Flamingos may be a kind of canary in the coal mine when it comes to warning of a hidden cost of green technologies. Lithium mining appears to be a major threat to the iconic pink birds that rely on ecologically fragile salt flats bordering the high Andes Mountains. Mining of the metal and climate change together are causing the decline of two flamingo species found only on Andean plateaus, researchers report March 9 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Lithium, used in lightweight, rechargeable batteries for electric cars, smartphones and other items, is expected to play a major role in helping fight climate change. Within the next
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