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View Diary: New German Data Shows No End in Sight for Coal (230 comments)

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  •  I think things like zinc mining are a more (1+ / 0-)
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    complicated issue.  I mean, there are galvanized coatings on tons of things that I own.  I use coins that have zinc in them.  I have things made of brass.  I have things painted white which very likely use zinc oxide as a pigment.  It may also be in my sunscreens and ointments.  There might be zinc compounds in my toothpaste and shampoo.  I take a multivitamin that contains zinc.  I have solder that contains zinc - both a couple rolls of it, and bits of solder in practically every piece of electronics that I own.  I've traveled on boats that use large sacrificial zinc anodes to stay afloat.  I have alkaline batteries all over my house.  On and on.  Who the hell am I to complain without being a hypocrite?

    And it's no different for other metals.  Are copper mines somehow better?  Steel?  Silver?  Aluminum?  Everything we use in our lives was in some way or another ripped from the earth.  Not everything has equal consequences, and we can mandate that it has to be done in as friendly of a manner as possible... but ultimately, it all comes from somewhere, mixed with many times more overburden and releasing the other, often toxic minerals it was buried with.

    The difference in the case of fuels is that they're not turned into something lasting.  They're taken up, and then destroyed.  Burned and cast off into the air for us to breathe and to alter our climate.  And it's not necessary.  We can build lasting devices which produce power year after year.  It's a one-time taking from the earth which keeps giving for decades with just a bit of maintenance.  And that's the real difference.

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