The wind is powerful tonight in Thacker Pass! Nature is fierce — but the land cannot defend itself against brutal, lying, profit-driven corporations and greenwashers without our help, so we are braving the 40 mph winds and freezing temperatures to stand again this project!
Tonight I will share Lithium Wars #5 — the first video from the Thacker Pass occupation, recorded earlier today on the mountainside above our camp. 🙏


Hello everyone. As many of you already know at this point, on Friday the 15th of January we began a permanent protest occupation of this site here behind me. We’re at a place called Thacker Pass, Nevada, and a Canadian mining company called Lithium Americas plans to build a massive open-pit lithium mine right here.

So I don’t know how much you can see in this video, but that’s our camp down there. And if this mining project goes ahead there will be a two-mile wide, mile across open-pit mine covering about half of the entire pass that you can see from here. Now that could expand even further in the future on the far side of Thacker Pass over there to the south. That whole side is labeled an exploration zone, as is this area over to the east. Now this mine would essentially bulldoze, destroy and dig up about 6,000 acres of this desert habitat out here. Let’s see if I can get out of the wind. It’s a little breezy up here…January in the mountains in Nevada. So, between five and six thousand acres of this land behind me would be destroyed for this project. For those who don’t know, lithium is in high demand right now because it is the primary ingredient in electric vehicle batteries. So as we are seeing this transition from a fossil fuel-powered economy to a quote unquote “renewable economy”, the demand for lithium is skyrocketing not just here in Nevada but all over the world. Lithium mining is big business in Australia, in China, and especially in the so-called ABC region in South America – Argentina, Bolivia and Chile where their borders intersect in the high desert regions there in terrain that is not too dissimilar from this. But in that area you find salt flats, and that’s where they extract the lithium from.

Large bird down here. Maybe a golden eagle. They’re known to inhabit this project area and they do not like human disturbance. They do not like human activity, buildings, noise, blasting… They will move away. They will leave regions where this type of activity is happening. And golden eagles are at a fraction of their historic habitat.

So, many people, they hear that we are resisting a lithium mine, and they think to themselves, or they say, ‘Why would you fight back against this? Isn’t this so much better than fossil fuels?’ And what I want people to recognize is that there’s no difference between the type of mine they want to build here for lithium and an open-pit mountaintop removal coalmine. It’s the same process, the same technology, and the same scale of destruction. They want to remove an entire mountainside here and destroy it more or less permanently. They’re talking about mining here for 50 years and then engaging in “remediation”. But as many people know, this is an old-growth sagebrush habitat. Some of these sage bushes, like this one right here, may be a hundred years old – many hundreds of years old. The soil crusts on this fragile, desert soil takes centuries to develop. This is an old-growth desert ecosystem and it may not be as impressive, as in your face as a towering ancient redwood forest, but there’s the same level of complexity. The same level of biodiversity. The same level of life and vitality in this land. Is it right to destroy that so that people can have electric cars? So that wealthy people can have electric cars and get around fast, get where they want to go?
We don’t need electric cars. We may want them. People may desire them, but we do not need them. It is an artificial demand. A created demand. And as long as we live in a car culture which almost makes the use of cars necessary because people have to work, because people essentially don’t have access to land, they don’t have access to get the necessities of life themselves, then we won’t be able to move away from this. But until then, this is part of the resistance to car culture, what we’re doing right here. This is part of the resistance, to not just electric cars, but fossil fuel-powered cars as well because we need to stop all these mines everywhere in the world. Whether they’re for coal, whether we’re talking about drilling for fracking, drilling for oil, whether we’re talking about lithium mining, gold mining, other types of extractive industries…these things are all based on a mindset of consumption. A culture of growth. A culture of accumulation. That is a plan that is a dead end. It’s not going anywhere except the destruction of the vast majority and potentially all life on this planet. That’s where it’s headed. If we’re honest about it, that’s exactly where it’s headed.

So, as I said on Friday we set up our permanent protesting camp and down here, right in the middle of where they want to put the open-pit. I was here back in October. I visited the site and I found a prairie falcon feather. That’s the desert variant of the peregrine falcon. They sometimes interbreed when the ranges overlap. I found a red-tailed hawk feather, two raven feathers, and a greater sage grouse feather. The greater sage grouse is a bird that is at between 1 and 3% of its historic population levels. So, that means between 97 and 99% of those birds have been wiped out. And this region right here, this population management unit (as called by the wildlife agencies) is the most important unit in all of Nevada. The densest sage grouse populations. This region contains between 5 and 8% of the total global sage grouse population. That’s just one species among many.

I think it’s too easy to fall into a scientific mindset when we’re talking about places like this. It’s too easy to say, ‘Well, it’s a reasonable trade-off. It’s a reasonable trade-off to destroy this land for electric cars because we really want them. There are sage grouse everywhere. They can survive. They’ll make it. They’ll be okay.’ That’s not the reality. The natural world is dying of a thousand cuts right now. A thousand slices just like this over and over and over again for decades – for centuries – that this culture, this Wetiko culture, this culture of empire has been perpetrating against the natural world. So we set up this camp here and we need people to join us. If people want to support what we’re doing out here, the number one thing they can do is come and join us. We mean to be out here for the long term and for this project to be successful for us to defend this place, we will need dozens maybe hundreds of people to come out here and help protect it.

This is going to be a big fight. It’s going to take time. But we think it’s important not only to protect this place, but as a symbol. Because not only do we need to protect Thacker Pass but we need to reject that bright green lie. That ideology that says we can just transition this culture away from fossil fuels and towards wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles and everything will be okay. That is one of the most dangerous lies that is being perpetuated in our culture right now because it allows people to maintain the illusion that we can continue this high energy way of life, that we can continue this high consumption way of life, that we can continue with population growth, with GDP growth, with expansion, with living beyond our means energetically on this planet. It allows people to continue believing this lie which is critical to the maintenance of Empire in the 21st century.

Everyone knows what’s happening with global warming. Everyone knows the harms of fossil fuels. There’s increasing opposition to these industries but not many people have yet turned on to the reality of the harms of so-called green technology. That’s the importance of this project. We need to expand our focus beyond just fossil fuels to the extractive mindset as a whole. To the culture of extraction. To the world view that says ‘It is okay to blow up an entire mountain pass and build electric cars, consumer products, vehicles in factories, ship them all over the world, and call that a green mine.’ That’s the lie that Lithium Americas is telling us. That’s the lie that Tesla and all these electric car manufacturers are telling us… That it is okay to destroy this land. To desecrate this place. To destroy all the thousands, millions and billions of lives who live on this land now and for all future generations for the sake of somebody getting in the car, pressing that button and feeling that electric car come on. That’s the lie. That’s what we have to combat.

So we need your help. We can’t do this alone. As I’m recording this video there are only two of us out here. We are a small group. We have a lot of supporters around the world. A lot of supporters in the region who are helping us with things like supplies, donations, media. These are all important. Sign up on the website for our email list to get action alerts. We need more people to help organize. We need people working independently to fight this project project in their own way, forming their own affinity groups, to carry out their own campaigns and actions around this issue. But the most important thing we need is people to come out here and join us. That is the number one thing. Whether you can come for a day, for a weekend, for a week, for a month, for longer. It’s not easy to be out here. We’ve been out here for a few days and we’ve seen temperatures of 15 or 20 degrees. We’ve seen 30 mile an hour winds. We’ve seen blazing sun like this all day. You can probably tell that I’m a little sunburned. You know, this is a bit of a remote place. We’re not out in the middle of nowhere. I mean, there’s a town 15 miles down there. But this is not a place that a lot of people feel comfortable showing up to. This is not a rally downtown that people can come to for an hour, go back home and grab some lunch and turn on the TV, right? We need a higher level of commitment. We need a higher level of involvement, engagement. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m here. Because there is a lot of work to be done to protect this place and we need your help. We need help of everyone who values the natural world, who values sanity in the face of these incessant lies.

You know, I’m walking around in this area up here above our camp, on the mountainside. We call this the amphitheater. It’s kind of these layers of this red rock here. We’re on the old yellow stone hotspot. That’s why this region, geologically, why these soils have lithium in them. This is an important region for all the beings who live here. There are species of snails who only live in this area. Only live in springs. About 13 or 14 springs in this pass and wrapping around the edge of the mountains here. That’s their only home in the whole world – 13 or 14 springs. Nobody’s ever been able to transplant a single spring snail species into an aquatic tank or another spring and have them live there. They’re exquisitely adapted to the precise chemistry, soil conditions, water temperature, pH of these springs right here. This is their home. We’ve got one chance to protect this place or they’ll be gone. We’ve got one chance to protect this place where the pronghorn antelope migration routes that cut through this valley connect this mountain range to the north with this mountain range to the south because there’s so much agriculture on either side in these valleys. This is a critical connectivity corridor. Not just for the antelope but for the sage grouse. We’ve got one chance to protect them. One chance. We’ve got one chance to protect the golden eagles who live here. We’ve got one chance to protect the Crosby’s buckwheat – a rare plant species that exists in this area, that lives down this way. We’ve got one chance.

So I’m here. I’m going to be doing what I can. This is hard work. It’s tiring to be out here. It’s challenging. It’s cold. It’s hot. It’s sweaty. We haven’t had a shower in days already and we’re just getting started. We’re cooking on our stove and this wind’s blowing it out. We’re in our tent and the wind is flapping it like crazy, making a hard to sleep. We are doing our best to take care of ourselves and be here for the long term because this is challenging work. We’ve spent hours and hours every day on the phone, on the internet, organizing, reaching out to media outlets, reaching out to allies, trying to get people involved, tying to get people part of the struggle. This is challenging work. It’s tiring. It’s tiring. We need help. We can’t do this alone. This has to be a collective project. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting this place right here then we need to do it together.

And there are a few more points I should mention about this mine and how egregious it is as an example of greenwashing. Their main chemical to be used in the processing of this lithium is sulfur and they plan to get this sulfur from oil refineries. From waste product from oil refineries and ship it here to be used in the processing of lithium to make electric vehicles. And they call this green. They call this green. Can you believe that? Can you believe that? They talk about burning 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel per day for this project and they call it green. Can you believe that? Can you believe that lie? Can you believe that level of deception, that level of green washing? We need to put a stop to this and that’s going to take everyone working together. You know, the agencies have been…a friend put it like this, he said, Nevada is a banana republic for mining companies. Most of the agencies, the state government, the local government, they’re mostly in the hands of the mining companies. Those are the major employers in many of these regions. Not right here because there’s no mine yet. There’s a lot of people who have a financial stake in this project. They want to see it go forward because they stand to make a lot of money off of this thing. This project may produce 25% of the world’s lithium supply. That’s what the company is telling. That’s what they’re saying. 25% of the entire world will lithium supply. That is worth billions upon billions of dollars. There is a lot of money wrapped up in this. This is the new gold rush right here, and we need to be wary. We need to be watching out for this. We need to be on guard against this type of greenwashing, and we need to push back hard against these types of projects. So I’ll leave you with just a little taste of the stillness and the sound of the wind in the mountains out here. This is Thacker Pass.