- The battle against the climate crisis is driving engineers to develop many “green” technologies such as solar and wind power and electric cars, as alternatives to burning fossil fuels to power our society.
- However mining for the materials necessary to make batteries, such as lithium リチウムand cobalt コバルトis also going to have a serious environmental and social impact, especially as demand 需要じゅようincreases in the coming years.
- For example 60% of the world’s supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo コンゴ民主共和国, where children as young as seven work with no safety equipment and breathing in poisonous dust that also contaminates the local drinking water.
- Similarly, lithium is mined from Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and also Tibet by pumping water into the ground to help extract it – this poisons the local water supply and also lowers the ground water levels, leading to the spread of deserts.
- Also, vast amounts of copper are going to be needed for the wind turbines for electricity generation and the motors for electric cars. To make all the cars electric even in a small country like the UK would take 12% of the world’s copper.
- One solution put forward to these green techology problems is to mine from the sea bed instead of from land – however there are also rich biosystems 生物系on the sea bed that would be destroyed – will this be better or worse than exploiting the rainforests on land?
私の人コメント・Hey Simon what do you think?
- When I talk to my students about the climate crisis one of the first things they say is “electric cars” and “solar power” but these are actually also environmentally very damaging.
- For me the solution to this problem is to use less energy:
- use buses and bicycles instead of cars, design our houses and workplaces so that we don’t need so much aircon,
- buy less stuff so we don’t need so much energy to make it,
- make everything repairable so we don’t need to buy new ones.
- and make what we buy locally so that we don’t have to ship it around the world.
- In other words: we can’t just keep living the way we are, we need to change how we live.
- However I don’t think this means our lives will get worse – I actually think our lives will be better because we will have more free time.
皆さん、いかがでしょうか？ Listeners, what do YOU think?
- Do you know much about how “green tech” is produced?
- What ideas do you have for how we can live low energy lifestyles?