by Max Wilbert, Jan 28, 2021
I have heard it said that one of humans most impressive traits is our ability to delude ourselves. Nowhere is this more clear than here at Thacker Pass.
Fourteen days ago, my friend Will Falk and I set up a protest camp here to stop Lithium Americas corporation from bulldozing and blowing up more than 5,000 acres of this teeming, biodiverse sagebrush steppe to extract lithium for electric cars.
If you believe the hype, this is a “green” mining project. Lithium Americas claims on their website that “environmental leadership is a core value” and that their “Thacker Pass [mine proposal] has been engineered to minimize the environmental footprint by avoiding sensitive environmental habitat.”
Investors and supporters of this mine claim that lithium is a key part of a “green economy.”
When those who resist, like me, bring up the pronghorn antelope, the sage-grouse, the Lahontan cutthroat trout, the Pygmy rabbits, the old-growth sagebrush, and the thousands of other life forms who call Thacker Pass and her watershed home, we are told that “sacrifices must be made.”
Interestingly, these sacrifices are never required of Lithium Americas CEO, Board of Directors, investors, partners, and financiers. As usual, the natural world is what is sacrificed on the altar of progress.
Robert Jay Lifton is a psychotherapist who studies the origins of violence. One of his most important ideas is his “claim to virtue” hypothesis.