Sunday, January 8, 2023

Cobalt Disaster

This is a bit of a hard article to write. I feel as though writing about this intensely emotional topic I could never do it justice. However, my feeling is this is my initial effort to make people aware of this topic and hopefully start a dialog online to bring it to an end.

Some may ask why I am so anti lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (used in smartphones, tablets, EVs)? Why I have a hand crank, muscle powered outboard on my sailboat versus an electric one. I do have an electric bike and I am in the process of looking for a battery replacement that is made without a mineral that comes from abusing people.

So, what is the topic, modern day slavery, modern day relegation of a people to a life of pain and for many death. Not to mention the environmental destruction. I am writing about Cobalt mining in the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) so that we all can have our precious cellphones and for some electric vehicles (more accurate battery power vehicles). About 20 percent of Cobalt mining is done in an ethical and as safe way as possible, but 80 percent is not, primarily done in the Congo and in other poor countries where people dig with their hands and primitive tools, being exposed to toxic dust and water. Many die from a slew of accidents, of cancer, and other ailments.

Every week these slave-like miners die in mine cave ins. They dig holes in the ground, through rock and dirt. These caves have no supports to help prevent cave ins. So let that sink in, this week like every and other week people have and will die due to these cave ins and bodily toxic reactions for years to come.

What is worse, is many of these miners are minors, kids as young as four. A lot of teenagers. You might ask why would parents allow this, its simple, economic survival. Because for many its the only way to make enough money to buy food. Plus locally grown food is destroyed by the toxic waste. People will do almost anything to survive. So literally whole families work together in the mines (those who survive) and also above ground in the toxic pools, sifting through the mud and dirt to find any pieces of cobalt they can find. It is crazy to think these people have no protective gear, no gloves, no masks, no helmets, etc. The mining companies are suppose to protect their workers, and many companies that use cobalt in their batteries is acquired safely and ethically. This is for the most part a lie or simple from a place of ignorance not wanting to look into it, they have no idea if the cobalt in their batteries are acquire safely and ethically. Mining companies with tell Apple, etc. that is all safe and ethical, which is not the truth. There is no excuse for Apple, etc. for not checking to make sure especially when they know many of the mining companies are Chinese that have the worst track record of any company. My bet is they do not want to know the truth so they can keep making billions off their products... Ignorance is bliss.

And worse again, if it can get worse (it can) is the mining companies take advantage of the people by only giving them a few dollars while they rake in billions. They do not give back to the communities that their mines are at. The only thing they give back is toxic water to drink, and a destroyed natural environment. Plus diseased people. All but one of these companies in the Congo is Chinese based. These Chinese companies along with their communist government are like locus, moving to place to place across the world like locus. They swoop in like locus taking all the minerals and once they are done, they leave devastation in their wake, i.e., toxic environment and death.

We think today we are living in a modern area, with peace and good will. We have advanced as a global society. No more slavery, no more war, etc. yet the reality is we are worse today in many ways than in the past. Slavery is as big it's ever been... Slave miners and slave human trafficking. It really is sad to think so many are in bondage today, like in the past. So, the question is what to do about it?

So my friends what can we do about it in relation to Cobalt and mining in general? Here is my list...

1. We should all be discussed this cobalt issuer until there is a world outcry. Cobalt has been mined for year yet this outcry has not happened. I think of myself, I did not know about this until I heard it on Joe Rogans podcast. We need write articles on blogs, on facebook, twitter, etc., write friends, write to companies that use batteries with cobalt (do not accept their generic “safe and ethical” statement, ask them how they know this and point them videos, etc. I have supplied below), write to your government officials. Speak to friends to help them become aware. This only stops via our efforts.

2. If you have a cell phone or anything that uses batteries with cobalt, use it as long as you can before replacing it. If you crack your screen go into a place that can replace your screen (cell phone companies will encourage you to get a new phone, always). This will reduce the demand for cobalt batteries and the phones, etc they go in. If companies feel the financial strain they will react. If they react negatively to us lets push back hard.

3. As noted avoid buying anything with cobalt in it, this includes EV's, electric vehicles or more accurately batter powered vehicles (BPV's) and other cobalt battery products such as outboard motors. I have to say Tesla is actually trying to reduce their dependence on cobalt, by producing cobalt free batteries. Tesla indicates 50 percent of their cars are run by cobalt free batteries. Their goal is 100 percent cobalt free, so at least one company is doing something. I do see other notes online about companies planning on building cobalt free batteries. So there are good signs that cobalt usage at some point will be a thing of the past or at least greatly reduced demand.

4. Also read Siddharth Kara's book "Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives." Mr Kara is the leading expert on the whole Cobalt mining industry and associated slavery. He is the lead voice, and his book should be purchased and promoted wherever possible. I would not buy the book from Amazon sense Amazon is part of the cobalt usage issue. Buy on Barnes and Noble by clicking here.

These are things we can do now but we must make people aware and discussed about how other humans are being treated just to supply us with electronics. If every good human on earth was outraged by this, things will start to change, and lives saved.

We must remember when cobalt is no longer used or reduce usage, we must still support the miners in the Congo and other poor countries with health care, as many will have residual effects from the toxins. We must also repair the earth the best we can. We must supply these countries with education and opportunities once the mining is gone or greatly reduced so they are not left even worse off. You might ask how does one pay for all this and my answer, the companies that made billions off the pain and suffering of these people.

I understand this is a lot but if you, like me care about people no matter where they live then we must act. On top of this of course we must be as vigilant in stopping human trafficking.

Make a comment below and let's talk....


No comments:

Post a Comment