Changing the energy model means doubling the production of rare metals about every 15 years, mostly to satisfy demand for non-ferrous magnets and lithium-ion batteries.
To date, we — meaning, generally, western developed countries like the U.S. — have outsourced most of the mining and refining of rare metals required for technology and energy to China. As a result, China now controls 95% of the rare earth metals market, and makes 80 to 90% of the batteries for electric vehicles, and more than half the magnets in wind turbines and electric motors.
And, also as a result, 80% of China’s water isn’t fit for human consumption (which means it also isn’t fit for non-human consumption either), and 1.6 million people die every year there from air pollution.
Biden has, in a recent executive order and in his recent infrastructure plan announcement indicated that he wants to create domestic supply chains for the metals and materials required to completely replace the U.S.’s energy infrastructure. Well, yes, we shouldn’t be outsourcing these incredibly dirty industries to other countries, because that’s not fair: it allows us to pretend they are “clean”, when in fact they are not. Maybe bringing them home, as it were, would wake people up.
However, it also means that, now that we’ve destroyed China and other developing nations for our metals and materials greed, we will be destroying what’s left of our own nation for the same. Which means even less habitat left for people and the non-human beings who never asked for any of this, who don’t want any of this, and who know that we don’t need any of this to live a good life on this planet, assuming we don’t destroy what’s left of it.
Mining is ecological ruination. We must stop mining if we have any hope of a future for our children, grand-children, or non-human beings on this earth.
Stand with us to fight mining and #ProtectThackerPass.
Art by Travis London, Deep Green Arts.