This video comes from the top of a ridge directly to the east of the proposed Rhyolite Ridge open-pit lithium mine in Southern Nevada. After arriving by moonlight the night before, I scrambled up this rocky ridge in the dawn light to get an overview of the landscape. Everything that you see here is under threat for electric car batteries.

This is habitat for Tiehm’s buckwheat, cholla cactus, sagebrush, rabbitbrush, prairie falcon, desert bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, jackrabbit, ring-tailed cat, and literally hundreds of other species.

Is it worth destroying their home and their lives for electric cars?

This is the traditional territory of the Walker River Paiute, the Agai-Dicutta Numa, and other bands of the Northern Paiute.


All right, hopefully you can hear me okay. It’s pretty dang windy up here but it’s morning now. It’s about 7 am and you can get a better sense of the projects right now. You can see where they want to put this massive lithium mine. It’s essentially this entire landscape in front of us here. This entire basin area between these high peaks over to the south and these other peaks over to the north through this pass that we came up in, that the road comes along. This entire zone here, they want to turn this into a giant open-pit mine a mile across.

And for those who haven’t spent time out in the desert, you know, you can look out at a landscape like this and just think this is empty and that could not be further from the truth. The biodiversity that’s out here is incredible. The biodiversity of all the different types of sage and rabbit brush and ephedra; the juniper trees and all the different types of plants; and you have the wild grasses; you have flowering plants; there’s some beautiful flowering plants down here last night that the insects were just swarming around. Beautiful. And then of course you have the Tiehm’s buckwheat which only lives right here. This is its only home in the entire world – in the scope of what you can see, what we are looking at right now. And this mining company thinks that their profit is more important. They think that their ability to come in here and blow the shit out of this place is more important than the beings who live here, their right to exist, right?

I’ve been seeing all kinds of rabbit action. We saw a kangaroo mouse on the way in last night, we’ve got deer tracks on the trail, birds down at the the little spring down here, water source, natural water source. As I was hiking up this steep hillside here, I saw some sort of bird of prey, maybe a Cooper’s hawk chasing after a flock of smaller birds. I couldn’t tell who they were from far away. You know, right in the project area. That’s all gone. That’s all gone if the mine happens. That’s all gone, and never coming back. Not within any sort of meaningful human time scale. So we’re going to go get an up-close look at the buckwheat today and check out the habitat throughout this zone, check out the other creatures who are here, try to meet them. Working on some writing. You know, I want people to show up for this. I want people to show up for this place and for other places. Wild places. It doesn’t take that many people to defend a place like this. It just takes people who are very determined and who are willing to put in the work.