By Katie Singer

A tech lover recently told me that he and several colleagues have realized:

1.     The Earth does not have enough energy, minerals or water to support AI, e-vehicles, solar PVs, industrial wind facilities and batteries. Not at the scale we dream to fulfill. Not with eight billion humans.

2.     Expanding the Internet and AI ravages the Earth and wastes young brains.

I consider this man’s honesty excellent news. If more people acknowledge that our electronic tools take from the Earth faster than it can replenish and waste faster than the Earth can absorb, maybe we could take a collective pause. We could question which manufactured goods are necessary and which ones are not. We could stop ravaging ecosystems, reduce production and consumption. We could have truth and reconciliation parties about our relationship with nature and ask each other for help in living within our bioregion’s ecological limits. We could cultivate humility.

Meanwhile, reports about the technosphere’s harms continue to flood my inbox. I do also get some Good News. Thanks for taking a look:


In June, 2024, the Aratina Solar Project in Kern County CA will destroy 4,287 five-hundred-year-old Joshua trees to power 93,000 homes with “clean” (solar PV) energy.

According to a report by Sheffield Hallam University, “almost the entire global solar panel industry is implicated in the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples” who crush quartz rocks and work in coal-fueled furnaces to produce polysilicon for solar panels. Investors nor governments adequately address Uyghur forced labour risks in the renewable energy sector.

In Slavery Poisons Solar Industry’s Supply Chains, Miles Pollard reports that roughly 80% of solar components are manufactured in China using slave labor.

See European Parliament resolutions regarding forced labor in China to make solar PVs. See the 2021 U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which expanded the mandate that all U.S. companies importing silicon from Xinjiang confirm supply chains free of forced labor. In June 2021, a US Withhold Release Order prevented imports containing silicon from Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd and its subsidiaries from entering the U.S. until importing companies could prove they were not made with forced labor.

What to do? Solar corporations should obtain nearby communities’ free, prior and informed consent before mining or smelting. They can use standards like the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition’s Solar Scorecard. The Solar Equipment Buyers’ Guide for Supply Chain Traceability explains how manufacturers can track finished solar modules’ material origins.

Before buying solar PVs, require the manufacturer to trace its supply chains.

Read Tuco’s Child, a Substack written by a retired chemist who worked in nanomaterials, polymer chemistry, semi-conductor process engineering and the mining industry and treated wastewater from semiconductor effluent. See his photo essay, Fossil Fuels Create 1 Trillion Computer Chips per Year. Computer chips and solar panel wafers are both made from silicon. Making silicon is like working in a volcano. Every 50,000 tons of silicon produces 500,000 tons of CO2. (Solar PVs also use copper, aluminum, boron, phosphorous, PFAs and much more.) Since recycling solar panels is not feasible or economical, expect an avalanche of solar panels at the landfill near you (another fab photo essay from Tuco’s Child).


Tuco’s Child also reports that wind turbine blade waste will exceed 43 million tons/year by 2050.

Major offshore wind projects in New York have been canceled.

U.S. wind generation declined in 2023 for the first time since the 1990s despite the addition of 6.2 gigawatts (GW) of new wind capacity in 2023. Power Plant Operations Report shows that U.S. wind generation in 2023 totaled 425,235 gigawatt hours (GWh), 2.1% less than in 2022. For a list of wind and solar facilities rejected by NIMBYs, see Robert Bryce’s Renewable Rejection Database. See also Bryce’s “Wind/Solar/Al-Energy Subsidies to Cost Federal Taxpayers $425 Billion Between Now and 2033.”


A 2022 California energy bill has households paying a fixed monthly charge in exchange for lower rates for each kilowatt hour used. Opponents call the legislation a financial gift to investor-owned utilities. Californians who use little electricity pay more, while people who use lots of electricity save money. The policy signals “that conservation doesn’t count,” said Environmental Working Group’s Ken Cook. The new law’s inspiration came from a 2021 paper written by UC/Berkeley’s Energy Institute (partly funded by utilities). The paper detailed how costs for building “renewable” energy plants, burying power lines to reduce wildfire risks, and compensating fire victims increased electric rates—and discouraged Californians from buying EVs and electric appliances.

For a deeper dive, please read my Substack, “Discovering Power’s Traps: a primer for electricity users.”

Isaac Orr and Mitch Rolling (Energy Bad Boys), “Green-PlatingTM the Grid: How Utilities Exploit the ‘Energy Transition’ to Rake in Record Profits.”


Ed Ballard, “Air Conditioning and AI are Demanding More of the World’s Power—Renewables Can’t Keep Up: Renewables can’t keep up with growth, which means more coal and more emissions.”

Amy Luers, et al., “Will AI accelerate or delay the race to net-zero emissions?As AI transforms the global economy, researchers need to explore scenarios to assess how it can help, rather than harm, the climate.” Nature, April 2024. This article says that AI’s energy costs are a small percentage of global energy costs—but doesn’t count the energy (or mining, water, or indigenous community impacts) involved in manufacturing devices and operating AI’s infrastructure. The push is for standards—a long slow, industry-run process—not actions. Power grid outages are considered ‘local’ problems…without recognizing data centers’ global impacts.

Indigenous peoples rush to stop ‘false climate solutions’ ahead of next international climate meeting: COP29 could make carbon markets permanent. Indigenous leaders are calling for a moratorium before it’s too late.” Maria Parazo Rose, April 22, 2024.

Matteo Wong, “The AI Revolution is Crushing Thousands of Languages: English is the internet’s primary tongue—which may have unexpected consequences as generative AI becomes central to daily life,” The Atlantic, April, 2024.

Karen Hao, “AI is Taking Water from the Desert: New data centers are springing up every week. Can the Earth sustain them?” The Atlantic, March 1, 2024.

Valovic, Tom, Big Tech Companies Are Becoming More Powerful Than Nation-States. Already richer than many countries, AI’s rise looks to increase big tech companies’ influence.


How G.M. Tricked Millions of Drivers into Being Spied On (Including Me)

by Kashmir Hill, The NY Times, April 23, 2024. When this privacy reporter bought a Chevrolet Bolt, two risk-profiling companies got detailed data about her driving. (Note: new, gas-powered vehicles also provide detailed data to profilers.)

Bruno Venditti, “Visualized: How much do (replacement) EV batteries cost?” October 15, 2023.

Purdue University, the Indiana Dept. of Transportation and Cummins Inc. will build the U.S.’s first electric charging highway. Transmitter coils installed under pavement in dedicated lanes will send power to receiver coils attached to vehicles’ undersides. What if people with medical implants (deep brain stimulators, insulin pumps, cochlear implants, pacemakers) experience electronic interference?


People of Red Mountain: Life Over Lithium (an excellent, short film about mining Thacker Pass for EVs). See also my Substacks, “When Land I Love Holds Lithium: Max Wilbert on Thacker Pass” and “What choices do we have—when a corporation wants to do business?

Eileen Crist on deep-sea mining with appropriately systemic responses.

DRC Bleeds Conflict Minerals for Green Growth,” by Alexandria Shaner.


Jessica Grose, “Every Tech Tool in the Classroom Should Be Ruthlessly evaluated,” NY Times, April 25, 2024. OpEd.

Patricia Burke, “The FCC is the Bully Boarding the School Bus: The Eyes are (Not) Having It.” Excessive screen-time leads to eye damage, yet the FCC funds installation of Wi-Fi on school buses, supposedly so that children can do homework while riding.

Environmental Health Trust (EHT) revealed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hid test results showing that smartphones in close proximity to the body (i.e., in a pocket) exceed federal radiation exposure limits. EHT’s Theodora Scarato says: “Why did the FCC perform these tests and then decide to not release the results…while it was conducting a rule-making on this very subject? Why did the FCC refuse to release all the records on this issue? It is outrageous that the U.S. allows phones to be tested with whatever separation distance the companies want. Children and adults (keep) phones pressed to their bodies for hours every day. We need a strong oversight and compliance program…that reflects the way people use phones.”

Is Elon Musk’s Starlink Constellation Slowly Poisoning Earth? Starlink satellites could be eroding Earth’s magnetic field and slowly poisoning us all.

People undergoing therapeutic radiation should avoid exposure to wireless radiation prior to, during, and after treatment. In combination, it could seriously damage DNA. Medical/radiology practitioners need education about the risks of EMF-exposures combined with ionizing radiation.

GOOD NEWS…that might dovetail an era of humility  

In Finland, a daycare replaced its sandy playground with grass, dwarf heather, planter boxes and blueberries. The children tended them. After one month, the children had healthier microbiomes and stronger immune systems than their counterparts in other urban daycares. Researchers conclude that loss of biodiversity in urban areas can contribute to poorer health outcomes; and easy environmental changes can radically improve children’s health.

In Denmark, engineers, architects and manufacturers have written the Reduction Roadmap. They advocate for living on less space. Re-using building materials, elements and structures. Selecting low-carbon, biogenic and regional building materials. Applying life cycle thinking to reduce carbon emissions and building materials’ environmental impacts. Using renewable energy for heating, cooling and electricity. (I question this one.) Collaborate.

In the UK, Daisy Greenwell reports that 75,000 parents have come together to give their kids a smartphone-free childhood, April 29, 2024.

In the Washington Post, Joanna Slater reports “How a Connecticut middle school won the battle against cellphones,A study shows that banning smartphones decreases bullying among both genders. Girls’ GPA improves, and their likelihood of attending an academic high school increases. Consider banning smartphones at school a low-cost policy to improve student outcomes.

Katie Singer writes about the energy, extractions, toxic waste and greenhouse gases involved in manufacturing computers, telecom infrastructure, electric vehicles and other electronic technologies. Visit and