The Lithium Mine Versus the Wildflower

The deposit could power 400,000 clean-energy car batteries. There’s just one roadblock: a rare, fragile species of buckwheat, which for a mine might mean extinction.

Whatever act of violence occurred in the midsummer heat on that lonely white hill in Nevada, there was no one around to see it. By the time Naomi Fraga arrived there in mid-September, the air had cooled but the evidence of a selective massacre remained: Where there had once been plants, there were now hundreds of empty holes. A few mangled stems, severed from their roots, lay half buried in the chalky dirt. What alarmed Fraga more than the dead or missing were the survivors.

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