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Short-term loss for long-term gain? The ethical dilemma at the heart of EVs

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Our tech has a climate problem

As mines meet mineral demands for electric vehicles, they put communities and ecosystems at risk. Sustainability researcher Elsa Dominish says the EV industry cannot repeat fossil fuel's mistakes.

This story also includes NPR correspondent Kirk Siegler and Patrick Donnelly of the Center for Biological Diversity.

About Elsa Dominish

Elsa Dominish is a research principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, a transdisciplinary research institute with the aim to create change towards sustainable futures. She has worked on collaborative projects with clients and partners including Australian Commonwealth and state governments, International Labour Organization, Stewart Investors, Greenpeace, Earthworks and WWF-Australia.

About Kirk Siegler

Kirk Siegler is a national correspondent for NPR News. As a roving reporter, he covers the western U.S. with an emphasis on rural issues, water and the effects of climate change on smaller communities and former natural resource dependent towns. Recent assignments have taken him to the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona where indigenous groups are protesting mines proposed on ancestral lands that are also seen as key to the Biden administration's goals of transforming the U.S. transportation grid to electricity.

About Patrick Donnelly

Patrick Donnelly heads the Nevada branch of the Center for Biological Diversity. He works to defend the wildlife and wild places of Nevada and surrounding desert regions, with a focus on endemic species and groundwater resources. Patrick spent over a decade leading young people in hands-on conservation work and on extended outdoor education trips. He has led campaigns to protect national monuments, stop inappropriate energy development, and prevent the overappropriation of scarce desert water. Patrick has a bachelor's in environmental science and policy from the University of California Berkeley.

This segment of TED Radio Hour was produced by Matthew Cloutier and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Matthew Cloutier is a producer for TED Radio Hour. While at the show, he has focused on stories about science and the natural world, ranging from operating Mars rovers to exploring Antarctica's hidden life. He has also pitched these kinds of episodes, including "Through The Looking Glass" and "Migration."
As a correspondent on NPR's national desk, Kirk Siegler covers rural life, culture and politics from his base in Boise, Idaho.