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Your smartphone is killing the environment

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For a change, instead of writing a health, food and fitness post, I’ve decided to address something a little more personal today. As a geographer myself, the issue of global ignorance is something that I feel, needs to be raised more to the public.

Image cred: pixabay

You’d be surprised that the number of ‘well educated’ people in the world today (meaning holding a degree or more) are really just educated on one thing: the amount of money in their bank accounts, not giving a second to even reflect on the health of the environment and the rest of their human counterparts, which really ticks me off and in all honesty makes me question how educated they are. Yes, I’m talking about people who doubt the existence of climate change and the extinction of species. It almost seems as though the concept of being ‘well educated’ is synonymous with selfishness nowadays instead of being well informed. I recently did a university coursework on the report “Tin-mining, the true cost of tin” by Friends of the earth, an international grassroots environmental organisation, who did a study on the tin mining situation and devastations it brought about.

How many of us actually know what goes into the making of our electronic products, both socially and environmentally? Do we ever ask ourselves where our smartphones, tablets and computer come from? Rarely! our response is always going to be something like “oh ya from a factory in China” , “some random warehouse” or even “I don’t know, and I don’t care”. Our ignorance is killing the environment and it is a pity that not many of us know this. Large corporations such as Samsung and Apple have caused massive devastations over at the Tin-mining regions of the Indonesian Islands of Belitung and Bangka.

Image cred: Tom Mussak on Unsplash

Tin Mining.. hmm what is that? Many of you might ask. Tin mining is essential to the act of assembling a smartphone. Each smartphone contains a few grams of tin, which is important in the soldering process. But in exchange for this natural resource, we have resulted in heavy metal pollution of surrounding waters, impacting fisheries around the region. We also encourage the raising of the risk of tin-miners drowning or suffering from being caught in land slides on a daily basis. They earn on average, a miserly 5 pounds weekly if they are lucky. Multiple people die daily or get severly injured from these devastations. The coral has been bleached and tourism has fallen. There is no other work out here besides tin mining, and that is ruining the lives of so many people, while we are carrying on with our marketing regimes and business plans through the use of these smartphones and devices that these people have risked their life and safety to help us build. Who are they to deserve to suffer all this?

Interesting isn’t it?  In such a fast-paced world we tend to be so ignorant about the building blocks of our privilege.

Image cred: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

There has been a recent study in 2012 by Friends of the Earth international, under their “make it happen ” campaign to fight against these unethical practices. Visit their website to read more on this human geography report.

What can we do to help?

  • raise awareness and educate others
  • do not contribute to the demand of these notorious large companies
  • join campaigns
  • donations
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Kristabelle
Kristabelle is the Content Specialist & Editor-in-chief of Nilüfer tea. When she isn't flexing her linguistic capabilities or having her favourite cup of tea, you'll find her dancing in her room in 8-inch heels.

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