At the peak of the summer, my nation, the Nlaka’pamux, one of the Indigenous Peoples of south-central British Columbia, used to know when the salmon had returned to local rivers by the annual blooming of the waxz’ethlap, or wild mock-orange shrub. This flower’s annual bloom along the shores of the Thompson River used to tell us when to prepare our salmon nets and fish-drying racks to harvest what is one of our most important protein sources.

However, because of the impacts of climate change on the lands and waters in our territories, this annual bloom is no longer synchronized with the salmon’s journey up the rivers to spawn. The waxz’ethlap flowers that once welcomed the salmon home miss the yearly migration by several weeks. In late June, an extreme heat wave formed over the Pacific Northwest, fuelling a catastrophic fire season. As the temperature soared, Lytton, B.C. — a town only 22 miles away from my home community, the Cook’s Ferry Indian Band at Spences Bridge, B.C. — reached an unprecedented 121.28 degrees Fahrenheit and the next day burned to the ground. That was the hottest temperature recorded anywhere in Canada. My community, and many other adjacent Indigenous communities, were under wildfire evacuation alerts from June to mid-September.

Scientists have been telling us for decades that we must dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. One important way to reduce those emissions is to convert our cars to electric vehicles (EVs), particularly as the Canadian and U.S. transportation sectors combined make up the continent’s largest source of carbon emissions. And yet, this need presents Indigenous people with a new challenge, as the minerals used to make EV batteries, in large part, will come from Indigenous lands.

Read the full article about mining minerals for EVs by Mark Podlasly at GreenBiz.