On Boing Boing Gadgets, this wrenching video in which Eve Ensler explains that Congolese militias use rape to enforce discipline among a slave workforce that mines columbite-tantalite ore, a common raw material for many devices.
Eve Ensler and "Rape-Free" Gadgets
"We create those atrocities through our consumption," says Ensler.
She is proposing that electronics manufacturers and their customers--us--began to concern themselves with the notion of "Rape-Free" products in which the raw, mineral components of consumer electronics are traced back to sources that can be verified to have procured them ethically. (She allows that "Rape-Free" is probably not a moniker that would be comfortable plastered on boxes and signs.)
It's without a doubt one of the most horrible but compelling things I've heard in a while. I've been considering a parallel notion lately about the shocking rate we're using a limited mineral supply to make what are essentially disposable bits of gadgetry. While I don't doubt that every effort will be made by profit-driven corporations to develop ways to produce goods even if rare minerals are fully depleted, the gulf between now and a future where minerals can be safely reclaimed and reused is fretfully wide.
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