Ends, Means, Nonviolence and Lithium: The Climate Minute's Lithium Series (Episode 5)

One philosophical approach says that how we mine lithium is just as important as why we mine it. The ‘end’ of a green economy is tied to the means we use to get there. We speak with an expert who tells us that nonviolence is a good tool to use in thinking about how we make the just transition to a new energy economy.

The reading list:

Barry L. Gan is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at St. Bonaventure University. He is the author of Violence and Nonviolence: An Introduction. He is also co-editor with Robert L. Holmes of a leading anthology on nonviolence, Nonviolence in Theory and Practice, now in a third edition; and for twenty-five years he was editor of The Acorn: Journal of the Gandhi-King Society. For two years he served as program committee chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest and largest interfaith peace group in the United States, and also served for three years as co-editor of Peace and Change, a quarterly journal of peace research.

After receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1981 and 1984, respectively, he taught at St. Bonaventure University for thirty-six years before retiring in 2021. Prior to that he taught high school and junior high school English for six years. He is married to Miaoli Zhang, a former trainer in microscopic photography for Olympus of China. He has a daughter who is a writer and previously worked as School Programs Coordinator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a son who is a writer and now works in the field of search engine optimization, and a stepson who also does freelance writing.

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


A lithium mine threatens Thacker Pass: The Climate Minute's Lithium Series (Episode 4)

As the global demand for new lithium surges, a pristine spot in Nevada is slated for an open pit lithium mine. An ongoing encampment at Thacker Pass offers resistance. Listen in to activist and author Max Wilbert, who raises difficult questions such as: When we speak of sustainability, are we sustaining life, or just a life-style?

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Troubling facts about lithium mining: The Climate Minute's Lithium Series (Episode 3)

If we don’t recycle it, then we must mine new lithium. We speak with an expert from EarthWorks on the troubling truth that lithium mining, from brine or ‘hard rock’ is damaging to local environments and communities. We discuss how to tell if your lithium is responsibly sourced.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Lithium at the critical juncture: The Climate Minute's Lithium Series (Episode2)

Mining lithium for EV batteries puts the tradeoff of green transport and local environmental damage in high relief. We talk to an expert- Professor Thea Riofrancos of Providence College, who has studied the question. Her advice is to look at the current moment as a 'critical juncture' that will define our path into the decarbonized future, but also to try to imagine a middle ground where we have a green society that does not destroy local habitats.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Looking at the Energy Transition through the Lithium Lens: The Climate Minute Lithium Series

As heat waves and floods assault us, humans are in the midst of a great societal energy transition. We must find ways to decarbonize. The question is no longer if, but rather how, to build the clean energy system we need. The coming changes are so broad that they can be hard to comprehend. It is helpful to narrow the discussion. In this series of podcasts, we study the big question of "how" to build a new future thru the lens of a specific issue: the production and use of lithium. Listen in as we dip our toes into the oceans of questions about how to build a just energy transition.

Batteries are essential to practical renewable energy systems, as well as the electric vehicles so central to our thinking about the economy. The atomic element lithium is essential to the manufacture of batteries. As demand for lithium skyrockets in the wake of increased EV production, we must ask "where is that lithium coming from?" Raw lithium is most often found near marginalized communities, be it the Atacama Desert in South America or near indigenous lands in Nevada. The current methods of mining lithium are extremely damaging to land and communities that surround the resource. The moral question is this: does the supposed benefit of 'an EV in every garage" outweigh the clear damage done by lithium mining? Are sacrifice zones acceptable so that we can drive EVs? Or should we phrase the question more gently and ask how we can build a green future and preserve local communities.

In this series of podcasts we will talk to several experts:

  • Professor Thea Riofrancos of Providence College tells us about the 'critical junction' at which our society stands. Our decision now will determine the future.
  • Benjamin Hitchcock Auciello of Earthworks discusses the nature of lithium mining and the opportunities for recycling.
  • Author Max Wilbert, currently encamped at Thacker Pass, asks if an EV is a right or a privilege.
  • Professor Barry Gan of Saint Bonaventure University helps us understand how Gandhi's ideas on non-violence can help us manage the 'ends vs means' questions.
Read more

Peak days need a shave! The Climate Minute

It turns out that those hot humid August days are great opportunities to take climate action. We talk with an expert about how to cut carbon emissions and save money, by participating in Green Energy Consumer Alliance's "Shave the Peak" program. It is free and will make you feel better about the heat.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


Theologia Solis: The Climate Minute

How do you build a moral code based on principles the Sun has ‘taught’ us? How can we incorporate scientific lessons about ecological systems into our lives?

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre

 


Green Prophets, Climate Saints and Eco-Bodhisattvas: The Climate Minute

In honor of the summer solstice, we got thinking about how the onrush of climate change demands rethinking of our moral, ethical and perhaps even religious stance to life. Should we treat the sun as a god? Who would be our saints?

Recently we posted discussion on how reasonable a solar deity actually is, because the sun:

  • is real
  • created us
  • sustains our life
  • teaches us how to live
  • inspires awe.

Discussing new religions, or at least new moral philosophies, can seem presumptuous or even ridiculous. However, religions are human creations and there is a long American tradition of spiritual innovation. The book "Restless Souls" make the connection of modern day "New Age" religions to a history going back to the founding of our country as a place of religious freedom. Further, Reza Aslan's's book "Zealot" makes the case that the success of the Catholic Church was Saint Paul's accommodation of the revolutionary teachings of Christ to the Roman hunger for a personal connection to the divine. Go figure.

Climate change is an overwhelming, all pervasive inevitability that humans will need to come to terms with. The sooner and more constructively this happens the better. An earth-based religion that honors the gift, teachings and demands of the planetary ecological system is not far fetched and could help people justify and rationalize the necessary actions that face us. Centering such beliefs on the power of the sun (and moon etc) is pragmatic and foundational for other aspects of new thinking.

The problem with a solar deity is that it is impersonal. In the time of the Caesars, Roman religion was transactional, and mostly involved sacrificing a goat to Jupiter. People wanted something more personal and found it in a church with a human god-figure and a saint's holiday every day. Buddhism is one of the world's great religions, described as the world's only logical, intellectual religion. However the very austerity of practices like Zen soon called out more personal connections. The Bodhisattva was a kind human who delayed entry to Nirvana to help others on the path. Even today, evangelical Christian seek a 'personal Jesus.'

So if we are constructing an earth based religion with solar deity, we probably need some more human connection to the awe inspiring profundity of life. Fortunately, we do have humanity in the core of the philosophy. The solar deity in fact does have multiple prophets calling us to our senses and predicting the future. The prophets have names like Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Katharine Hayhoe and Michael Mann. Do not be fooled by their humanity. Even Elijah was human. In fact, these green prophets have been rejected in their own lands.

We have among us eco-bodhisattvas- meet Greta Thunberg who sailed across the Atlantic instead of using fossil fuels. If you liked Joan of Arc, you will love Greta. She has already suffered the fires of hatred from overbearing men. We have tribal elders who can teach us ways to preserve the land. We have climate saints- consider Eunice Foote, who discovered the role of CO2. We have Seraphim, Cherubim, Angels and Archangels among us, all the people who are standing strong today against Line 3, or in Cancer Ally, or stood against Dakota Access. We have hero's galore to construct a pantheon of humans to help us relate to the planet. We just need to think of them in the right way.

So there you have an idea. The implication of climate change is so profound as to force us to rethink our beliefs at a nearly religious level. The Sun is a worthwhile deity, and we can construct a pantheon of green prophets, climate saints and eco-bodhisattvas to guide us on the way to a better relationship with the planet.

The reading list:

https://www.massclimateaction.org/the_case_for_a_solar_deity_june_20_2021

David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/restless-souls-the-making-of-american-spirituality_leigh-eric-schmidt/483376/

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/201653/zealot-by-reza-aslan/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zealot:_The_Life_and_Times_of_Jesus_of_Nazareth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunice_Newton_Foote

http://www.katharinehayhoe.com/wp2016/

https://michaelmann.net/

https://inspiration.org/daily-devotional/prophet-without-honor/

What is a Bodhisattva?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg

Bodhisattva

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


The Case for a Solar Deity: The Climate Minute

The Summer Solstice is a reminder of the role the Sun plays in our lives. The sun has a lot of interesting attributes: It exists, it gives us life, it controls the planet and it teaches us how to live. We would do well to give it more honor and respect.

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre


The Treasure of Urban Hiking: The Climate Minute

We talk with author and journalist Miles Howard about urban hiking, and why you should try it.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for a building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist the United States transform it’s energy sector, over the next decade, under a just and equitable plan, that uses regulations, investments and a price on carbon to safeguard our collective future.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre



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