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Clean energy vs clean water: Lithium mining sucks the life blood out of local communities

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Euronews or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The "lithium triangle" across Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, harboring the world's largest lithium reserves, faces environmental and cultural challenges as global demand for this "white gold" rises
• Indigenous communities, whose livelihoods have been sustained by the land for centuries, fear the loss of water, culture, and well-being due to lithium mining

🔭 The context: Lithium, crucial for electric batteries and renewable energy technologies, has seen a price surge, attracting global interest in the lithium-rich salt flats of South America
• These mining activities require significant water extraction from the salt flats, threatening the local ecosystem and the Indigenous communities dependent on it

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The extraction of lithium, while essential for the transition to net zero, poses a significant risk to biodiversity and the traditional ways of life of Indigenous people 
• The pursuit of lithium underscores the environmental and social trade-offs in the global shift towards renewable energy

⏭️ What's next: Legal battles and protests by Indigenous communities seek to halt large-scale mining projects, but political shifts and economic pressures may complicate these efforts
• The balance between green energy transition and environmental preservation remains a contentious issue, with the outcomes likely affecting regional water resources and Indigenous rights

💬 One quote: "We will lose everything. What will we do if we don’t have water? If the mines come, we’ll lose our culture, we won’t be left with anything." - Irene Leonor Flores de Callata, a member of the native Kolla people.

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