California is often celebrated as an environmental leader, yet the state is both an old and new extractive frontier, with hotspots of environmental injustice. California’s oil production has harmed community health, the environment and the global climate.
Abandoned gold rush era mines have left a toxic legacy that continues to impact communities and ecosystems. Recently, high gold prices have sparked renewed interest in exploration for open pit mines, threatening biologically diverse and sacred landscapes from the Sierras to the desert.
Meanwhile, rising demand for electric vehicles is driving a “white gold rush” for lithium, used in batteries. As companies stake claims for lithium extraction in the California desert using new, experimental technology, frontline communities are raising important questions about impacts to Indigenous sovereignty, scarce water resources, and public health.
As we grow our work in California, Earthworks will support campaigns by frontline communities to stop destructive mining and oil and gas projects that pose a danger to people and the environment.