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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/16/19

Coups-for-Green-Energy added to Wars-For-Oil

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These are not theoretical effects. They have been observed at places like Chile's Atacama salt flats, where lithium extraction has been happening for years. [See here &here.]

In an article about the environmental issues of lithium mining, Bloomberg quoted a Chilean biologist, Cristina Dorador, who said: "We're fooling ourselves if we call this sustainable and green mining. The lithium fever should slow down because it's directly damaging salt flats, the ecosystem and local communities."

In an piece entitled, "Lithium mining for 'green' electric cars is leaving a fetid stain on the planet," which discussed lithium operations in South America, Raw Story concludes: "The idea that electric cars, or anything with lithium batteries, is 'green' might be a farce."

Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on Earth
Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat on Earth
(Image by Anouchka Unel, copyleft Free Art license)
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Bolivia's lithium is found on the Salar de Uyuni, a massive salt plain (at over 4000 square miles in size it is the world's largest) high in the Andes Mountains (at close to 12,000 feet in elevation). It is a place of startling beauty and the second most popular tourist attraction in Bolivia. However, it has been negatively impacted by just the limited mining activity so far:

Previously, on travelling across the blinding white surface, one could expect to come across mirages, multi-coloured lakes and even flamingos or geysers. This time there are no flashes of light or oases on the world's largest salt flat, just an inestimable number of artificial lakes, clunking machinery and workers. The new complex of laboratories, pilot plants, prospecting wells and pools covering 27 sq km of the southeastern part of the plain, situated 140km from the town of Uyuni, represents the dreams of more than a generation of politicians a national lithium industry.

from "Bolivia's lithium boom: dream or nightmare?"

Morales was calling for much bigger operations, with the main beneficiary to be the state rather than foreign corporations. "We will develop a huge lithium industry," he said.

Under this plan, the unique Salar de Uyuni would become a sacrifice zone, like Chile's Atacama.

I abhor the fascists that ran Morales out of office, especially the ones in the US. We have no business messing with anyone's right to self-determination. I hope that Morales is able to return to power, as he has pledged to do.

At the same time, I wish that Morales could support his revolution some other way, just as I wished that Chavez could've avoided oil extraction in the service of his. Just as I wish every day that we here in the belly of the beast could break our deadly habits.

In this era of ever more severe ecological disasters, our most important task as humans is to stop what we're doing, in the interest of simple survival. In this context, I will venture to say that resource extraction like lithium mining is one of the master's tools, unfit for dismantling the master's house.

Even when it's called "green."

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Kollibri terre Sonnenblume is a writer, photographer, tree hugger, animal lover, and dissident. Kollibri's work can be found at http://www.macskamoksha.com."



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