this morning I received an email from one of my favourite environmental organizations suggesting that I change my cell phone company away from the big multi national corporations to one that they approve of. What does this have to do with my previous post on Who Is Jesus, you may wonder? Well the email really bugged me because I know that elements of most of our cell phones are produced by slave labour and very destructive mining methods issues that as Christians we should be concerned about.
Cell phones were once a luxury, something that people thought were sort of frivolous. But in today’s age of ever-advancing technology, we’ve come to consider them an absolute necessity. Now practically everyone owns one – and we replace them with new ones every 1-2 years. But at what cost? It turns out that a vital raw material used in many cell phones is often mined illegally, and by slave labor. read the entire article
I know it is easy for us to get overwhelmed by the extent to which our world is corrupted by greed, injustice and atrocities. Slave labour is not confined to the making of clothing and the production of food. The mining of gold and gemstones is very dependent on slave labour as many became aware through the film Blood Diamond. But cell phones – that cuts a little too close to home. They have become the air we breathe and the lifeline we depend on for many of our culture.
Ironically in the very countries that mine coltan essential to cell phone production numbers of entrepreneurial small businesses have arisen in which people provide cell phone access to their neighbours as this article Upwardly Mobile in Africa suggests.
I still have a cell phone, but I think that this is another issue that we all need to be aware of and if possible do something about.
Time to Turn, a Netherlands based Christian advocacy group did just that in 2008.
We asked people to write a postcard with a personal message to the cellphone industry. We collected those cards and offered them – as a text message bundle – to representatives of the phone & electronics industry, that met in Washington on November 19th, 2008. Read more
What do you think?