Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Environmental green dreams are built on the backs of children and destroying the Congo

Read this short interview with Siddharth Kara over at The Free Press. Kara describes how cobalt is mined in the Congo. Child labor and environmental destruction is embedded in every piece of tech we use that has a battery.

Congo has three-quarters of the world’s cobalt, as well as monopolies on coltan and tungsten—which are vital for batteries and circuits, and enable devices to vibrate. Without all three, there wouldn’t be electric vehicles or smartphones. Big customers include, no surprise, Tesla and Apple. The open secret, I learned, is that mining relies on child labor. You don’t need to buy a blood diamond to exploit some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children—just an iPhone.

This is why locals are wary of foreigners. And each other. Rival factions inside Congo have long sought control over its minerals, spawning a humanitarian crisis on par with Ukraine. Whoever occupies eastern Congo has access to unbelievable wealth and global influence.

Your iPhone Was Built With Child Labor – The Free Press

Photo Credit: Julien Harneis for Citizen Truth