The eco phonies: Mobile phones are doing untold harm to the planet but green campaigners can't live without them. Tom Leonard reports on the precious metals that are mined for the smartphones so beloved of Extinction Rebellion followers
'They were brandished in their tens of thousands during Extinction Rebellion’s recent protests. At anti-fracking rallies they were waved defiantly in the faces of the police and security guards.
No self-respecting eco-warrior can go without their shiny, up-to-date smartphone.
How else could they film their marches and share them on social media, or stay abreast of the latest howls of outrage on Twitter about the destruction of the planet?
Unfortunately, there is a terrible irony about Apple’s iPhone and its Android rival becoming the tools of environmental protest.
For they are a big part of the problem, too.
More than 50 million tonnes of ‘e-waste’, the term for discarded electronics products, is now generated every year.
And that is rising at an alarming rate: by 2020, five billion people will have a mobile phone — with many slaves to an immensely wasteful industry that cynically pressures them to buy a new version when the old one is perfectly good.
The phones aren’t just aluminium, plastic and glass, they contain precious materials which are in limited global supply: gold and copper in the wiring, silver and platinum for the main printed circuit board, lithium in the batteries, cobalt and aluminium.
Some of these materials come with a devastating price — one that reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of today’s eco-brigade.'
Read more: The eco phonies: Mobile phones are doing untold harm to the planet but green campaigners can't live without them. Tom Leonard reports on the precious metals that are mined for the smartphones so beloved of Extinction Rebellion followers
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