How We Survive podcast tackles lithium's relationship to climate change

"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." — from the How We Survive podcast.

How We Survive is a new podcast by Marketplace, public radio's flagship program investigating the vagaries, contradictions, and impacts of capitalist economic culture without necessarily critiquing capitalism as an ideology or set of economic policies.

How We Survive announces, "The Climate crisis is here." For many people, the "climate crisis" had already been here for decades, perhaps "since predator came" in 1492.

What is the significance of recognizing the existence of human-caused climate catastrophes, particularly corporate models of development based on exploitative and profit-driven values and morality, by Marketplace? Is there any significance at all? Suppose capitalism as an economic system of policies and laws and an ideological position on the efficacy of those policies and regulations is a cause of climate catastrophe. How can more capitalism be the answer? The politics of cause and effects.

You decide (obviously).

"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."

It is incredible how experts always say that "people need to change" but never talk about the historical legacies of ideologies and belief systems of people in power creating the laws and policies that justify wealth-hoarding, accumulation through dispossession, and ecocide, policies often imposed through a "shock doctrine" of political violence, all in the name of some abstract notion of freedom and democracy.