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On this wiki, we have high standards for the word "viable". When it comes to sustainability, it's not enough for an idea to just work in some niche market. It has to be scaleable enough to that it could actually replace existing systems that are harming the planet. We need to make sure that the idea (if scaled up) wouldn't in fact be worse for the planet (compared to the status quo).

Here are some factors to consider:

  • How much energy would it consume?
  • How many rare minerals would it need?
  • How much land would it occupy?
  • How much labor would it take?

All of these should be considered in a full life cycle analysis - from production, to usage, to recycling/disposal.

If this sounds hard, well yes it is, unfortunately. It would be a lot easier if academic papers weren't so hard-to-read and hidden behind paywalls. Hopefully this wiki can make complex ideas more accessible. If you're a writer, see Wiki for a better world:Notation for how to cover advanced topics without ugly walls of text.