and species decline; harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, and eutrophication; habitat conservation and ecosystem productivity; and information management, monitoring, and
integrated assessments.

Research, Policy, and Corporate Issues

Potential research roles for the USGS and others involve collection and analyses of data relevant for treating important issues at a variety of economic and spatial scales. Cleveland (this volume) argued that the work must be targeted for end users in academia, government, private, and nonprofit sectors. It must involve less descriptive analysis and encyclopedic data collection, and more quantitative modeling and assessment.
Practitioners should think in terms of a global ecosystem driven by economic subsystems. The economic subsystems require natural resources (energy and materials) and ecosystem services, create products, and produce degraded materials that must be assimilated as waste or recycled. Economic subsystems in todayfs world are overwhelming the natural systems, and growing to become the dominant physical forces acting within our fixed global environment. These forces invite research into understanding the historical patterns of the material and pollution intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They prevail upon researchers to understand the economic, technological, cultural, and institutional forces that are driving those patterns. Finally, they require researchers to understand what the historical trends and driving forces tell us about the future.

Cleveland introduced gdematerialization,h or the decrease in demand for and use of materials by societies. Dematerialization may result from technical improvements that decrease the quantity of materials used to produce a good or service. It may result from substituting new materials with more desirable properties for older materials. It may be achieved by changes in demand and consumer preferences for products, by legislation, or by the saturation of bulk markets for basic materials.

Cleveland noted that there are vast differences in modeling capabilities for materials and energy flows. There is a National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) framework that treats the global energy picture in a thorough and consistent manner. However, no such framework exists for materials. Investigators should consider a National Materials Modeling System (NMMS) that focuses on measures of concern to decisionmakers, whether they be economic, human health and environmental, national security, or other concerns. The NMMS envisioned by Cleveland should use a problem-directed, scenario-based approach, and it should be integrative and multidisciplinary. The approach should be outward-looking in order to complement and interact with a variety of public and private groups that contribute to policy analysis, including other Federal agencies.

Rejeski (this volume) stressed that from a policy perspective, and in terms of understanding toxic substances, the United States has treated the obvious problems, but many others remain. New and different data collection and analysis techniques are necessary to fill the gaps. Flow of materials across political boundaries will become an even more important issue. Hazardous through the use of products. Dangers lie in unchallenged
assumptions, especially about driving mechanisms, and materials flow analyses could help policymakers change their thoughts about drivers. Current research suggests there are many different sources of materials pollution than were previously recognized. For example, the accumulated total of hazardous wastes from individual households is greater than that generated by industry for particular toxic materials.

Drake (this volume) offered a corporate perspective using the example of the automotive industry. The very nature of the industry requires that materials for the product must be plentiful, and that recycling these materials is an economic necessity. Currently, recycling helps to optimize the life cycle of automobiles, and 75 percent of materials in automobiles are recycled. Understanding materials flow helps planners integrate their thinking about improving recycling efficiencies. For example, there is a major push to make individual parts easier to disassemble in order to recycle them. The overall goals today are to reduce negative environmental impacts throughout industries, to increase efficiencies in disassembly, to develop materials selection environmentally sound solutions to product disposal. Drake concluded that in the automotive industry today, there is
no inherent contradiction between genvironmentalh and gbusiness,h and environmental stewardship is good business practice.

The EPA, World Resources Institute and the World Bank

Industrial ecology principles are important keys to the future of environmental protection, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is just beginning its efforts in this arena. Allen (this volume) described many EPA projects in industrial ecology that span the spectrum of regional, national, and international issues, and issues surrounding individual industries and products. Notable among these are application of life-cycle management to evaluate integrated solid waste management, and taking a systems approach to tracking international flows of energy and carbon. At a regional scale, the EPA is investigating the Triangle J Industrial Ecosystem Park by developing an input-output analysis of 140 facilities in a sixcounty region of North Carolina to match resources used and disposed by these facilities. The EPA is also working on the eco-industrial park idea in other areas, and on materials flow applications in designing sustainable communities. At the scale of individual industries, the EPA maintains a toxic release inventory useful for understanding materials flow and industrial ecology, and promotes environmentally conscious design and
commercialization of products and processes. Projects that focus on individual products include a garment and textile care program that investigates fiber and textile production and garment manufacture that can reduce the application of chemicals used in professional cleaning.

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is continuing its work on materials flows in industrialized nations. WRI is concerned with measuring changes in the amount of physical materials entering and leaving national economies, individual economic sectors, and watersheds. Rodenburg (this volume) suggested that these findings might chan e the way people view their environmental problems, and could play a role in identifying policy opportunities or in measuring progress towards sustainability. The WRI and EPA cooperatively developed the Total Material Requirement (TMR), which is the sum of total material input and hidden or indirect material flows, including deliberate landscape alterations. TMR is the total material requirement for a national economy, including all domestic and imported natural resources. The TMR gives the best overall estimate for the potential environmental impact associated with natural resource extraction and use. WRI is reviewing a variety of measures of the TMR for Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Hamilton (this volume) showed how the World Bank group is attempting to expand its measure of the wealth of nations beyond an assessment of natural resources. Thus, the wealth of a nation must be seen increasingly as a broad composite of the value of natural resources, the well-being of the people, and the sustainability of the resources and well-being. Sustainability in this case describes well-being that does not decline over time.
The World Bank is particularly interested in sustainability, in that the organization helps developing countries to develop further, and some of the development it sees is not sustainable. The policy implications suggest that given the large share of agricultural land in natural capital of low-income countries, sound management of this land is of great importance. Capturing and reinvesting economic rents from mineral and petroleum resources is a significant issue in many middle-income countries. Policy prescriptions for becoming a high-income country include depleting exhaustible resources and investing the rents effectively, managing renewable resources sustainably, investing in produced assets, and increasing investment in human capital. There is no guarantee that development based on harvesting bountiful natural resources will lead to development that is sustainable and equitable.

Examining the Issues in Materials and Energy Flows

Breakout groups decided that, from a policy perspective, in order to foster responsible stewardship, reduce entropy, and reverse adverse impacts on human health and ecosystems. The major policy objective, couched in the form of a question, should be, gHow can we ensure sustainability?h Investigators should define policy in a way that does not interfere with market goals, by considering how to handle the probability of increased competition for resources, and how to maintain access to resources as they become more scarce. They must open pathways to multi-use, high-efficiency systems through combining incentives and removing barriers. For example, societies must create markets for recycled and reused materials such as paper, buildings, roads, and oil. Additionally, the Federal Government should leverage its market position in terms of the environmental consequences of the purchases it makes. It should reduce impasses to public confidence and regulatory inefficiencies, mainly through making policy based on objective evaluation.

From a corporate perspective, Federal agencies should be making comprehensive information available to the corporate sector. Breakout groups suggested that agencies could reduce risk to investors through due process (fairness), decrease uncertainties, and use one-stop permitting. They should maximize access to resources for both small- and large-scale users of materials and energy flows information. Public land-use and
environmental policies have made it difficult to access domestic resources, and these policies could be considered for revision. Agencies should promote networking among eco-industrial units in order to share and integrate proprietary or classified information. The government should promote the ability to share resources, particularly in the arena of hazardous/regulated materials where information exchange encounters many barriers. The government should consider mass balance audits or assessments to maximize profits. Finally, it should consider the appropriate roles for market forces. Where should the government dominate or intervene? How does the government value or account for negative externalities?

The USGS should foster or expand its function as an gintegratorh of information from ecological, biological, and corporate disciplines. The USGS should capitalize on gscientific synergy,h and the important separation it maintains from the regulatory sector. The USGS has a major role with respect to developing, maintaining, and consolidating databases. The USGS has a major role in involving data users in determining which questions the data are designed to answer; however, this role must be augmented by more aggressive partnering and networking with other agencies. There is a USGS role for providing data on the end uses of materials, and providing an historical data bank with ready access and analysis features. The USGS data must support research on such key processes as ecosystem structure and function, and urban systems, and provide knowledge to decisionmakers, both to attend to other-agency needs and as required by law.

Considerable overlap occurs in public policy, corporate, and sustainability issues. Among these categories, there will be shifts in time scales and priorities assigned to each issue. For example, sustainability addressed through public policy could require a longer term perspective than corporate treatment of the same issue. Likewise, corporate prioritization of a social issue would most likely be lower than public policy prioritization of the same issue. In evaluating issues, investigators should look both upstream at supplies and downstream at wastes within any part of the materials flow cycle.

Practitioners should identify where markets work well and where they do not work well, and concentrate on the latter. They should examine where government policies (including tax, fiscal, and land-use policies) do or do not support sustainability from a national perspective. There is the problem of identifying and responding to materials and energy flows issues globally. There is a need for information on natural flows and processes in order to evaluate the significance of anthropogenic flows. There must be a consistency of government policies, and ready availability of government data to the private sector and others who need it.

With respect to research, there is a need to build recognition of the issues surrounding materials and energy flows and sustainability. Building the recognition requires new levels of networking because of the interdisciplinary nature of the issues. The scope and size of the interest in these issues might be determined by a search of the World Wide Web.

Investigators must examine the major environmental problems globally, and prioritize these. They must review how a local entity or activity fits into the global perspective of environmental problems. Data at the local, national, and global levels must be used effectively to interconnect local activities with a global perspective. Materials and energy flows and their relations to sustainability constitute the basis for a new emerging
science. This science is dependent upon the resources, economic, and other databases produced by the USGS and several other government agencies. The quality of databases needs to be improved to account for materials in imports, consistency of reporting, and methods for collecting more metadata. Data reporting that has heretofore been proprietary needs to be supplied or converted for universal access, whether voluntary or
mandatory. The USGS needs to continue to evolve its activities from a focus on data collection to comprehensive data analysis.

USGS Activities in Materials and Energy Flows

Current regional studies of mercury and hypoxia demonstrate strengths of the USGS and its partners. Gerould (this volume) described an Integrated Natural Resource Science Program to study problems believed to be caused by mercury in south Florida. This is a prototypical effort to involve diverse collaborators in many scientific fields in the study of a large ecosystem. The work emphasizes the necessity to consider the impacts of changing environmental conditions throughout the materials flow process for mercury. The USGS is part of a multi-agency partnership to assess hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, and to seek the sources of the problem. Hypoxia in this case refers to depletion 18,200 square kilometers along the Louisiana-Texas coast. The indirect cause of oxygen depletion is thought to be nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) transported in solution from agricultural areas of the upper Mississippi River basin, particularly in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and southern Minnesota. Scavia (this volume) discussed the scope of this problem, and the policy actions and science needs for its possible solutions. The problem illustrates a materials flow process with issues that bear upon and beyond the activities of 13 Federal agencies.

Phillips (this volume) outlined the USGS Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem Program. The 5-year effort begun in 1996 provides relevant information on nutrient and sediment conditions affecting the bay. The program also is investigating the response times and factors affecting nutrient and sediment dynamics, and selected living resources. This information was used in the evaluation of nutrient-reduction strategies in 1997, and will be used for the final assessment in the year 2000. The program attempts to clarify the principal factors affecting nutrient and sediment transport and their relation to the changes in the sources of these constituents in selected hydrogeomorphic regions of the watershed.

The USGS is relating surface and subsurface characteristics to water quality and living-resource response over several temporal scales through studies in selected watersheds, and river and estuary reaches within hydrogeomorphic regions. The USGS is considering merging economic modeling with Energy, Minerals, and other programs. Whitney (this volume) explained the philosophic, strategic, and product-enhancement rationales for deve oping energy/economic modeling in the commodities. Strategically, the development of firstapproximation models is vital for setting commodity and regional priorities in national and global energy supply studies. Finally, from a product-enhancement point of view, geologic
information is more usable if investigators understand geologic, technological, and economic constraints on resource development. Thus, the USGS would do well to encourage economics as a gsecond language.h The USGS could conduct simple strategic modeling internally for identifying priority commodities and regions. It could also provide critical geologic data for economists, including quantity, quality, and environmental impact of development and use of resources. The USGS could build partnerships by collaborating with the experts on large-scale, longterm models, such as the National Energy Modeling System and models used by universities and industry.

Solley (this volume) described a little-noticed but potentially historic environmental turnabout wherein water use in the United States declined by about 10 percent from 1980 to 1995. This decline was concurrent with a population increase of 16 percent, and implies that people are finding ways to use water more efficiently. The decline in water use runs contrary to the conventional belief that water use rises with economic and population growth. The USGS has systematically tracked water use in the United States since 1950, and has noted some significant trends. Most of the increases in water use from 1950 to 1980 were the result of expansion of irrigation systems and increases in energy development. Higher energy prices in the 1970fs, and large drawdown in ground-water levels in some areas increased the cost of irrigation water. In the 1980fs, improved application techniques, increased competition for water, and a downturn in the farm economy reduced demands for irrigation water. The transition from water-supply management to water-demand management encouraged more efficient use of water. New technologies in the industrial sector that require less water, as well as improved plant efficiencies, increased water recycling, higher energy prices, and changes in the laws and regulations to reduce less water being returned to the natural system after use. The enhanced awareness by the general public to water resources and active conservation programs in many States has contributed to reduced water demands.

The USGS has interests in patterns of mineral production and use in developing countries that will play key roles in attaining sustainable societies. One example of the situation is population growth rate compared with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Using this comparison, many countries with the highest rates of population growth are also the countries with the lowest GDP per capita. Menzie (this volume) explained how the USGS also compared Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States over the period 1965.95 with respect to several population and consumption trends. The rates of population growth are approximately the same for Japan and the United States; however, the growth in the Republic of Korea accelerated rapidly in the late 1960fs, and continues to outpace that of the United States and Japan. Correspondingly, the rate of aluminum consumption per capita in the Republic of Korea is rapidly approaching that of the United States and Japan in the late 1990fs, and the per-capita consumption of cement in the Republic of Korea accelerated past that of the United States and Japan in the mid-1980fs. By 1995, per-capita consumption of copper in the Republic of Korea exceeded that of the United States and Japan, whereas the Republic of Koreafs consumption of salt remained well below that of the other two countries.

The USGS is discovering that economic activities in developing countries will account for an increasing share of global materials flows. Increasing consumption by developing countries will result in significant increases in environmental residuals and significant changes in supply patterns. Developing countries will produce an increasing share of deleterious environmental residuals, including those that are purposely or accidentally emitted via air and water. Materials flows analysis by individual commodity explains reasons for and consequences of change, which is not possible if data are aggregated by physical quantity or value.

The USGS is studying the spatial dynamics of the Baltimore-Washington corridor, and trends and issues for materials flow in the region. Robinson (this volume) showed that construction aggregates are the most dominant mineral resources used in the United States. Aggregate mining is most intensive in the eastern United States, with Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, and Virginia, reporting 1,500 to 5,000 tons mined per square mile during 1995. Upward trends in aggregate demand continue because of urbanization, growing transportation networks, and intensified use of land. The trends create issues of shifts in intensity of land use and economic activity, in resource needs and availability, and in rates of change of demand, quality of life, and resource management and use. The
resource management issues are of primary interest to the USGS, and include lack of public awareness of processes needed to meet demand. The issues also include concentrating and consolidating the industry, sterilizing the resource and minimizing waste, and mismatches between markets and management units. The research response to these issues is encapsulated in a Mid-Atlantic Geology and Infrastructure Case Study. The study is identifying geologic sources of high-quality aggregate resources, and documenting the producers of aggregate, and aggregate recycling and disposition over the past 35 years. Part of the work is to develop and calibrate tools for forecasting regional aggregates demand and analyzing landmanagement planning with respect to aggregates.

Directions and Opportunities for Research

There are opportunities for the USGS in analyzing materials flow distribution, and distribution studies can take advantage of USGS strengths. Such studies involve not only producing the numbers for materials, but also understanding the spatial distribution of materials throughout extraction,
transport (specifically, environmental transport), and disposition. For some materials such as water, the natural flows will overwhelm anything that humans produce. In other cases, the industrial sources of a particular material such as cadmium will dominate. However, looking simply at input-output for a country, for example, is not sufficient, particularly if the interest is in effects of a toxic material.

Potential directions and opportunities for USGS research in materials and energy flows include an ecosystem focus in terms of structure and function, multiple impacts, nonlinear responses, are hidden flows, remote effects of consumption, leakages in the materials flow stream, and proposing solutions to leakage problems. Researchers should be incorporating ecosystem services into our analysis of materials flow and sustainable development. Biological scientists are accustomed to looking at work of this type with a systems focus, and are valuable contributors in considering the ecosystem wealth that must be maintained in order researchers do not consider those basic ecosystem functions, they will be doing a disservice in the long term to our hopes of achieving sustainability of any kind of wealth.

Kirtland (this volume) discussed the importance of continuing education and communication about industrial ecology, sustainability, and materials and energy flows. The subject matter could be greatly enhanced by placing the information in a spatial context by mapping at all scales the flows, transformation, and uses of specific materials. Investigators should consider the vulnerability of eco-industrial infrastructures to natural hazards. They should understand and communicate the myriad interactions in industrial ecosystems to best position society for the realization of a sustainable future. They should look to miniaturization technology, and how high-design, lowmaterials products affect the recoverability and reusability of materials, and also lead to dematerialization. They should investigate how the flow and transformation of materials might change under climate and other global changes. Researchers need to look closely at how the transformation of materials affects the landscape. They should investigate how the flow and transformation of materials affect human health. Finally researchers need to be vigilant as they look for improvements in industrial systems. That vigilance will minimize the probability that societies succumb to the unintended and often ironic consequences of their actions.

The structure of the USGS Water Resources Division (WRD) positions it well for work in materials and energy flows. The WRD is geographically dispersed in each State throughout the Nation, and possesses multidisciplinary talent in all its principal offices. Issues of State, regional, and national importance can be readily addressed based on that organizational structure. Additionally, the WRD maintains contracts with a large number of partners; for example, the WRD had approximately 1,200 partnerships throughout the Nation in 1997. Ongoing WRD the transport and fate of certain metals, water quality in paved and unpaved areas, the effects of sewer systems on water resources, studies dealing with forest harvesting, calcium depletion, nitrogen cycling, and the geochemistry of mercury. Additionally, the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) has
generated many spinoffs, particularly with respect to nutrient evaluation; and WRD maintains a large program in monitoring and evaluating abandoned mine lands.

Plumlee (this volume) described how the USGS potentially can apply materials flow expertise that it has developed in the mineral-resources realm to other issues, including ecosystems, climate, hazards, and human health. Researchers should engage in gmaterials forensics,h looking carefully for the sources of materials and linking materials flow, for example, with geochemical tracers such as stable radiogenic isotopes. Earth scientists the role of natural hazards in materials flow. Finally, researchers should place the United States in its global perspective with respect to their investigations through the links of resources, climate, and environment that define the global context.

Throughout the Nation and around the world, research by the USGS and its partners continues to improve our understanding and awareness of materials and energy flows. Scientific advances will ultimately translate into new techniques for study, model policies for materials and energy uses, and other lessons with global applications. This workshop provided strong messages about rethinking our global environmental problems of the
present and the future, and about advancing new directions for managing materials and energy flow systems of the Earth with the beginning of the 21st century.


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