Back on the water again…and don’t buy an electric car

But mostly I want to hike and row, and fish and read without a gazillion thoughts rushing around in my head. I think that’s maybe like trying to be in the mysterious NOW zone.

To escape the torrid heat in Arizona, we made our yearly trek to Anacortes Washington, last month. Well, it’s sure as hell not hot here. The thermometer hasn’t made it out of the 50s yet. And it’s not just cold, but windy, and rainy, and did I say cold? Periodically a bit of sun teases us and gets our hopes up.

I’m sure the boat appreciated our return, and it looked as good as when we left last October. It didn’t seem to have any trauma or damage from the exceptionally cold, snowy, rainy, windy winter here.

The plan is to leave port when the weather is more inviting and head north for three months. I hope to get photos of orcas and find Cookie, the whale I adopted. Plus, continuing with my seaweed identification and paintings booklet is high on my to-do list. I’ll also be giving out copies of Saving Our Oceans to libraries and random people I see reading. In fact, I also want to put Saving into ebook format.

Next, I hope to get some editing/work done on the book about the runaway 70-year-old woman that we’ll release – if the book ever gets finished and we get lucky!

Then, for my sanity I need to take a vacation from my cell phone. I just don’t think doing so will be too difficult. Somehow my phone number got shared with every telemarketing service in the entire world. I no longer answer the slippery contraption. If you want to talk to me, please leave a message and I’ll return your call. Plus, the news has become too unbearable to read more than once a week. I don’t do the social media stuff like Facebutt. Once in a great while (like twice a year) some unknown energy makes me tweet.

But mostly I want to hike and row, and fish and read without a gazillion thoughts rushing around in my head. I think that’s maybe like trying to be in the NOW. I need to calm down, PERIOD.

I’ll stay in touch. Meanwhile, don’t buy an electric car. See my last blog! Digging for all the needed metals will ruin huge swaths of earth.

Stay safe and keep warm!

Electric Cars are NOT the Answer

A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, about the size of a travel trunk. It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

Thinking about purchasing an electric car so you won’t feel guilty about your battery run car contributing to climate change, air pollution, etc. etc. etc. Better think again about your choice. Recently I received an email with the following information. I have edited this to its bare bones. If you’d like to see the entire article let me know.

“What is a battery?’ I think Nicholas Tesla said it best when he called it an Energy Storage System. That’s an important distinction.

They do not make electricity – they store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators.  So, to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid.

Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, do you see?

But that is not half of it.  For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.

A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, about the size of a travel trunk.  It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just  one  battery.

Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls, and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”

I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicone dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Wind farm in Navarre, Spain at sunset. Renewable energy concept.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent.  “Going Green” may sound like the Utopian ideal and are easily espoused, catchy buzzwords, but when you look at the hidden and embedded costs realistically with an open mind, you can see that Going Green is more destructive to the Earth’s environment than meets the eye, for sure.”

If this had been titled : “The Embedded Costs of Going Green,” would you have read it?  Please share if you wish.