Saving Climate Though Advanced Technology Is Taking Toll On Human Rights

Climate change has long been in question, it is also one of the most talked and searched about topic on the internet. People are now investing more in environment-friendly products, they are more aware of global environment and trying to make an impact by using eco-friendly products. Renewable energy sources have replaced fossil fuels and electric cars and solar panels are becoming the most important manufacturing items. Among all this energy-saving havoc that people are going through, companies are now taking leads in manufacturing environment-friendly products, they try to sell their products by linking them with different methods specifically when it comes to marketing. It seems that the marketing stories that we see about the eco-friendly products and technology are just a mirror screen after all.

A recent study showed that mining raw material for meeting the growing technology need is becoming the biggest issue. Governments and companies are coming together to mine metals and minerals that are required as raw material. One of the most frequently used technology items that play an important role in green energy are reusable batteries. To manufacture a battery important elements like lithium and cobalt are required. However, the irresponsible mining of these metals over the years have caused some real damage to the already fragile eco-system. Policymakers are now providing evidence that these irresponsible, damaging and dangerous mining conditions have to be put to an end.

In a recent lawsuit, it was revealed that tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Dell, Apple, and Tesla requires cobalt for their batteries. To meet their growing needs, their biggest supplier of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of Congo where children work in harsh conditions to extract cobalt by mining. After multiple death of the children working in these mines just to extract cobalt, a lawsuit was filed in December against these companies that have yet to be addressed properly.

On the other hand, the growing need for cobalt is becoming alarmingly high and it is expected to grow up to 585% by 2050. Moreover, for rechargeable batteries, the requirement of the important metal lithium will also increase by 965% by 2050. According to the United Nations intergovernmental panels, it is very important for the world to ensure the elimination of greenhouse gases by the year 2050 or the results will be catastrophic, however, considering the growing need for these elements it doesn’t seem we are anywhere near our goal. Seeing the growing need of elements like cobalt and lithium, people are either trying to take advantage of the already vulnerable societies or they are using unsafe mining practices causing serious harm to the idea of saving the planet. Ensuring all these currents practices there is no way of predicting if the technology is the answer to saving the climate in the future or it is going to become the murderer.

Photo: Kenny Katombe / Reuters

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