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Why the world is running out of sand

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Big holiday weekend coming...and the official kick-off of summer.

Maybe you'll head to your favorite beach. Feel a little sand between your toes.

But, guess what? That sand? It's a lot rarer than you might ever imagine. At least according to David Owen. He's written a piece in the New Yorker titled, "The World is Running Out of Sand"

Owen says, at least in some places, sand is so sought after and hard to get, it's sometimes a trigger for violence:

"Parts of the world where the right of kind sand for the uses that it's being put to, is so scarce that people kill people for it. There are sand mafias in India, where illegal sand mining that is not only destroying ecosystems but there's this criminal enterprise that has huge impacts on people's lives."

With our long shorelines and deserts full of it, it's pretty hard to imagine people killing each other for sand. After all, it's sand. But it turns out there are lots of different forms of the grit we think of as sand. And David Owen says it's used in a for a whole bunch of things that most of us never think about.

To listen to the full segment, click the blue play button above.