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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

Deep Sea Mining: Electric Car Batteries May Upset the Ocean Ecology

Roar Bjonnes

More electric cars are needed to save us from using fossil fuels to save us from global warming. These electric cars need cobalt, a naturally occurring metal and an essential ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries powering everything from cell phones and laptops to Elon’s Tesla.

Today, 60% of the global supply of cobalt comes from copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with calamitous consequences to the local environment. The pollution from copper and cobalt operations has poisoned and ended fishing in the Katapula tributary of the Congo River.

Lumumba’s Politics Are What Really Need to Return

Perry Blankson

When the European imperialist powers decided among themselves to carve up Africa during the 1884-5 Berlin Conference, they granted Léopold his wish, officially recognizing the International African Association of the Congo (later the Congo Free State). In what was to represent a long-lasting relationship, the United States was the first nation to recognize Léopold’s claim to this land prior to the Conference, and lobbied the European powers to do the same... Photographer Alice Seely Harris brought to life the horror of Léopold’s rule in the Congo Free State through her now-famous photograph of Congolese man Nsala in 1904. In the photograph, Nsala sits grief-stricken before the severed hand and foot of his five-year old daughter, Boali, who had been mutilated and killed as his punishment for failing to meet his rubber quota. ... Without once stepping foot in the Congo Free State, it is estimated that Léopold’s genocide massacred at least ten million Congolese from 1885 until the time he ceded control of the territory to the Belgian government in 1908.

Acceleration forever? The increasing momentum of mineral extraction

Kurt Cobb

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that about 700 million metric tons of copper have been extracted to date. Based on mining statistics from the Copper Development Association, that means about half of all the copper ever mined has been mined from the year 2000 through 2018 inclusive... For lithium annual production is now 25.39 times the 1970 rate... the governing ideology of the age is that technology will always give us a way out of scarcity—providing the substitutes we need at the time that we need them in the quantities we require and at the prices we can afford.

Keeping Cool Without Costing The Earth

Rapid Transition Alliance

In May 2022 temperatures in India and Pakistan reached 50°C. Heat this fierce causes chaos to infrastructure, water security and also triggers irreversible cell damage within the human body. This extreme event, which plunged nearly a billion people into heat stress, was made 30 times more likely due to climate change. The response for those that can afford it,is to buy an air conditioner. Cooling buildings isn’t just about shiny new tech. Human history, is full of effective, low-tech, passive cooling techniques. The hospital in Tambacounda, Senegal, draws on the climate-friendly design principles developed by Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew in the 1956 book ‘Tropical Architecture in the Humid Zone’.


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