If you follow tech news, it’s pretty hard to miss stories reminding us of the tremendous potential that lithium-ion batteries have in store for the world – longer times to gaze into our dazzling new smartphones and longer distances to travel in our cutting-edge electric cars without a re-charge. And yet, most of us probably don’t think too much about the environmental cost of mining all of this lithium. In Australia and South America where 80-90 percent of the world’s raw lithium comes from, the extraction process is dirty and energy intensive. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to Sammy Roth of the Los Angeles Times about the promise of extracting lithium in a much cleaner way right here in the US. We learn about plans to extract lithium from the Salton Sea geothermal fields in the Southern California desert, how this process will be viewed by environmentalists and what it could mean for the lithium industry.
As more and more of the western United States suffers from warmer temperatures and in some places desertification, water has become perhaps the most hotly debated topic in environmental newsrooms throughout the region. It’s no surprise then that an environmental reporter from the Palm Springs-based Desert Sun would be covering a whole host of water-related stories. This week on Sea Change Radio, we take a deep dive into a pool of topics with Sammy Roth that hopefully won’t dampen your spirits. First, we breakdown a noteworthy case involving one wealthy farmer’s crusade against his local water district, then we turn to the controversy surrounding two proposed hydropower facilities and last we take a look at a company that’s causing a stir by trying to sell desert groundwater to urban areas.
With all the false claims about “fake news” and verifiable lies being proffered as facts by the president and others, it’s quite refreshing to be reminded that there is still some fantastic journalism taking place in this country. This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks to Desert Sun energy reporter Sammy Roth about his investigative piece on the Imperial Irrigation District (IID). Roth’s work exposed deep conflicts of interest at this district, tucked away in a remote section of southeastern California. We talk about the dramatic impact Roth’s reporting has had at IID, and more generally about how good journalism can be a force for rapid social change.
What do you think of when you hear the word, “billionaires?” Ruthless capitalists? Decadent narcissists? Evil cheese-puffs? What about renewable power? Well, today on Sea Change Radio we hear from Sammy Roth, energy reporter for The Desert Sun, who recently wrote a three-part series about how some American billionaires with deep roots in the fossil fuel industry, are planning bold clean power initiatives. We talk about the enormous wind farm that conservative tycoon Philip Anschutz hopes to build in Wyoming, discuss the efforts that famed investor Warren Buffett is making to enter California’s electricity marketplace, and learn what “balancing authorities” are and the role they play in our electric grid. Is what’s happening in the West just another capitalist scheme to benefit the 1%, or might these moves actually reduce climate pollution and lower energy bills?