Second Vermont Republic

A citizen movement committed to restoring Vermont to an independent republic, free to pursue life, liberty and happiness unimpeded by the demands of an imperial, corrupt and disintegrating United States.

Extracted, by Emma Rippe (BOOK REVIEW)

Author Ugo Bardi, an Italian professor of physical chemistry, utilizes his extensive ecological and geological knowledge, as well as his deep concern for the environment, to explore the history of mining, its benefits and drawbacks, and how it will affect our future. “Extracted” focuses on global mineral depletion and how modern society digs, drills, and excavates our planet’s minerals and resources, exhausting the earth. Without reserve, he points out the fact that Earth was forming for billions of years before humans became technically involved, and yet we have managed to wreak an enormous amount of havoc on it within decades.


After the author provides a sweeping summary of the basics of minerals, he naturally examines their history and the advances our race made to reach our current situation. He also contemplates the vast and pressing reality of what will happen when we truly deplete our sources and questions how humans will survive without them. He also tells us the history about minerals in our earth and our mining techniques to extract minerals from the ground. Bardi then goes on to explain the expenses we are paying to pull minerals up from the ground, the difficulties and effects that it has on us, and also how the depletion affects economics. He also goes deeper into how mining may cause climate change and more of the downfalls of mining.

Regarding minerals’ history, one might think that the author would begin with the more physical manifestations of earthquakes and volcanoes and their role in creating minerals, but he immediately attracts the audience with the underworld and its appearances in Greek mythology and other ancient works of literature that reflect geological culture. He transitions to the Industrial Revolution and how its residual pollution and waste dominates much of Asia and the developing world today.

Fittingly, the author devotes the most amount of text to defining the problems in modern mining industries. Bardi interestingly claims that the amount of minerals in the earth’s crust is less relevant than the amount of energy we expend to reach them; thus, he uses this introduction to the disadvantages of mining and its devastating effects on the environment. Therefore, he continues to describe that it is ultimately damaging the environment.

Personally, I found the section of “The Dark Side of Mining (Pollution and Climate Change)” of the most interest due to its urgency and pertinence in the world we live in today. One dark side he touches on is the heartbreaking reality of child labor; although the issue was more widespread in the 1900s, the International Labour Organization notes that the exploitation of children in hazardous working conditions still exists in Asia, South America, and Africa. He sheds light on mining accidents and incidents of tunnels collapsing on workers, making me think of the harrowing circumstances the Chilean miners endured in 2010 and how its widespread media coverage really exhibited the dangers of their occupation. Ugo Bardi highlights the extent of the pollution we have caused through mining for mineral resources, touching on the ever-current and very controversial topic of fracking (a method of liquid injection to the ground to extract oils). Further exploring the many detrimental effects of our collective “quest for mineral wealth,” I liked how the author touched upon the negative physical effects on us such as breathing in the harmful chemicals in the air, and how the industry affects our economy. Bardi talks about all the different type of wastes that are brought up by mining heavy metals. He brings up green house gases and specifically “Peak of Coal,” which is the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Then this reaches to his next chapter a New Planet, but I specifically wanted to touch on this chapter/section because its giving us the problem of mining and what it is doing to our planet, giving us the bigger picture of what is going on.

Finally as a look into his chapter/section, a New Planet, it looks into the future of the planet and mining, and the types of ways we can produce energy more efficiently, effectively and less destructive way to our planet. I wanted to touch on what he talks about in this chapter because this chapter is important to how we can change our future to make it look better for us and create a better world to live in. So in this part he states types of recycling and reusing minerals to make it more efficient. He touches on the different substitutes that our out there to create a different and much greener approach to the way we take up our resources. I personally like how he approaches the future, by explaining how our society focuses on the short term but Bardi looks into the future and how it could turn out and they types of solutions that could be out there.

Learning from Bardi’s book, I realized that Vermont was the first state ever to ban fracking and restrict gas-drilling techniques. Our state hopes to set a good example to the other states to stop fracking and other types of drilling into the earth to extract oil. According to Peter Shumlin, the governor of the state of Vermont, “The science on fracking is uncertain at best. Let the other states be the guinea pigs. Let the Green Mountain State preserve its clean water, its lakes, its rivers and its quality of life.” I learned all this after reading an article, “Vermont Fracking Ban: Green Mountain State is First in the US to Restrict Gas Drilling Techniques” in the Huffington Post. I thought it was a good connection to where I live and the wonderful book by Bardi.

For more revolutionary writing, visit Chelsea Green publishing.

about mineral extraction.

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This entry was posted on November 12, 2014 by in Arts.

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