Subscribe Now

Good news: you never have to miss another issue with our brand new annual subscription

Two editions per year

Free shipping worldwide

25% discount on any past issues

Monthly VIP Newsletter

An Automatic renewal to ensure you never miss an issue.

Read

Jo Savage

Her photography focuses on uncovering the layers of untold stories within surf, skate, and mountain communities around the world.

Tom Hegen

By eliane |

Tradition Like a Secret Love

By eliane |

The Shearer’s Dance

By eliane |

Location Unknown

By eliane |

Watch

Kroy

It’s under the soft fading light of dusk that the final Canot-Concert of the season took place, featuring the enigmatic KROY. With her hypnotic sounds, the Montreal artist —who also…

Société Duvetnor

By eliane |

Episode 03 – Family memories

By eliane |

The Pioneers

By Beside |

05. Traditional Fishing

By Catherine Métayer |

Listen

BESIDE Magazine On The Go

Somewhere Outside

By eliane |

Experience

Festival BESIDE

Take photos in nature

By Justine Bouchard |

The Real Truth About “Van Life”

By Justine Bouchard |

Fly-Fishing for Beginners

By Justine Bouchard |

Light a fire with friction

By Justine Bouchard |

Magazine 05

The Cover Story

Chile’s lithium ponds provide an electric future.

For this issue’s cover, we chose Catherine Hyland’s photo of a lithium mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest and deadest places on earth.

The Atacama is located on a high plateau west of the Andes, parts of which have never seen rain. The landscape is so extreme, NASA uses it to test equipment destined for Mars. Beneath this hostile desert lies half the world’s supply of lithium, in salty underground reservoirs called “brine salars.”

To extract the lithium, the mineral-rich brine is pumped to the surface and allowed to evaporate in large rectangular ponds that slowly transition from azure blue to lemon yellow under the relentless sun. After the brine has fully evaporated, the residue can be processed into the lithium metal used in contemporary battery technology. Because these batteries are vital for powering smart phones and electric vehicles, the demand for lithium is already staggering, and it’s only going up. A single high-end electric car uses as much lithium as 10,000 smart phones, and global electric vehicle production is forecasted to rise as much as thirtyfold by 2030.

We’re inspired by Hyland’s work because she lets us peer into the most remote places of the world to show us who we are as a species. Her photographs of the Atacama lithium ponds, originally published in Bloomberg Markets, reveal an answer that is both surreal and sobering, and yet offer hope. We are trying to create a sustainable future, but getting there will change the natural world in ways we don’t often comprehend.

This article appears in BESIDE issue 05.

Get our newsletter twice a month!

To receive the latest news and dispatches, subscribe to our newsletter.

Subscribe now!

Two issues per year

25% OFF previous issues

Free Shipping

Subscribe now

This article appears in BESIDE issue 05.

Get our newsletter twice a month!

To receive the latest news and dispatches, subscribe to our newsletter.

This article appears in BESIDE issue 05.

You Might Also Like

Tom Hegen

Looking at the Anthropocene from above.

Tradition Like a Secret Love

Redefining our traditional sense of self so it doesn’t imprison us.

Jo Savage

Her photography focuses on uncovering the layers of untold stories within surf, skate, and mountain communities around the world.