Charging Forward

Lithium Valley, Electric Vehicles, and a Just Future

A clarion call for justice in the quest for clean energy

California’s Salton Sea region is home to some of the worst environmental health conditions in the country. Recently, however, it has also become ground zero in the new “lithium gold rush”—the race to power the rapidly expanding electric vehicle and renewable energy storage market. The immense quantities of lithium lurking beneath the surface have led to predictions that the region could provide a third of global demand. But who will benefit from the development of this precious resource?

A work of stunning analysis and reporting, Charging Forward shows that the questions raised by Lithium Valley lie at the heart of the “green transition.” Weaving together movement politics, federal policy, and autoworker struggles, noted experts Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor stress that getting the lithium out from under the earth is just a first step: the real question is whether the region and the nation will get out from under the environmental degradation, labor exploitation, and racial injustice that have been as much a part of the landscape as the Salton Sea itself.

What happens in Lithium Valley, the authors argue, will not stay there. This tiny patch of California is a microcosm of the broad climate challenges we face; understanding Lithium Valley today is the key to grasping the future of our economy and our planet.

Books by these authors

State of Resistance
What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Mean for America’s Future

Manuel Pastor

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