Lithium extraction fields in South America have been captured by an aerial photographer in stunning high definition (August 6th, 2022).
Lithium Leach Fields are used in the mining and extraction of Lithium, a core component of batteries used in both electric vehicles and cell phones (including e-readers), and represent the dark side of our swiftly electrifying world. That contrary to commonly held beliefs, mining this element can be harmful to the environment.
Lithium can be described as the non-renewable mineral that makes renewable energy possible - often touted as the next oil. However, any type of resource extraction is harmful to the planet. This is because removing these raw materials can result in soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem functions and an increase in global warming.
When we think of extraction, we think of fossil fuels like coal and gas. However, Lithium also falls under the same umbrella.
The production of lithium through evaporation ponds uses around 21 million litres per day. Approximately 2.2 million litres of water is needed to produce one ton of lithium. A similar report published in 2021 by the nonprofit BePe (Bienaventuradors de Pobres) also identifies water as a primary concern for lithium mining operations.
It claims that not enough research has been done on the potential contamination of water and “activity must be stopped until studies are available to reliably determine the magnitude of the damage.”
Gleb Yushin, a professor at the School of Materials and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, US, argues that new battery technology needs to be developed using more common, environmentally-friendly materials. His paper is published in the journal Nature, alongside co-authors including Kostiantyn Turcheniuk.
Combined with the toxicity of the disposal of cell phone (and e-reader) batteries into landfills, and the additional fact that paper mills plant 4 trees for every 3 trees they harvest, the answer become obvious; Sustainable Publishing.
Tune into Daytime Ottawa TV, with host Derick Fage, as Broken Keys Publishing & Press' Editor-in-chief, Michel Weatherall, speaks on the topic of Sustainable Publishing, what it means, what you can do to help, and local bookstores that will be participating.
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