Two readers have offered a much more expansive view on the wave of electric cars, solar batteries and daunting, unintended consequences. The news ain’t good. Plus news from Retake Leadership retreat.
Saturday, August 3, 12:30-2:30pm, EarthCare and the Youth United for Climate Crisis Action, Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. are holding a planning meeting to prepare for the September 20 General Strike. Their last meeting was jammed with people and enthusiasm. Find out how this youth-led coalition is injecting clarity and urgency into local climate crisis action.
Retake Our Democracy: Critical Organizing Meeting, Tuesday, August 6, 6:30-8:30pm, 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe.
Retake leadership met in a full day retreat on Tuesday and it is beyond encouraging to see a group of ten committed volunteers cohere around a clear vision and plan for the future of Retake. At the beginning of the retreat each person was asked: “Why do you commit time to Retake?” The responses and a goodly part of what we discussed throughout the day was that in these increasingly challenging times, there is great value not just in having an avenue within which to express your activism, but also the critical value of forming friendships based upon a common goal, a shared ideology and creating an advocacy “home.”
Over the past 2 1/2 years many of you have come to a Retake meeting or two. We want to invite you to consider coming home to Retake next Tuesday. Let’s advance our values and priorities while forming a sustainable organization and community.
We now have a formalized structure with four Action Teams offering you ways to become more involved on a sustained basis. And while we want you to come to our meeting to help us build an advocacy home, we also now can integrate you into the work no matter where you live.
At the retreat we clarified how Action Teams will function and examined how we can work with YOU to help build a sustainable organization, how we can grow new leadership, and how we can grow an advocate community. We will share some of our long-term plans in the first 30 minutes of the meeting and then break out into Action Teams. Can’t make it, we have contact info below, so you can get involved.
- Media & Marketing. We are looking for people who want to write letters to the editor and op-eds on a rotating list of critical issues. Interested? Contact Joyce Begosian at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Outreach & Organizing. Are you livid that our Senate failed to decriminalize abortion? Our Outreach & Organizing Team is reaching out to advocates in all eight Senate Districts represented by one of the eight Senators who voted no on HB 51. We are organizing in those districts to make sure abortion decrim passes in 2020. Interested? Contact Sandy Dransfield at email@example.com.
- Research. Do you want to use your thinking and research skills to prepare white papers on making a just transition in New Mexico? Or on the economic benefits of investing in early childhood? Or exposing the false narrative projected by pro-lifers and the NRA? Interested? Contact Katie Bruell at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Climate -Environmental Action. Methane capture? Chaco protection? Transition to renewable? Fracking regulations? Holtec? Chromium plume? Our Climate-Environment Action team is forming to monitor how NM commissions and departments protect our planet. The team will collaborate with the Research Team to develop positions in relation to these and other issues and then funnel information to Roxanne and I to encourage written comment or hearing attendance. Interested? Contact Sharon Shoemaker at email@example.com
Revision to Report Card. Over the past two days, we have been contacted by a handful of allies who were concerned that by being listed in the Report Card, it might be inferred that they had in some way contributed to or approve all of its contents. Their fear is that as 501-c-3s they can’t make the kinds of claims found throughout the Report Card. To accommodate the concerns of our allies, the list of Retake Our Democracy’s allies was removed in a July 31, 2019 revision of the Report Card. FYI–restrictions on what a 501-c-3 organization can and can’t report is precisely why Retake has chosen to be a 501-c-4 which has far more latitude in what it can say and do.
To be clear, none of our allies participated in the writing of this report, nor do they necessarily support all the views stated in this report. We consulted with allies to learn about their work during Roundhouse sessions and to get their input on legislation of shared interest. We also relied on allies, as experts in their respective advocacy areas, to help us develop speaking points to advocate for the issues they support and to gather information about the status of legislation as it moved through the session. In case you haven’t read the 2019 Legislative Report Card, click here. It has received a good deal of praise for getting behind the scenes at the Roundhouse and disclosing how legislation becomes law and how bills are killed without discussion or votes. Check it out.
Readers Add Much More to Post About Electric Cars
Tuesday’s post, Are Electric Cars a Solution to the Climate Crisis? discussed the environmental and human rights costs involved in the supply chain for renewable energy battery storage. Since its publication, we’ve had two very thoughtful reader comments on that blog. We also received an email posing concerns about the post as from his view, if we don’t go full speed ahead on all things renewable, we will have no humans whose rights will need protecting. So we have a worthwhile discussion to have.
I don’t think many readers routinely review the comments on posts, which is too bad, as increasingly there are a dozen or so folks who very often amplify on the theme of a post with valuable insights and links to more information. That is the case on Tuesday and so below, I offer up comments from two readers and pose this question:
What kinds of human rights abuses and environmental compromises can or must be tolerated to accelerate development of energy storage and a 100% renewable energy system? We have advocated strongly for not creating a sacrifice zone in Four Corners. Can we turn a blind eye to sacrifice zones in the Congo? Argentina? China? South Korea? How does a movement that is fundamentally tied to climate and social justice weigh these choices?
After reading the two guest comments, please chime in with your views.
From William Finnoff, a frequent contributor
This article is a useful reminder that one needs to look at
the entire production cycle and supply chain of a technology when assessing its
environmental impact. For a description of the various raw materials and their
sources used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, see:
Lithium-ion (LI) is the predominant battery technology used
in EV’s as well as for the batteries used in computers, smart phones and other
portable electronic devices. LI is also currently the most cost effective (and
common) battery technology used in connection with intermittent renewable
energy sources such as wind and solar for supply/demand matching and in power
grid supply regulation. See:
It should be noted that there are other battery technologies that are close to competitive in this type of application (in particular what are referred to as ‘flow’ battery technologies, and even in some cases, traditional lead-acid types). Of course, all of these have their own raw material supply chain issues as is the case with many rare earths used in the production of photo-voltaic solar cells.
Many of the rare materials used in these applications are currently produced as by products in the refining of more common industrial raw materials such as zinc or copper (although one, Gallium, is refined from the coal ash residue from coal fired power plants). See:
One of the key challenges (that few people seem to want to talk about) in a large scale transition to renewable energy is finding sufficient sources for many of the raw materials required for these technologies when deployed at the massive scale required for a major transition as well as the associated environmental challenges of the associated mining, refining and (when possible) recycling such materials. One thing that is clear is that the current sources of many of these materials (as by-products of other industrial processes) will not produce nearly enough to cover massively increased demand.
From Mary, another frequent contributor
Nowhere is public transportation, trains and investment in infrastructure for rebuilding the railroad system ever discussed. The media gawks all over Tesla, and rarely covers anything to do with transportation. Adding vehicles to the already dangerously over crowded over stressed highways system, only because they appear cleaner, is ridiculous. Huge areas are devoted to parking, and vehicles, it even impacts housing.
This country needs systemic change, not more of the same, shiny electric vehicles are not going to fundamentally change anything. The corporations continue to use the rail system we paid for, and continue to pay for, while most people have no access. Rail could replace a lot of airplane flights too, as it already does in the Northeast Corridor. In China the citizens have high speed rail, something they have suppressed here.
The batteries in those electric cars require a lot of minerals, and those minerals and their extraction are contributing to Global Warming, and numerous human rights violations and support corruption and terrorism. https://www.icij.org/investigations/fatal-extraction/ Numerous mines in Central America are poisoning the water, killing indigenous leaders, and driving migration here. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jul/30/el-salvador-water-crisis-privatization-gangs-corruption
Electric cars and disposable electronics are driving this gold rush into mineral extraction. In Brazil, the rain forest is disappearing, and more indigenous are being killed, https://www.ecowatch.com/brazil-mining-indigenous-lands-2631737058.html?rebelltitem=1 The ravages don’t stop there, right up the hill in Pecos, an Australian mining company is planning to exploit the lax regulations, poverty and corruption, and mine up there. https://www.abqjournal.com/1325179/mining-company-proposing-drilling-north-of-pecos.html
There is nothing “Green” about electric cars, but we need a real solution to the environmental and societal damage done by only investing in roads for vehicles. Communities have been destroyed by the over reliance on cars. Other developed nations have robust public transportation systems, and owning a car is a choice. We have not seen one of these “billionaires” go after the destruction caused by the extraction industry, because they are profiting from it.
American media just does not cover any of this, https://www.icij.org/investigations/fatal-extraction/ nt 1;
So, should our investment be focused on transportation systems? Can we obtain the needed minerals to construct solar panels and battery storage without gutting human rights or destroying swathes of land in the Congo? Weigh in.
Paul & Roxanne