Friday, 2 September 2011

Phones, Photos, Cameras and Computers

Ok, so 5 posts in, and I would say that this blog is rather becoming all consuming! Although yesterday's post was relatively easy to write and didn't take too long in the grand scheme of things, it was the finer details that saw me up until the early hours!
I need to get a grip on this technology thing! I've never been one for doing things on computers, I can't get a handle on all the different things they do, and I haven't got the patience to find out! I'm a practical person, I like to be active and I find myself getting frustrated when the computer won't do what I want it to do!!!
So last night found me adding the pictures and photos onto post 4 which ended up taking ages as I learnt how to place them where I wanted, which still didn't go according quite to plan!
I think I need to persuade 1 of my more technology minded friends to "show" me  how it works and what I can do rather than to spend hours "trying" to work it out for myself.
So, any offers...............................................................................................???!!!!
I was given a camera for my joint birthday and Christmas last year, it is a lovely snazzy thing which I think does alot, however, I have only really worked out how to take photos on it. So along with learning how to make the most out of my blog, I need to link that in with learning how to use my camera properly which can only compliment my blog with relevant photos and video clips!
And now, to top it all off, I have to learn to use my new mobile phone after my old one was drowned some time ago while out walking in the rain!
Now, I have toyed with the idea of really, truly living what I preach, and not having a mobile phone at all. Afterall, I lived without one until I was in my mid 20's and I survived! It is just another "thing" which makes life more complicated, stressful and busy!
I am extremely uncomfortable with the cost of the environmental footprint that the production of mobile phones has and the cost on human lives. We talk alot about our carbon footprint, but our personal footprints are much bigger than that, they are social as well as ecological. Many of us are lucky enough to live in a charmed world where we can buy anything if we have the money, however we know little about what our footprints are. It all happens so far away. The people and pollution that sustain us are invisible to us.

The following information comes from "Confessions of an eco sinner" by Fred Pearce.
A typical mobile phone weighs only about 75g but taking its  many ingredients from the earth requires the mining of 30kg of rock. In addition, manufacturing the chips requires several hundred litres of water, and the energy that probably comes from burning several tens of kilos of fossil fuels.
There is 1 mobile phone for every 3 people on the planet.
More than 2 phones are assembled from components every second in factories, of which the majority are in China, mainly in Shenzan, which, 25 yrs ago, was a fishing village surrounded by rice paddy. Today it is an urban sprawl of 12 million people. People make these phones, and those people are hundreds of thousands of young women migrant workers.

Behind the component suppliers lies another vast industry, mining and refining the metals other materials that go into components. The phone is a miniature smmorgasbord of metals and other ingredients.
The main metal that is needed for our mobiles is "Coltan" which is an african nickname for a bunch of minerals that contain 2 elements, columbium and tantalum. Tantalum is essential to the modern mobile phone, without it, mobiles would still be the size of bricks and need recharging every 15 mins. And the smarter the phone, the greater the number of tantalum capacitors (the tiny components of electrical circuits that store and releace charge). A phone with a camera and video function requires more than 20 capacitors.
Today more than half the world's tantalum goes into making more than 20 billion capacitors every year - 3 for every person on the planet.
As the demand for mobile phones soared,the mines in Western Australia and Germany were not enough and the coltan reserves of eastern Congo were exploited. Unsavoury rebel military leaders made fortunes out of the ore and used it to raise cash for arms or filled their swiss bank accounts.
They pressganged child soilders and prisoners to mine the coltan and ship it off to brokers.

Amnesty International says that coltan paid for a war within a war that claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and subjected millions of others to a humanitarian catastrophe.
For a while, Congo was the main source of the world's coltan and much of that went into mobile phones.
Coltan prices eased in 2002 and the congolese civil war subsided soon after but the warlords are still in business making trouble in the jungle. And since then, another vital resource has come under their control. Rising global demand for tin has triggered a rush for rich congolese reserves of cassiterite, an ore containing tin oxide. The same soilders, and the same illicit supply channels through Rwanda, are involved

And what happens to phones after we have finished with them? There are many take back schemes which recycle old phones by melting them down, extracting the metals to make new phones. Many charities benefit from these schemes by selling donated old phones to these schemes so I believe this is the best use for our my old drowned mobile.
So after writing all that, I am in fact questioning my decision after my post yesterday extolling the values of a freedom from material desires and avoiding waste!
However, I will ease my guilty conscious by pledging here and now, on this blog (not that anyone's reading yet!) that I will learn how this phone works and make use out of every function that will serve to benefit me.

I think the message from what I have written today is that, for me, I want to be driven by idealism, not by a desire to keep up with the latest fashion or consumer durables. Antimaterialism is good for the soul and the planet. We could all get by on much less if we had different priorities.  If we just reduce our consumption, we'd be well on the way to tackling global warming, reducing human suffering and ensuring a more equitable global distribution or resources.

"Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself"
Leo Tolstoy, novelist and moral philosopher

So, I hope that by my 6th post, I will have learnt more about how to make this blog look more interesting, learnt about all my phone, and even have a better understanding of my camera's abilitly to help me make this blog more exciting!
More challenges to keep me motivated, focused, interested and energized! I am really enjoying writing this, and anything that is going to make it easier, less time consuming and more visully pleasing will keep me committed!
Now I have written 5 posts, I am going to email all my friends and family and hope that they log on!
Off to Animal Aid training tomorrow about how I can raise awarness of animal welfare in schools, and then helping to run a stall for our primary school at the Wychwood forest fair on Sunday.
Better put a whole day aside next week to write all about those experiences!

Till then!x

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic blog! Not only lovely to read, but inspiring too. - I am motivated to look more into the links you have provided, all on issues close to my heart but about which I am often woefully limited on information. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to more!