What Technology did you Study?
In science class this year, we did a unit on Conflict Materials in Technology. My technology that I decided to research is the iPhone 6. This company is produced by Apple, and It is used to contact people, through many ways. It costs between $200-$400. This product is one of the most popular phones, and is used all around the world.
The Materials in the iPhone 6 are, Gold, Copper, Tin, Platinum, Aluminum, Silver, Colton, Tantalum, Cassiterite, Tungsten, Nickel, Dysprosium, Pyrochlore, Terbium, Neodymium, Gadolinium, Silicon, Oxygen, Antimony, Arsenic, Phosphorus, Gallium, Lead, Carbon, Magnesium, Bromide, Indium, Potassium, Yttrium, Lanthanum, Praseodymium, Europium, and Gadolinium. The Materials I have decided to focus on are, Gold, and Tungsten. Gold comes from Peru, California, South Africa, Australia, China and Russia. Tungsten comes from Canada, China, Russia, Portugal, and Austria. Congo is not on this list even though that is where most conflicts come from. Children and adults are forced to work in mines, and some of them are dangerous. Many mine workers die in the mines in Congo from getting trapped in the holes, mental and physical exhaust, and since the mine workers do not get good profit, if affects their home life. Gold is used for the coating of wires in the phone. Also because it is easy to mold and fit around the wires. Tungsten is used for the vibrating of our phones, and the overall quality of our phones. Also it is used for electrical connection in the phone. Gold is used for this because it is a good conductor, and it doesn’t tarnish. Tungsten is used for this because it is a dense metal that can protect our phones.
The Congo isn’t one of the biggest mining sources in the world, but this is the only country that is having conflicts because of mining reasons. Over 45,000 people die a month because of Congo’s mining conditions. First, they are either held at gunpoint, they get life threats, they are physically forced to work in the mines, or they choose to get a job to support themselves/ their family. The working conditions are also very unsafe. The workers work in difficult mining locations, they work with difficult tools, they have to do tons of lifting, and their conditions may lead to death. Also there are more Congo conflict deaths than, The US Revolution, the US Civil War, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War. A man named Dodd Frank, is doing a lot to help this problem. He has a Protection Act called,” The Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act.” He has successfully reduced the amount of revenue going to the militias. Also many companies are reporting mines more than 1,200 than before. He has lastly affected over 12,000 mines than before.
One thing we could do in YIS, is try to raise awareness about the conflicts in the Congo. We can do this by putting up posters, and emailing all YIS students to tell them how their technology is mined, and maybe they would start buying less technology. This could help because if people slowed down the purchases of electronic products, mining in general would go down, and maybe that would solve some conflicts. Another thing that we could do in YIS is stop buying more electronics, and use the ones we already have. We have a lot of electronics, so we could recycle them instead of buying new ones each year. This would help because it would slow down purchases. This helps because if purchases slow down, mines won’t get enough support to continue.
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