The US government is considering blocking Lithium mining In Nevada because of a flower called Tiehm’s buckwheat.  The flower is found nowhere else in the world than on a 10-acre plot in Nevada which is owned by an Australian company that wants to mine for lithium.  Lithium is a key mineral for the transition to electric vehicles which environmentalists believe is more environmentally friendly than other forms of energy.  Lithium is also a key to many forms of electrical energy storage in things such as lawn mowers to nose clippers.  Environmentalist’s also want to protect the endangered flower Tiehm’s Buckwheat, which is creating an environmentalist’s standoff.

Ioneer, the Australian company that plans to mine the Nevada lithium, said they welcomed the announcement by the US government that Tiehm’s buckwheat should be protected.

“We are committed to the protection and conservation of the species and have incorporated numerous measures into our current and future plans to ensure this occurs. Our operations have and will continue to avoid all Tiehm’s buckwheat populations.”

It seems to me everyone is doing their best to reconcile these two conflicting environmental causes.  As trivial as some might think the concern about a flower is, it also seems pretty easy to avoid the 10-acre plot rather than eliminate a species of flower.  I would suggest that the ESG program of Ioneer is solid.  I would also suggest that the US government’s request to protect this flower is a sign that the US government’s “ESG program” is alive and well.  These environment stories don’t always end so well.

Cobalt is also a key element used in constructing batteries.  Cobalt mining occasionally involves artisanal mining which is so horrific that describing it without a picture is difficult (see below).  It’s amazing that this sort of crime against men, women and children is still happening.  Companies may claim that they don’t use “artisanal cobalt” but it is all going somewhere.  Artisanal cobalt is going into somebodies’ batteries.  You may own products that were built from the process seen in this picture. The ESG program in these artisanal mining companies is seriously flawed.

The World Economic Forum suggested improvements to artisanal mining.  Unfortunately, the WEF has no power to enforce the change, therefor the WEF’s ESG efforts are appreciated but ineffective.  Needless to say, the Congo government doesn’t care about their people or they are also ineffective when it comes to encouraging effective ESG programs in their companies.

Sometimes it might feel like we are running in circles when it comes to making the world a perfect place. Some of our solutions to our ESG problems are causing ESG problems.  However, there is no doubt in my mind that we are making progress.  Most of the people on the planet have a goal to make the world a better place.  Those of us that support ESG outnumber the people who don’t care about ESG… which is why we have made progress over the last 100 years.  I would say we have made spectacular progress.

“In October 1948, Donora, Pa., was enveloped in a lethal haze. Over five days, nearly half of the town’s 14,000 residents experienced severe respiratory or cardiovascular problems. It was difficult to breathe. The death toll rose to nearly 40.”

This sort of air pollution is no longer possible in the US.  Despite what ESG haters have said, we have made great improvements in ESG. The standard of living has also improved over the last 100 years as well, not declined as ESG haters have implied.  We will continue to improve.  We will continue to have ESG wins. ESG is doable and it is genius… despite our occasional ESG failures.

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