Editor’s Note: Any alternative to fossil fuel is embraced as “green.” These include the so-called alternatives that require the destruction of the natural world on par with the destruction by fossil fuel. DGR has always stood against these false solutions. Instead, we stand with the real solutions, i.e. a complete halting of the industrial civilization and a return to a regenerative system.
The following article is written by Arno, and was originally published on the DGR France website. It is translated by Benja. It discusses the damage done by lithium mining, a core element of batteries for electronics, including electric cars.
By Arno/DGR France (Translated by Benja)
Focused on the fight against climate change, most environmental movements forget about other ongoing environmental disasters that are just as important, if not more so. One of the most serious is undoubtedly the destruction of biodiversity. Worse, in their frantic race to stop climate change – or rather in their frantic race to find alternative energies to carbon-based energies, and thus maintain the standard of living of Westerners and ensure the good health of the industrial machine in a context of climate change – they are doing everything to initiate an energy transition by promoting the development of so-called “green” energies, which are however very damaging to the planet.
Two weeks ago, DGR France was on the site where a lithium mine is planned to create the batteries that are essential for the operation of machines powered by “green” energy. This would be a local extraction, which would also allow France to be less dependent on distant imports. In short, from the point of view of environmentalists, it is a double victory.
However, there is nothing to celebrate. The site in question is a magnificent old forest, of which nearly a hundred hectares will have to be logged for the installation of the mine. What’s more, this forest is located in the Puy-de-Dôme, the water tower of France. From this forest flow many rivers that feed the region, springs and wells. In summer, when the rivers are almost dry, which is increasingly common with climate change, the water table replenishes the rivers so that they never run dry, allowing the maintenance of aquatic life. Unfortunately, by digging deep to extract the rock (granite), the water table will drop below the level of the rivers. In summer, the water table will not be able to feed the rivers. Worse, it is the rivers, who’s level is already very low, that will end up emptying themselves into the water table.
But that’s not all. Lithium is found in a specific rock, mica, which makes up 0.5% of granite. The mine will therefore extract phenomenal quantities of granite to reduce it to powder in order to get its hands on the mica. To do this, the operator will build huge basins in which the granite will be mixed with thousands of liters of chemicals to isolate the mica. The mica, once recovered, will be sent with water in a pipeline, whose implementation will ravage other natural areas of the region, to end up in a second plant that will be created for the occasion. The mica will then be immersed in very powerful baths of acids and bases, at very high temperatures, to finally obtain the precious lithium. It goes without saying that these on-site operations will consume phenomenal quantities of water, which will be pumped directly back into the aquifer, or at least what is left of it
Once you’ve taken the mica, you’re left with the rest of the granite, 95.5% of the chemical-soaked rock, which will then be put back underground. For centuries to come, rainwater will seep through this mine waste and be laced with arsenic, heavy metals and other chemicals used in the settling process, which will end up in the region’s waterways. That’s what a mine is. That’s why the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks water contamination from mining activity as one of the top 3 threats to the world’s ecological security. And it’s not like we’re running out of water in France because of droughts…
One pinches oneself to believe it, but that is nevertheless ecology according to certain movements which militate in favour of some “energy transition”. By claiming to solve a problem, they aggravate and create others. In France, since the beginning of the 20th century, 67% of wetlands have disappeared, as well as 75% of pollinators. Two hundred species disappear every day in the world, and 92% of large fish have already disappeared, but this is apparently secondary. According to them, the important thing is to secure the energy future of industrial civilization.
If you want to get out of these contradictions, and finally think seriously about how to save what is left of the living on this planet, join Deep Green Resistance.