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White Gold (from “How We Survive”)
Nov 18, 2021
Season 5 | Episode 6

White Gold (from “How We Survive”)

To get off fossil fuels, you need a lot of batteries. To get a lot of batteries, you need to mine a lot of lithium. Welcome to Thacker Pass, Nevada, where a proposed lithium mine has sparked protests.

This week, we’re running a story from our colleagues at the new Marketplace podcast “How We Survive.” It’s about the climate, but it’s not all doom and gloom. It explores solutions for avoiding some of the worst effects of the crisis.

The team — including “Uncomfortable” producer Hayley Hershman — traveled to rural Nevada to visit the site of a proposed lithium mine. Lithium is an essential resource in getting our country off of fossil fuels, but the project is generating a lot of backlash.

This area is also home to the native Paiute-Shoshone tribe. Some members reject the idea that they should sacrifice their ancestral land for this mine. The mine would generate about 1,000 jobs in the area, but for some tribal members the jobs aren’t “worth the destruction of this land,” explained Daranda Hinkey, a Paiute-Shoshone member. “To native people, that’s everything. The land is everything.” But other tribal members want this mine and say the economic opportunity would be a huge benefit for people on the reservation.

Many local farmers and ranchers also oppose the mine. They’re worried about traffic, noise, air pollution and the impact to the water they all share. Even in the face of the climate crisis, many feel that the potential harm outweighs the benefits.

“I’m not willing to bear that burden,” said Gina Amato, a local farmer. “I want to do whatever I can to prevent us from being the sacrificial lamb.”

If you liked this story, be sure to follow “How We Survive” wherever you get podcasts.

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The team

Megan Detrie Senior Producer
Hayley Hershman Senior Producer
Phoebe Unterman Producer
Marielle Segarra Producer
Camila Kerwin Producer
Serena Chow Producer
Marque Greene Producer

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