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The Inertia

Among the environmentally conscious, an electric car is often the vehicle of choice to reduce one’s own carbon emissions. And so long as the electricity that juices the thing up comes from renewables, that may be true at the tailpipe. But, the potential for a future mining operation in New South Wales is quickly demonstrating that a booming global electric car market could have adverse environmental impacts on resource-rich natural areas that consumers may not be aware of.

According to ABC Australia, a German start-up called Sons of Bavaria Investments (SBI) recently secured an exploration license from the government of New South Wales to explore volcanic deposits in areas of the Northern Rivers region for copper and other metals. The company hopes to mine copper to support growing demand in Germany for electric cars – the production of which uses five times more copper than a typical vehicle.

Residents, activists, elders, and area surfers are all concerned about the impact of future mining on local waterways, specifically the Clarence River. The Clarence is incredibly rich in biodiversity and empties near Yamba Beach, just up the road from the famed point break of Angourie.

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“I’m fortunate enough to call the Northern Rivers Region of Northern New South Wales, Australia, home,” filmmaker Nathan Oldfield told us in an email. “One of our great rivers, the mighty and beautiful Clarence, is currently under serious threat. I have a special place in my heart for this corner of our watery planet and I know that many other surfers, river folk and beach people out there feel the same.”

That’s precisely why Nathan lent his filmmaking talents to the film above to spread awareness about the issue. It also features the surf stylings of Dave Rastovich.

“I made [this film] with my friends to bring attention to the issue and to inspire others to rise up and rally around a mother river and her sacred places. The film is especially targeted towards rallying surfing communities locally, in broader Australia and also internationally,” says Oldfield.

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If you feel so inclined, you can download a petition here to sign and send it via conventional mail to 52 Wharf Street, Maclean NSW 2463, Australia.

“Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle, but an entire river ecosystem depends on all of us,” Oldfield says.

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