Beyond such mundane geopolitical rivalries, the US has a more profound reason to conserve its helium: Every balloon inevitably deflates. Optimistically assuming that demand for the substance continues to grow only a few percent each year, and that the entirety of the globe’s remaining natural gas reserves will be processed for their helium, the NRC report estimates there will only be enough to last another 40 years. It stands to reason that as supplies diminish, helium will be used more efficiently and investments in recycling technologies will grow. But the fact that the Earth’s four-billion year bounty has been so reduced in scarcely a century suggests that helium is sadly not long for this world.
via Going, Going, Gone § SeedMagazine.com. Scary idea, and makes conservatism as an economic and governmental policy even more important.