So, I have to admit that I am a little addicted to technology. I guess that may come with the territory of being a college student, but I am often attached to my laptop, I’m enjoying the free Palm I scored last summer, and I listen to my iPod probably every other day.
I know there is a dark side to all this technology, though. Last semester I learned about coltan, a very sought-after substance used in most cell phones and some other electronic devices. As we’ve become more addicted to technology the price of coltan has skyrocketed. A large percent of the world’s coltan is found in the war-torn country of the Congo. Unfortunately rebel and militia groups are taking over the coltan mining and using the 6-billion-dollar a year industry to fund their warfare. Plus, fighting occurs over the coltan supply, people are enslaved to mine it, and the environment is being severely damaged in order to extract the coltan in the cheapest and fastest ways possible. (you can find more here or search online). So unfortunately our cell phones may be partially funding guerrilla warfare in the Congo. Makes you feel great about making that next call, doesn’t it?
Good magazine put out a youtube video about another dark side of technology. Check it out:
So I have to say that I love technology, and I believe that I need technology (although I think if I did some serious soul-searching I would discover that I absolutely do not need technology), but I know I need to do some serious re-thinking about the role of technology in my life… because clearly it can do some major damage.