The lightest of metals may be causing the largest of impacts. Lithium, which powers our phones, laptops, and electric cars, is essential to our battery-driven world. The demand for lithium has rapidly increased, as the global market’s annual consumption has risen by 8.9 percent annually. This demand will only intensify as hybrid and electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and portable electronics become increasingly widespread. While lithium has been found on each of the six inhabited continents, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia—together referred to as the “Lithium Triangle”—hold more than 75 percent of the world’s supply beneath their salt flats. The Lithium Triangle is one of the driest places on earth, which complicates the process of lithium extraction: miners have to drill holes in the salt flats to pump salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface. They then let the water evaporate for months at a time, forming a mixture of potassium, manganese, borax, and lithium salts that is then filtered and left to evaporate once more. After between 12 and 18 months, the filtering process is complete and lithium carbonate can be extracted. The Lithium Triangle: Where Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia Meet I had no idea that lithium was found there.