Lithium has become a "critical mineral" for climate change mitigation, as a key component of lithium-ion batteries that store energy for electric vehicles, smart devices, and renewable power plants. Drawing on a forthcoming report for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in collaboration with the Plurinational Observatory of Andean Salt Flats (OPSAL), this virtual lecture by Assistant Professor James J.A. Blair will interrogate how the reliance on brine evaporation as an extraction method for lithium mining is exacerbating conditions of ecological exhaustion and limiting water availability in South America.
Exhausted: The Slow Violence of Lithium Brine Evaporation
Thursday, May 6 | 12 p.m. (PST)
Email email@example.com to receive Zoom link
Blair is the regenerative studies graduate coordinator and teaches at the Lyle Center and at the Department of Geography and Anthropology in the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences. He authored a chapter ("Extractivismo del Litio y el Problema de la Escala: AcciÃ³n ClimÃ¡tica Global y Justicia Ambiental Local/ "Lithium Extractivism and the Problem of Scale: Global Climate Action and Local Environmental Justice") in "Salares Andinos (Andean Salt Flats)," a Spanish-language book about the struggle over water and brine in Atacama. He has published single-authored peer-reviewed articles in: Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space; Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society; the Journal of Ethnobiology; and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI). His public writing has appeared in the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Expert Blog, the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report, the A&E Engagement blog and The Economist.