Sunday, April 09, 2017 by Ethan Huff
Many Mother Earth-loving, social progressives, and diehard political socialists love to talk a big game about things like saving the planet, ending world hunger, saving the middle class, and stopping corporate fascism. But when it comes down to what this “party of the people,” Democrats included, actually does on a day-to-day basis, it becomes clear that many of these folks are tried-and-true hypocrites.
Take the anti-fossil fuel crowd, for instance. These folks would love nothing more than to convert society into a hybrid-driving, mass transit-taking “green” paradise. But little do they know that even these modes of transportation include the use of things like petroleum-based plastics and batteries that run off of rare earth minerals that greatly contribute to environmental destruction.
Despite their better gas mileage – or in the case of electric cars, general mileage – fuel-saving and fuel-eliminating vehicles still run on energy that has to come from somewhere. Both coal and nuclear power plants provide electricity for electric cars at a substantial rate in the U.S., and neither of these methods is considered safe or “green” by any stretch of the imagination.
“Although the battery-powered car itself doesn’t produce any emissions, the power plant that generates the electricity used to charge those batteries probably does,” writes David Biello for Scientific American.
Or how about the ever popular iPhone? Plenty of progressives carry around these devices, often with an Apple portable computer in tow as well, despite Apple’s widely-published failure to protect its overseas workers in places like China. Working conditions at these Apple factories are so bad that some workers are committing suicide as an escape.
“Even if I was hungry, I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest…” reported one Apple worker to an undercover BBC correspondent about how exhausted he is after a day on the job building iPhones. According to this same gentleman, he often has to work 16-hour shifts just to keep up with the demands of his superiors.
“I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress.”
Another big buzzworthy topic for progressives is the use of solar panels, which are supposed to be a clean source of energy to replace things like coal and nuclear power. Solar panels appear to be sustainable in that they provide unlimited energy, so long as the sun is shining, without the need for a reactor or some other external input.
But a closer look reveals that these, like the batteries in electric and hybrid cars, require rare earth minerals that can be difficult to obtain. Besides their scarcity, these rare earth minerals require extensive excavation to be dislodged from their underground locales. The same is true for other “green” technologies like LED and CFL lightbulbs, which were supposed to save the planet from global warming.
“The move toward new and better technologies – from smart phones to electric cars – means an ever-increasing demand for exotic metals that are scarce thanks to both geology and politics,” explains a report by Yale University.
“Thin, cheap solar panels need tellurium, which makes up a scant 0.0000001 percent of the earth’s crust, making it three times rarer than gold. High-performance batteries need lithium, which is only easily extracted from briny pools in the Andes.”
There will come a point, in other words, when even many “green” technologies exceed all the hype and reveal themselves to be unsustainable. The world is already seeing this with the growing rarity of the materials required to manufacture them.