© 2022 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

A World In A Grain Of Sand

Tony Hisgett
flickr creative commons

Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

The pyramids are made of sand. Our roads and driveways and sidewalks are made of sand. Concrete buildings and their concrete foundations are made of sand. From computer chips to computer screens, window panes to lightbulbs, breast implants to the Hubble telescope, sand is basically the essential building block of civilization.

Humans are estimated to consume almost 50 billion tons of sand and gravel every year.

Oh, and, by the way: We're running out of it.

For a look at Sue McGrew's crazy impressive sand sculptures, check out her website.


  • Vince Beiser - Author of The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization
  • Sarah Page Kyrcz - A reporter who covers Guilford and Madison for the Shoreline Times
  • Sue McGrew - Professional sand sculptor

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired August 9, 2018.

Related Content