The climate crisis is here.
The Western United States is burning; much of the Northeast is underwater after a hurricane; towns in Europe are swept away by massive floods. Time is slipping away to stop the worst effects of a warming planet, and the world is looking for solutions.
Hosted by Molly Wood, “How We Survive” explores the technology that could provide some of those solutions, the business of acclimatizing to an increasingly inhospitable planet, and the way people have to change if we’re going to make it in an altered world.
One of the simplest solutions to get the planet off carbon-emitting fossil fuels is electrification: our cars, our power grids, our homes and businesses. There’s just one hitch. Electrification relies on batteries, and many batteries require a metal called lithium. The need for lithium is driving a modern gold rush for the metal that could help save the world, but it relies on an old, dirty technology: mining.
And just like the gold rush of the 1800s, the rush for “white gold,” as it’s known, involves a lot of human conflict and drama: radical environmentalists who hope to destroy industrial civilization, business rivalries so fierce that one CEO was dragged off a plane, and indigenous people who say they’ll sacrifice their lives to stop a mine from being built.
This season dives deep into the economics, the tech and the human stories behind the race for lithium. And unlike the gold rush of the 1800s, this time, our survival might depend on it.
The first season of “How We Survive” starts Oct. 6. Listen to the trailer above and follow the show wherever you listen to podcasts.