A plan to mine lithium could eradicate a Nevada flower. Is extinction just the cost of green energy? – by Matthew Rozsa (Salon.com – June 13, 2024)


Botanists express alarm that a rare plant, the Tiehm’s buckwheat, won’t survive where a lithium mine is planned

Botanist Jerry Tiehm, the curator of herbarium at the University of Nevada Reno, discovered the plant that now bears his name more than 40 years ago. It was early in his career, and Tiehm was driving through a remote central Nevada canyon while collecting samples to study.

He was unaware at the time that it was an unknown species until a different expert informed him that the yellow, white and green plant was something altogether new. Indigenous to a tiny patch of land no larger than 10 acres in area, the new plant was named Tiehm’s buckwheat after its discoverer.

More than four decades later, and Tiehm’s buckwheat is at the center of a historic lawsuit with millions of dollars at stake. Amidst of all of this furious debate, Tiehm is a mere bystander. “I am not involved with this controversy,” Jerry Tiehm said. “I simply discovered the plant and it was named in my honor.”

The controversy involves lithium, a key component of the batteries in electric cars and our always-online gadgets. As climate change continues to worsen because of humans burning fossil fuels, environmentalists of all stripes are turning to electric vehicles as a potential way to reduce the release of carbon dioxide.

For the rest of this article: https://www.salon.com/2024/06/13/a-plan-to-mine-lithium-could-eradicate-a-nevada-flower-is-extinction-just-the-cost-of-green-energy/