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Andy Symington | The fight for sustainable renewables

Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It’s a human rights issue.

Andy Symington

Our race for renewables has a dark side, with some of the most important clean energy technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries, bringing unexpected and damaging consequences for human rights and the environment. Although the goals are different, mining for ingredients of lithium-ion batteries can be just as damaging as extraction of some fossil fuels. UNSW academic Andy Symington researches how our clean energy demands need to not lead to further exploitation of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. But as consumers, can we help ensure that our transition to a sustainable planet isn’t achieved at the expense of the less fortunate?

A UNSW Centre for Ideas project, with illustrations designed by Juune Lee and footage filmed at the EPICentre – a UNSW research centre located at the Art & Design campus. Videos filmed and edited by Paper Moose, and podcast editing and music composition by Bryce Halliday.

Andy Symington

Andy Symington

Andy Symington is a final-year PhD candidate in the School of Global and Public Law in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney. He is researching corporate engagement with human rights norms in the extraction of lithium, a crucial ingredient of the sustainable energy transition. In 2018 he received UNSW’s inaugural Judith Parker Wood Memorial Prize for human rights law. He is also an experienced and widely published freelance travel writer and journalist. 

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