The Hidden Face of Ecological Transition

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My name is Guillaume Pitron and I am 42 years old. I am a French journalist and documentary filmmaker. I work on raw materials, it is a way to interest the public in distant issues. All of a sudden, far away becomes very close when there is a raw material that makes the link.

We have never consumed as much raw material as we do today. In the next 30 years, we will consume as much metal as has been consumed in the last 70,000 years. The world is more material than ever.

Rare metals is a subject in which I became interested in 2009 and which was already presented at the time as Next Oil. But it was an editorial desert at the time and I wanted to take an interest in a subject that was little cleared.

Investigating is bound to encounter obstacles. When you touch the world of mining, it is even more complicated. So the obstacles start with the difficulty of travelling in the field. To enter these places, you often have to give yourself permission, not to get it.

It’s difficult to get people to talk and that’s why it takes years of collaboration with certain specialists in the mining sector until you have the necessary confidence in front of the camera to get them to speak their mind, to capture the sincerity of the people you are talking to about your witnesses.

What surprised me in this investigation on metals is first of all the extent of our ignorance, including the ignorance of politicians on these subjects. We fantasize about a completely green world, but it is a world out of the ground. We do not have the culture of the issues surrounding resources for which there is no greener world.

The energy transition is a technological transition that only proposes technological remedies to problems that were themselves generated by technologies. This transition generates as many new challenges as the solutions it brings. As long as we have not touched this fundamental question which is the one of our way of life and the way of consumption, we will not solve the problems that this transition claims to be able to solve.

The green world that is coming is a world with huge challenges. It is a world that can really be better but only if we tackle the issue of resources and their optimization.

The circular world will be an infinitely more difficult world to achieve but there is reason, a reason for me to hope. If they are implemented in an extremely ambitious way can allow us to do more with less.

The next investigation is into the materiality of the virtual.

With climate change posing a major threat to our planet, law and public policy are increasingly focusing on the ecological transition. However, while decarbonization is essential, we need to examine its feasibility and cost, as well as its environmental and social impact.

The transition to renewable energies entails a process of mineral and metal extraction that has significant environmental repercussions, including deforestation, habitat destruction, water pollution and soil degradation. Renewable energies can also exacerbate environmental injustices and impact on traditional industries, such as coal mining, which will become obsolete.

In his book “La guerre des métaux rares: La face cachée de la transition énergétique et numérique”, journalist Guillaume Pitron, a specialist in the geopolitics of raw materials, confronts us with the challenges posed by the consumption of raw materials and rare metals needed in the technological age. A holistic approach is needed to tackle these issues, taking into account the environmental, economic, social and cultural dimensions of the transition. This means engaging with communities, including marginalized groups, and empowering them to participate. Investment in research and development is needed to find innovative solutions that minimize the environmental and social impacts of transition. Collaboration between different disciplines, such as engineering, economics and social sciences, is essential to ensure feasibility in both the social and technical spheres.

Ecological transition is a necessary step towards a sustainable future, but we need to be aware of the challenges and problems that accompany it. A holistic approach is needed to ensure that change is fair and equitable, and that it benefits everyone. By working together and involving all stakeholders, we can create a sustainable future that benefits everyone.

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