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This week in Tortoise: White Gold Rush

Monday 10 May 2021


California’s largest lake is also its worst environmental catastrophe. The Salton Sea was formed accidentally in the early 20th Century, a result of human activity, and then it was left to languish. Its waters are drying out, industrial chemicals have seeped into the ground, millions of fish and other creatures have died. And the communities on the lake’s banks suffer, too – physiologically, socially, economically.

But is recovery now at hand? There’s talk of turning Salton Sea into Lithium Valley – because this white gold, as the element is sometimes known, is there in abundance, and the world needs it for various 21st-century innovations, including the batteries in electric cars. Already, billionaires like Warren Buffett are taking notice. Others are sure to follow. It’s very possible that this environmental disaster could become the basis of an environmental success story.

This week’s Tortoise Story is about the White Gold Rush. And it begins today with an episode of the Slow Newscast in which Miranda Green and Lucy Sherriff visit the Salton Sea and speak to the people on its edges – will lithium mean better lives for them, or just for Buffett and Elon Musk?

White Gold Rush isn’t the only podcast we’re releasing today. The sixth episode of my own series, ThinkIn with James Harding, on the Battle for Truth, is available both in and outside of the Tortoise app this morning. Its subject is Trump and Twitter, and I’m joined by guests including Anthony Scaramucci, former White House director of communications, and Kai Diekmann, former editor of Bild. Please do give it a listen – and, as always, let us know what you think.

And it’s a full week of ThinkIns, too:

And please don’t miss our latest Sensemaker, the Net Zero Sensemaker, which launched last week – a newsletter focused on the climate emergency. The latest edition should hit inboxes on Tuesday.

Allbest.

James Harding,
Editor & co-founder