Explicit and Implicit Connections between Technology and Socio-Environmental Problems Exploring the Externalized Costs of Mobile Communication Technology
Introduction Exploring the Externalized Costs of Mobile Communication Technology
Coltan Coltan, short for columbite-tantalite, is a naturally occurring metallic ore from which valuable tantalum is extracted. The primary end-use of tantalum is for capacitors in electronic circuits , as its high capacitance properties allows the storage and instantaneous release of electric charge with minor power loss. Tantalum from coltan is used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, and computers.
Coltan in the Congo In Focus: Congo’s Bloody Coltan-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OWj1ZGn4uM&feature=channel – Featured on “Foreign Exchange with FareedZakaria” in the fall of 2006. The Dirt in the New Machine- http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/12/magazine/the-dirt-in-the-new-machine.html?scp=1&sq=coltan%20congo%20magazine&st=nyt&pagewanted=3 2001 UN security council report – http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/2001/357e.pdf
Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo UN Security Council report from April 12, 2001 Provides systematic and in-depth information on the exploitative Coltan mining networks. Provides the names of many key individual actors including top army commanders and businessmen who, with the help of corrupt government structures, have been the engines of systematic and systemic exploitation.
Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo “The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has relied on its minerals and mining industries to finance the war. Between 1998 and early 2001, the strategy for financing the war was based on three pillars, namely (a) search for cash through the attribution of monopolies; (b) direct and indirect uptake of funds from parastatals and other private companies; and (c) creation of joint ventures between parastatals and foreign companies in countries allied with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Parastatal - an entity that is treated by national laws and regulations to be under the guidance of the government, but also separate and autonomous from the government.
The Supply Chain of Tantalum Powder Production
China and Congo’s Coltan Connection http://project2049.net/documents/china_and_congos_coltan_connection.pdf The focus of public pressure against electronics manufacturers reflects the role of the international private sector in human security. While governments and international institutions should be part of the solution, multinational companies and global consumers, who hold the ultimate purchasing power, may prove to be the most able to enact real changes by demanding conflict free materials from producers throughout the supply chain There is a “clear geographical correlation between the activities of illicit armed actors and areas of natural resource exploitation. Control over territory has proven to be the key factor enabling armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to profit from the exploitation of natural resources” United Nations Security Council, “Interim report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, pursuant to Security Council resolution 1698 (2006)” (S/2007/40), January 31st 2007,
Congo Conflict Minerals Act of 2009 Sponsor: Sen. Samuel Brownback [R,KS] A bill to require annual disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission of activities involving columbite-tantalite, cassiterite, and wolframite from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and for other purposes.
Breaking the disposable technology paradigm: opportunities for sustainable interaction design for mobile phones Abstract: This articles presents a qualitative study of mobile phone ownership, replacement and disposal practices geared towards identifying design opportunities towards sustainable mobile phone interfaces. It investigates how people understand the lifespan of their phones, what factors, such as style, service contracts, and functionality, affect how they attribute value to their phones, and their awareness and actions regarding mobile phone sustainability. The findings reveal the complexity of the actions and decision-making processes involved in phone ownership and replacement. We use these findings to present open areas for sustainable interaction design and generate seed ideas for designs and services to provoke thought and further exploration towards more sustainable mobile phone interfaces and practices. http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1357054.1357110 Report from the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Authors Elaine M. Huang, RWTH Aachen University, Motorola Labs, Schaumburg, IL, USA Khai N. Truong, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
“Open” Databases on LCA The openLCA project will create, in the coming 1.5 years, a modular software for life cycle analysis and sustainability assessments. The software will be available as open source, and will be available for free. Initially, a basic framework for life cycle assessment (LCA) calculation and two plug-ins will be implemented, a format converter and an uncertainty module. The format converter serves to convert relevant LCA data formats from one to the other, in a loss-less manner. The uncertainty module will help to specify, calculate, visualize and interpret uncertainty in LCA product systems. http://www.openlca.org/index.html
“Open” Databases on LCA Earthster Without a measurement tool such as LCA, companies that are asked to improve their environmental performance are lost. They may spend extensive resources on an initiative that produces little return while ignoring easier targets. This project, an initiative of New Earth, aims to give life cycle evaluation and publishing power to all companies, along with other ways to document and market their environmental and social performance. And it equally aims to enable buyers around the world to evaluate and identify the products and producers that meet their environmental and social goals. http://www.earthster.org/index.php
Earthster Build Your Process: Drag and Drop your product's purchases, emissions, and extractions onto a canvas to build a representative life-cycle assessment model. Contribution Analysis: See who is contributing most to the environmental impact of your product. Is it you? Or is it one of your suppliers? This step helps visualize the environmental hotspots.
LCA Initiative The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) launched an International Life Cycle Partnership, known as the Life Cycle Initiative, to enable users around the world to put life cycle thinking into effective practice. Goals To provide reliable information in an accessible format To support good business practices To contribute to continuous improvement To prepare industry for growing pressure from consumers To ensure worldwide applicability and dissemination http://lcinitiative.unep.fr/default.asp?site=lcinit&page_id=15CFD910-956F-457D-BD0D-3EF35AB93D60