Jun 28, 2010

Death by Gadget in Congo - NYTimes.com

I am complicit in this. As most who know me know my love for gadgets and technology. I try, however, to keep in mind the social issues that come from that habit, such as toxic waste, and this, "conflict minerals." Or more bluntly "blood phones." Here is an impassioned and thoughtful op-ed by Nicholas Kristof of the NYT on the issue:

An ugly paradox of the 21st century is that some of our elegant symbols of modernity — smartphones, laptops and digital cameras — are built from minerals that seem to be fueling mass slaughter and rape in Congo...Warlords finance their predations in part through the sale of mineral ore containing tantalum, tungsten, tin and gold...used to make electrical capacitors that go into phones, computers and gaming devices.

As he points out, the solution to this problem starts with awareness and pressure on tech firms to play a more responsible role in purchasing minerals for their products. It looks like the message is being heard in DC too, with congress voting to keep a Conflict Minerals amendments in the Financial Reform Bill this last week. And for something a little cuter:

Op-Ed Columnist - Death by Gadget in Congo - NYTimes.com

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